Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Battle Within

In the interest of continuing the transparency of my last blog, I'm wanting to share a little more with everyone. I'm struggling. Struggling hard. A vicious depression has dug it's claws into my soul, and is having a hard time letting go. I've spent the length of this summer battling a deep depression. To be completely forthcoming, I often dreamt of the release of death. Hoping with every passing day that some insane driver would swerve into my lane and end my misery. I had no desire to remove myself from this life, but I wanted someone else to do the courtesy for me. It's been a trip.

I'm just hitting the point in which I'm starting to enjoy myself again. The goofy, joyful, bubbly Jaci is slowly returning, she's winning the battle, but it's a brutal one. Today I found myself dancing and singing to my Spotify playlist while cleaning our place. It's been a while since I've cared enough to do that.

In conversation with a wonderful friend (kindred spirit???) last night, we discovered a similar struggle. After being hurt by people over and over and over again, it's easy to fall into an indifferent mindset. We don't want to meet new people, we don't want to put the effort into new friendships. It's too hard to pour yourself into someone else, only to be stabbed in the back for trying to help. It's happened too many times in the last few years. To pile that on top of the number of friends and family members I've lost recently, it's safe to say this depression was a long time in coming. These last few years have contained so many wonderful moments, but the space between those grand times have been filled with countless tragedies. Betrayal, death, abandonment, heartbreak. It's a wonder we, as humans, are able to survive the emotional mess that is life.

Here's my point. Depression is real. It's widespread. It hits the people you would least expect. It is not shameful. When someone you love is depressed, they will do their best to push you away. They don't want you to hurt them any more than they are already hurt. But pushing you away ends up breaking them even more. Please, please be there to stand by them during their struggle. Be the strength that they need to face the next day.

Some of us are very good at hiding our struggles, some of us are not. Pay attention to those you love. If they're showing signs of depression, don't just give up on them. Don't treat them like they're an exile. Love them more every day, and do what is best for them. Show them that they really do have allies in this life. It's hard to feel alone, harder than some of you might know.

I understand that people get caught up in their own lives, but this summer has made me wish that some people would focus a little more on the world around them. I understand that my depression is my own, but other people's actions can make it just that much harder. I wish some had been gentler with my feelings. Pay attention to the people in your life. If someone is acting weird, maybe they're not just being a brat. They might be battling demons in their own lives, reach out to them.



Saturday, September 12, 2015

On Being Lonely

I'm a very lonely person. I feel the chill of it most days. I'm a part of the world, but the world doesn't truly understand me. I feel as though nobody fathoms me. It's like being lost in the ocean, surrounded by millions of life rafts with people on them, just out of reach. I'm close to people, but I'm not a part of them.

I've always been this way. My whole life. I tend to be a very busy person. There's a reason for that. I can't be alone and not doing anything, because the ache of loneliness sets in most profoundly when I'm immobile. Activity helps me to forget.

But reality always sets in at some point. I can't remain mobile indefinitely. I will always have a few spare moments to remember how alone I am.

I thought getting married would be a great fix to the loneliness. Having another person around 24/7 would surely keep me from getting depressed. That's not the case. If anything, marriage reminds you how different the other person is. How little we understand of each other. Nobody can completely understand another person. We are alone in the world. Not one human being can be there for you 100% of the time.

That's where faith comes in to play. When other people might not care about me, might not want to be around me, might simply tolerate me. God cherishes me. He understands me. He wants to spend time with me. He choses me to be His own (1 Samuel 12:22). He has so much love for me, it's astounding. His love knows no bounds.

Lately, I've felt like I've been attacked on every side. Things have been hard at work, at home, at church. I feel rejected. I feel stomped on. I feel, generally, like a loser. But then God changes things up, just a little, to remind me of my importance. He puts people in my workplace who tell me that they believe in me, even when I feel like I'm failing. He nudges my husband to remind him to thank me for making dinner.

Even when everything else is breaking at the seams, God holds us in His arms and comforts us. He lets us know that we are loved. That even if nobody can see our value, He does.

And you know what? He is enough for me. His love brings me back to the surface. To give me the will power to keep struggling through each day. To throw my head back and prove to the naysayers that I am better than they think. That, even if I am not worthy of their time, I am worthy of His...and His opinion matters more than theirs.

Just remember this: sometimes, when people act like they have it all together, they don't. We're all broken, just in different ways. Think before you judge someone too harshly. When you have a problem with someone, before trying to ruin their standing in your circle, remember that they're fragile. The things you say could prove to destroy them. I was almost destroyed. The things that people were saying, doing to me made me want to curl up and die. I didn't want to keep going. It's been a months long struggle, but God is helping to pull me out of the hole I've been thrown in.

God is faithful. He'll be there to show me the way. Always.

Jackelyn Stange

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Addiction - Part 4

It's time. Time to wrap up the blogs about addiction. My fourth and final thought is this: addiction comes in many forms. It's not just the three heave hitters: alcoholism, drug abuse and pornography. Addiction is anything you allow to control your life. It is whatever you invest your time in, the things that take precedence over everything else.

Addiction is your favorite pastime, your cherished possessions, your pride and joy. It can manifest itself in something silly and small, like a set of markers. It can show up in your love for another person. It can be anywhere: cell phones, cars, money, education, work, games, friendships, shoes, exercise, etc. Anything that consumes your time, takes your focus away from God and your relationship with Him. Good things can become addictions: church, generosity, cleanliness. Bad things certainly be addictive: lying, cigarettes, theft.

An addiction is anything that takes the place of the truly important things in life. It makes the people close to you feel unloved. It creates a wall between you and what is God's Will for you life. It takes away from the time that you have to create cherished memories.

I have a confession. I haven't written anything in quite some time, due in part to one of my addictions. Books. I've neglected my blog because I wanted to read fabulous fiction. When I am in the mood to read, nothing can get in my way. Books are my life source. I've gone so far as to call in sick to work when a particular new book was released. When I was a kid, I would get in trouble on a regular basis for reading my enjoyment books when I was supposed to be finishing school work. Fiction has been a love of mine for most of my life. Now, is that a bad thing? Absolutely not! Being a book lover is absolutely fine. The problem comes into play when I start to ignore the rest of my life, because I'm so caught up in my books.

Always remember: prioritize. You don't have to give up the things you love, just don't let them control you. Remember to follow up on your responsibilities. Make time for the people in your life. Worship God in everything that you do, especially when participating in the activities that you get the most caught up in.

You are God's child. You are not your own. Remember that. Live each day to please Him. When you find yourself falling back into habits that make you push Jesus out of your life, turn around and reach for Him. He will always be there to pull you back into His arms. He will never leave you, He will never forsake you (Deut 31:6), no matter what you find yourself addicted to. God is well-versed in forgiveness. Simply go to Him in repentance, and He will help you change your ways.

God Bless.


Jackelyn Stange