Saturday, July 22, 2017

Words of Affirmation

Before I get into this, I just want to remind you that words of affirmation and words of encouragement are, essentially, the same thing. Affirming words/statements provide encouragement and encouraging words/statements are encouraging. It's virtually impossible to have one without the other, so when I say "words of affirmation," I'm using the phrase as a synonym to "words of encouragement."

The other day, I had a bad day. I know that everyone has a bad day every once a while. My bad days are probably no worse than anyone else's--except for the fact that I deal with depression. While God is in the very active process of completely removing my depression (healing me), it is a process for me. So on my bad days, like so many others who deal with severe depression, I think "those" thoughts--not just thoughts of how I'm useless and worthless I am and how no one respects or likes me and how I'm so pathetic that there's no way anyone could love me or even want to love me, but yes, also "those" thoughts.

I've even decided how I'd do it. The most painless way I can possibly think of. One time, on a bad day, I started driving towards a light pole, speeding faster and faster. I'm here, so obviously I slowed down and parked my car.

Now, don't panic or feel as if I need an intervention. I'm fine. But I will honestly tell you that my bad days are really bad. Everyone asks how someone like Robin Williams (and so many others) could kill himself. I KNOW how.

I share such a horrible secret with you because I want to get to this part: I am learning more and more with each and every bad day how to get through them with positivity and JOY. Of course, there are other methods I use to get through my bad days, but the one that helped me through my bad day the other day was words of affirmation.

Bless his heart, my poor husband was super-overwhelmed when I laid out everything I was thinking and feeling on him. He listened and he offered what words of comfort he could, but considering how intense I was, there really and truly, honestly was nothing he could say--or do--that would get me out of my funk. Just him listening did make a huge difference, but it simply wasn't enough.

After he went to bed, I was still struggling, so I found myself whispering words of affirmation from the Holy Spirit to myself over and over. When that failed, I grabbed a gorgeous metallic-pink Sharpie and wrote the words of affirmation on my arms: "I love you. You are Awesome" (left arm) & "You are my JOY Song" (right arm).
I didn't need to sign them or write that they were from the Holy Spirit in order to feel as if He was speaking them to me--to my heart--to my very deepest soul--every time I read those words over the course of the next two or three days. But that's exactly what they did: they spoke to my very inner being and helped me remember that my bad day was just that--ONE bad day.

And the thoughts I was thinking about being unloved and so on were not at all true; they were lies from the enemy who knew that I was having a bad day and he was having a field day with my heart.

Sometimes reading the Bible isn't enough. Sometimes praying isn't enough--whether it's prayer alone or with a personal prayer warrior. Sometimes talking to someone isn't enough--even when the someone is supportive and encouraging to the best of his/her ability. Sometimes worship isn't enough--even when it's a favorite worship song. Sometimes laughter isn't enough--not even when it's a Robin Williams movie. :(  

Sometimes....just sometimes, we need not only to hear or read the words of affirmation, but we need to see and feel them in our very being. Writing them on my body where I could see and read them ALL THE TIME helped. It just did. Maybe next time writing the words of affirmation on my arms won't help. 

The important thing for me and for everyone else dealing with bad days--whether we're struggling with depression or not--to remember is that we must FIND the words of affirmation we need and read them, write them, hear them, speak them, color them....whatever we need to do in order to feel the affirmations deep in our very souls so that we can allow the Holy Spirit to minister to the very deepest part of us.

The Bible tells us that "we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and the authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against the wicked spirits in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:12, NLT). These are the forces that triumph, that feel victorious on our bad days, especially when we give in to the thoughts and feelings that are tearing us apart.

The wonderful good, amazing, extraordinary, super-fantastic news is that God Himself goes to battle for us! We don't have to battle the enemy who is putting "those" thoughts in our heads! We don't have to fight him. We don't have to fight the thoughts! The Bible tells us over and over and over and over again that God will fight for us. Our job is to put on our armor and STAND: "Be strong with the Lord's mighty power. Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to STAND FIRM [emphasis mine] against all strategies and tricks of the devil" (Ephesians 6:10-11, NLT).

When I give in to the negative thoughts, feelings, and actions of my bad days, I'm allowing the enemy to win. And he and his minions are dancing with great glee because I am taking my eyes off God and putting them on self.

I have no desire to let the enemy win over my soul. There is NO WAY I am going to spend eternity in the fiery pits of hell. I can't stand the heat here on earth!!! ;)

I intend to go to heaven for eternity and spend it with my Lord and Savior in my gorgeously wonderful glorified body: "...we long for the day when we will put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing" (2 Corinthians 5: 2, NLT)!!! That means that one day, this chubby girl is going to have a body that will no longer be chubby or in pain! It means that this body will never again have to deal with depression or "those" thoughts or even bad days! 

I refuse to give up the HOPE of my eternal salvation just because I'm having a bad day! So when I have another bad day, I will remind myself of the words of affirmation from my Lord: "I love you. You are Awesome. You are MY JOY Song." I will read His Word. I will sing His praises. I will worship. I will bow down. I will pray. I will hear the words of Affirmation from His Holy Spirit deep within my very soul. And I WILL STAND FIRM in Him.

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