When depression doesn't get to decide.

I can remember all the way back to junior high and high school days when I battled depression. I didn’t know what it was back then. But I do now. 

It’s so much easier to see it when you look back. 

I’ve learned that looking back can be healing, but it can also be debilitating. It depends on what I’m looking back to find. If it’s insight, to learn how I respond and what triggers depressive thoughts/seasons...that can be a good thing. But only if I take what I’ve learned and use it to make better decisions going forward. 

I think that’s the biggest tool of Satan as it relates depression. He loves to tell us that we don’t have a choice. That we are victims. That there is no hope.  

And it’s easy to believe him. Really easy.

A few weeks ago I was sitting at a varsity basketball game. In the student section. I’m not sure why, other than I just didn’t want to get up and move. I was there for the JV game and, in between games, about 30 students trickled in and sat all around me and my husband. The kids were loud. They had a dry erase board and were writing hilarious things on it. Some inappropriate. Our principal had one eye on the game and one eye on that board. He asked them to erase several things. I started to enjoy the banter. 

My husband was loud too. He’s a coach. And an avid sports fan. And his voice carries. And he’s a referee too so if he’s not cheering for the players or giving them tips, he’s reminding the referees how to do their jobs. He jokes that because he has a lazy eye, he doesn’t miss anything. 

I’ve learned not to let anxiety rule my life by sitting there and soaking up those moments. If I did what anxiety told me to do, I’d run.

I had felt especially despairing that day. I knew my thinking was irrational. But it was real. If you’re acquainted with depression, you know what I mean. 

I was tempted to leave after the JV game that our son played in. But I knew it would be better for me in many ways to stay. To sit and soak up the sounds and excitement and watch my boys and husband just do life. No matter how loud it is. 

As I was sitting there, our booster club president came up and sat by me. She’s always full of smiles and light. I guess you have to be that kind of person to do what she does. She asked if we’d be willing to house some Australian basketball players over the Christmas break. They were coming to the States to tour and play some basketball in TX before heading out to California. 

Anxiety said “HELL NO. It’s too much. Imagine cleaning your house for that! Imagine 2 extra grown boys in your house. They’re probably huge. They won’t fit in your beds. They probably want healthy things to eat. Your boys don’t eat healthy. And their rooms are a mess. Do you want to spend your entire break cleaning? There’s no way you can handle this. It’s too much.” 

Depression said “Are you kidding? Why would they want to stay with YOU?? You’re so blah. You just want to take naps and sit alone on the couch and work on your computer. They deserve to stay at a fun house. Where the mom wakes up happy and makes big warm breakfasts and plays loud upbeat music all day.” 

My spirit said “YES.” 

And out of my mouth, in the middle of the loud crowd, came an overwhelming “YES! We’d love that. Sylas would absolutely love it and I know the boys would too. It’ll be good for us!” 

I think her excitement and confidence in us was contagious. I knew my husband would be ALL about it too. But I pretended to ask him anyway. 

As the day of their arrival got closer, I got a little anxious. Not gonna lie. I wanted them to have the best experience. But I had a peace about it like I hadn’t had in a long time. 

And y’all, we had a BLAST.

Can I tell you the JOY I had watching our boys interact with them? 

Can I tell you the FUN we had showing them Texan things and taking them to eat Texas food? 

I’m sure part of the reason for our experience was that we got two really great kids. REALLY great kids. 

Another part of the reason was that I let things be messy. I’ve learned boys don’t care much about details. They just need food, clothes (they don’t even have to be clean), and a bed. Making sure they have clean sheets and warm blanket is mostly just for my own peace of mind. They’ll sleep anywhere.

Another reason it was so enjoyable was that I didn’t try to control everything. I simply couldn’t. It was too much. And that was good for me. My husband handled a lot of stuff and he’s dang good at it. But I’ve ruined that in the past because I’m a recovering control freak. I had no idea I was until this past year. 

And finally, I didn’t try to be someone I’m not. I wasn’t trying to be all cheerful or cool. I was just me. Inquisitive. Serious. Nerdy. Curious. They couldn’t have cared less about how I acted but this was big for ME. 

After 4 days of tons of basketball and tons of carbs and tons of laughter, the boys left for the rest of their adventure. Sylas and I sat in the kitchen eating breakfast and talked about how much we missed those boys. Genuinely missed them.

I said “I’m so glad I didn’t let depression decide against that experience for our family. We would have missed so much. Depression would have robbed our family of SO MUCH. And I would have allowed it.” 

He agreed. And said he was surprised at how I handled it. 

I count that a victory. 

I felt a high five from God. Not because I somehow made Him proud, but because it was DEPRESSION DEFEATED. And we are a team against it. Me and God. A victorious team. 

He has given me so many new tools to use to overcome the darkness. The thieving evil voices that speak on behalf of the disease. So we celebrate when I use those tools well, empowered by Him, and when I get to see the fruit. 
I’m gonna have to stop celebrating with carbs though. That’s a whole other trigger. ;) 

I’ll share more about the tools later. I just want you to know victory is possible.
And yes, the battle started again the next day. But I had just come off a BIG victory…and when you know you can WIN…you fight with confidence. That’s what I want depressed people to know. They can be confidently courageous in the fight. Not victims.

{This pic cracks me up. We woke the boys up to say goodbye to our new Australian friends. They all went right back to sleep after we snapped this selfie. Sometimes I like to pretend I’m Ellen and take group selfie pics. I asked Sylas to get in front, and that’s when he did the sarcastic squat pose. I’ll take it!}

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