031 - "I Don't Know How To Be Myself Anymore"
The truth will set you free, but only when you face the darkness.
In 2018, I wrote in my journal, "I don't know how to be myself anymore."
There was lump in my throat when I wrote that.
A pit of deep despair in my stomach.
I felt completely hopeless.
Depression was my reality, with a side of anxiety that I couldn't shake.
At the time, I was part of a group where I felt I couldn't be myself with. In fact, every time I was MOST myself, I was told I was being fake about it.
But, from their perspective I was.
Writing it down was my first step to freedom. I had to face the darkness.
To do so, I went through a transition in life.
I physically moved to a new location and I stopped hanging out with that group. Instead, I went to a new church.
Simply doing this, however, didn't set me free.
What did was a daily choice to see the goodness of God, even when I didn't feel it.
You see, in the midst of the darkness, I saw a pinhole of hope.
So, every morning, I would wake up and I'd thank God for anything I could possibly think of.
Some mornings, I didn't have anything.
But even then, I'd thank Him for a warm bed to sleep in, clothes to wear, a healthy body.
ANYTHING that helped me see His goodness.
Over the next couple of months that intentional gratitude completely shifted my life.
The pinhole of hope became bigger... and bigger.
Before I knew it, all I saw was the light of God. The darkness had disappeared.
With it, the anxiety was gone. I could sleep in peace at night.
Depression was replaced by joy.
In the same way, just like I was able to completely change my life around in only a couple of months, I'm convinced you can do the same.
And it will come through the power of gratitude in the midst of darkness.
Even if you aren't in darkness now, but simply want to go deeper with God, this will work for you.
1 - Face The Darkness
For many years before I wrote it in my journal, I IGNORED the darkness I was facing and what I was feeling.
Instead, I tried to navigate around it and keep trudging on, hoping things will change.
Not until I faced it.
And, when I faced it, I was a mess.
I broke down.
I felt hopeless.
"Why did this have to happen with me?"
"What was wrong with me?"
It was hard to face, which is why I didn't in a really long time.
But, the moment I confessed it (ie LET IT OUT), now I could work with it.
This is why the Bible tells us in 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, so that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Confession is simply becoming aware of the darkness and letting out. And we can't confess if we're not aware of what we're really dealing with.
It's the first step of freedom.
2 - Surrender The Darkness
There are a lot of people that FACE the darkness, confess it, but then take it right back.
These are the people that are ALWAYS in inner healing.
They never seem to grow or gain any real freedom.
This is because their pain has become their identity.
It's just "their lot in life".
I had a friend who did this (and still does). He's always struggling because of it.
When we face the darkness, we have a choice. A choice to stay focused on the darkness or to surrender it so we can focus on God's light instead.
It's not a easy choice.
This is because the darkness has become so big, it's all we see.
That was my reality.
But, I made an intention to show up every morning, and instead of "owning" the pain in my life, I gave it up to God on the cross.
I surrendered it.
Practically, I'd say something like this, "Thank you Lord that depression is not mine to carry. Thank you that anxiety is not who I am."
This separated me from the darkness so I could see the light.
3 - Find The Truth
After facing and surrendering the pain, we have to replace it with the truth.
The question is, "What is the truth?"
At the core, who Christ is, is the truth.
He's the truth about who God is. John 14:9, "The one who has seen Me has seen the Father."
And, He's the truth about who you are.
1 John 4:17, "...because as He is, we also are in this world."
Romans 8:29 "For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters..."
We are predestined to be conformed to HIS image. We were modeled after Him.
Then, Paul declares this in Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me..."
Also, according to John 14:20. "On that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I in you."
The "on that day", is referring to when the Holy Spirit was originally poured out. And it applies to you today!
We are fully included IN Him, and He is fully alive IN you.
There is no distance and no separation.
We only think there is because we see our pain more clearly than we see Him.
For me, focusing on this truth of ONENESS and being THANKFUL for it, especially when I didn't feel it, was the KEY to finding freedom.
Every morning, I'd start Thanking God that He was filling me and changing me.
I focused on that pinhole of light.
I FORCED MYSELF to do it.
And, as I did that through gratitude, it got bigger.
The truth of who God is and who I am in Him, SET ME FREE.
But, I had to choose to see it in spite of what I was feeling.
4 - Stay Persistent
Finally, and this is the hardest part of this, we have to stay persistent in seeing the truth.
There were many mornings where I woke up in despair, completely hopeless.
I didn't have anything to be grateful for.
And I definitely didn't see or believe the truth about Christ in me.
However, I'd choose to thank God for it anyway.
And, when I did, it slowly started to shift my reality.
The despair lessoned.
The anxiety started to disappear.
All because I was persistent in the process.
Many of us want EVERYTHING right now.
But, seldom do things happen RIGHT NOW.
Instead, it happens through persistence in doing good.
Persistence in seeing the light of Christ in the midst of the darkness of self.
And I can tell you with full certainty that the light becomes more evident when we persist.
In fact, you'll find yourself being fully swallowed by the light.
I'm convinced of this.
Facing darkness and getting free from it isn't easy.
But, that pure freedom is available for EVERYONE.
The key is learning to appreciate the journey of stepping into it.
Learn to enjoy the process of feeling and seeking the Lord.
Then, trust the Holy Spirit to guide you through.
If you do this, and choose thanksgiving, even when you don't feel like it, you'll gain incredible freedom.
I guarantee it.
Again, here's the recap:
- Face the darkness. Let it out.
- Surrender it to God instead of taking it back.
- Replace it with the truth of WHO HE IS IN YOU.
- Stay persistent in it.
When you do this, it'll change your life like it did mine.
AUTHOR: Justen Miller
Have you ever expressed yourself in a way where the people around you came alive in some way? That's what moves my life. I love seeing people come alive while giving them a simpler, more joyful perspective on life and business. That's what this newsletter is all about.
Thanks for reading!