rebelling against low expectations

Three Things I Learned Through Depression

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Life is hard. I’m not talking about doing hard things, I’m talking about life that’s hard. Death in the family, sickness, despair, the sin in our world that we can’t stop, but we do look to God to help us with it. But sometimes even that can be really hard. The difficulties in life can make us ask, “Why God? Why would you let this happen?” And trust me, I’ve been living with that question for a bit now.

I started asking why when I grew up enough to realize what my family was going through. When I realized my dad had been unemployed for two years. Something that is impossible to happen to someone with such an impressive resume as my dad.
While my family obviously still lived better than most, because of the years they’d spent saving money for my brother and I, it was still difficult. And it was hard to be joyful when you knew that God was holding something back.

Here’s the thing about being a Christian with depression. I read verses all the time about the joy of the Lord, but how? How can I be happy when I hate my life and feel like I will never be enough? Even verses like Psalms 139:14, which says, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Well what if my soul doesn’t know it very well?

I’ve found out three big things about having this problem.

1. I’m Not Struggling Alone

I’ve struggled with these things for almost a year. I still struggle with it a lot, but I’ve found something new too. People who are like me. Young Christians struggling with depression and anxiety. We all look for people who will fill us up, but I’ve found people I can share my experiences with in a safe environment with people who have the same ideas and values as I do. We encourage each other with scriptures and things we’ve learned.

Thanks to God, I’ve found my two best friends, who always support me and pray for me. And my family, whom I’ve always been frustrated with for never understanding me, have helped me too.

Because I’m also a Christian, I know that God is with me, helping me grow in my life in so many ways. That’s one of the biggest things I’ve learned–we are never alone. Not when we have God, not when we have close friends, not when we have family that has always been there since before we were even born. We’ve always got someone with us.

2. Finding Joy in Sorrows Is My HArd Thing

When I read James 1:2, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,” I didn’t understand how God could expect me to be joyful when I had days when I didn’t even want to be alive. And it was hard. I found temporary happiness in boys and worldly stuff. It didn’t last. But I found something that did.

God’s joy. Sometimes I would wake up and not want to do anything. But I would pray, read my devotional and spend some time in God’s word, and I would be joyful. I would feel refreshed and ready to face the day. Then I would come home, crank up some Matthew West and Lauren Daigle and get my homework done. Then journal about my day and pray for the people seemingly trying to make me more miserable.

It’s not easy. Sometimes I still have a miserable day and plop on the bed and do absolutely nothing but tell myself what a terrible person I am, and sometimes I have to force myself to read the Bible, but in the end I’m in a much better mood when I do it than when I don’t. It can be hard, but not impossible. But life has a way of paying off when we do hard things.

3. I Need Godly People In My Life

One of my Bible teachers once told me, “Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future.” It is scientifically proven that the people you hang out with will influence you. For better or worse. If you hang around bitter people, you will be bitter about life. But if you hang around godly Christian friends, you will be happier, and make better decisions.

Sometimes with depression, we do need to talk to people, seeking wise counsel in a way. Thankfully I was blessed with very godly parents who are always there for me. But I also have very close Christian friends, both male and female, and they all help me grow, help me be joyful, and help me when I’m not doing so great. They’re with me in the ups and downs that life throws at me. But when I hang out with some of my friends that swear, gossip, and talk about how much they hate life, well, then I start swearing, gossiping and hating life more.

So I’m not perfect. No one is. But when we have the people around us that help make us better, when we get strength from God to carry us through the day, and we start realizing we aren’t the only ones out there, it makes life a lot easier. Not easy. But easier. Just like doing those things are hard. Not impossible. But hard. But they pay off, a lot.

I still have hard days, but now I can find it easier to be happy. And not just be happy, but find the joy I need, that we as Christians need when we are struggling and stumbling through life. And we can only get that joy from God.

It won’t be perfect. But with God, someday it will be.


About the author

Olivia Harriger

is a 14 year old student, aspiring author, and rebelutionary. She lives in Dallas, Texas and enjoys participating in debate, softball, and volleyball. She’s been a Christian for eight years and is also working on her first Christian novel. She loves going to church with her family and hopes to one day go to law school in Virginia.

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →

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