In case you missed it, here’s the link to Part 1 of my story “The Good Girl.” Here are the highlights from my younger years:
- I’m telling my story with the hope of helping you find freedom (Revelation 12:11).
- Intimidation and control were strong forces at work in my home and church growing up, although I didn’t recognize it at the time.
- People-pleasing and performance/perfectionism began as a coping mechanism and quickly became an addiction.
- I had worked so hard on looking and acting perfect on the outside that I didn’t even recognize the huge mess reaching critical mass on the inside of me.
And so my story continues…
FIRST WAKE-UP CALL
We had our first son. I absolutely loved being a mom. It was the fulfillment of one of my deepest desires since being a little girl. However, the birth experience itself was quite traumatic for me both physically and emotionally, and the aftermath of that experience, along with some serious soul searching, snowballed into depression for me.
I felt like life was spinning out of control but that I still thought I had to keep it hidden. I was constantly questioning myself and what I was doing. I was asking things like: Should I work or should I stay home? If I do work, where should it be and in what role? Full-time or part-time? How do I manage our home now and keep it clean and organized?
For the first time in my life I couldn’t fix it, and I certainly couldn’t do it all myself. I couldn’t perform my way out of the mess I was in. I was exhausted from a life of performance, a life of trying to do the right thing. I was utterly confused and ashamed. I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning. Every step I tried to take felt like I was stuck in a thick mud and I was never making progress. I felt incredibly alone and deserted by everyone, including God.
I’d lost my sense of purpose and calling. I’d spent much of my life making everyone else around me happy and in the process, I’d lost myself. I no longer knew who I was or what to do. I’d always known that Jesus was in my life, but now, for the first time, I needed Him, I was desperate for Him. I was crying out of desperation to Him asking, “Who am I?”
God answered my cry for help with life altering counsel. The Holy Spirit spoke very clearly to my heart about my next steps. He told me that I wasn’t seeing myself the way God sees me. He sent me on a mission to answer 2 questions that would change my life forever and help me to see myself as God sees me. I needed to discover…
- What words have been spoken over me that are not God’s words?
- Who does God say that I am?
It was surprisingly easy to write down a lot of negative things others had spoken over me. It was a little tougher to get really honest with myself and write down what I was believing about who I was, but I did it. Here are the basics of what I came up with for the negatives.
- Bad self-image – not liking my body, prone to allergies/sickness, prone to neck and back pain, constantly tired
- God’s purpose in me attacked – not a good teacher therefore not a good mom, don’t deal well with confusion
- Performance/perfectionism – called “the perfect child,” better than everyone else, others comparing people to me saying “why can’t you be more like her,” developing performance habits in order to obtain good grades, friends, acceptance, and love
- Improper submission – looking to a “spiritual father” instead of my Heavenly Father for acceptance, love, power, and wisdom; this went hand-in-hand with performing/perfectionism
- Improper boundaries – saying “yes” way too much to please people instead of God
The next part wasn’t nearly as easy, but it changed my life forever. I went on a treasure hunt in the Bible and I set out to listen to my teacher, the Holy Spirit, instead of all the crazy and negative words running around in my head. In the past, and out of obligation, I’d read the Bible cover to cover, but now it came alive to me. I was able to turn these Bible passages into positive confessions I spoke over myself. As I read certain passages, God showed me how He sees me through his eyes. I started to see the truth.
- God self-image – God created me and He loves every part of me.
- God’s purposes in me are given by God – I am created to be a teacher and a mom.
- Peace in place of performance – I can rest in God’s grace and love for me.
- Proper submission – God doesn’t require compliance, he wants relationship.
- Proper boundaries – God would lead me about when to say “yes” and when to say “no.”
God healed many parts of my life as I walked through these things with Him. He never left me and I never felt alone the same way I had before. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you that this was the magic wand that immediately healed me and overnight I was changed. My healing is an ongoing process.
There are a couple of other tools I want to mention that were essential for me in overcoming depression. I went through the book called “Moving Beyond Depression” by Dr. Greg Jantz (the newer version is called Turning Your Down into Up: A Realistic Plan for Healing from Depression). It gave me small steps I could take daily and weekly to keep stepping into more freedom.
I also spoke often with a dear friend that is a trained counselor. If not for her, I would have needed to seek professional help. I encourage you, actually, I implore you, if you even think you might be dealing with depression, don’t isolate yourself! I believe isolation is the devil’s greatest tool against you when you’re in this state. Keep going, keep reaching out, get help, and get free! God has a plan designed just for you that will work.
The fog in my head was finally beginning to clear. The spinning and confusion were happening less often. I was climbing out of the deep, dark hole I was in. Now, nearly 10 years later, I have to admit that I still can feel a tendency toward feeling sorry for myself or feeling depressed, but I haven’t gone backward. God’s grace has allowed me to keep learning, growing, hearing, and moving forward.
More coming soon in Part 3 of “The Good Girl.”
Link to: Insight: The Good Girl – Part 1
Disclosure: Kristin Stansberry is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
Images from: paperfountainpens