I have felt like a mess of a person recently.
Much like the photo above: A hollow shell, surrounded by a desert and drought of my own making. Cracked, broken, & unstable, waiting for a soft breeze to bring the whole thing down.
Depression and anxiety are a constant companion of mine. As a very committed believer in Christ, there is a duality and seemingly endless war that wages inside me.
I have been told I cannot possibly be a true Christian if I suffer from such things.
"If you had REAL faith, then God would actually free you from this"
I have actually had someone speak these words to me. Let me tell you, nothing spikes my anxiety more than the thought my trust and dependence on God is lacking. Let me tell you, every fiber of my inner being screams out and latches onto Him.
So I've become decent at appearance management, building up a facade & cultivating an appearance of thriving. The image I strive to project is like the house above: put together, well maintained, meticulous. It all depends on my own efforts.
I hate this.
The big thing as people that gets forgotten is that to achieve a status of thriving is it cannot be achieved alone. The internal battles I face cannot be won if I remain the only one fighting them. I have to invite others in.
Being a willing member of the Body, the Church, my battles are no longer my own.
When we accept Christ, there is the asterisk implying "terms and conditions" along with Him: we are accepted into the fellowship of others He has also rescued.
This word "fellowship" when talked about in the New Testament is the Greek word Koinonia, meaning, "community, communion, joint participation, the share which one has in anything, participation; a gift jointly contributed, a collection, a contribution, as exhibiting an embodiment and proof of fellowship".
We all have our struggles, areas of drought and hardship. If we all have a reality of an inner desert but live with the constant mask of flourishing and abundance in all areas of life...then are we as a Body truly healthy?
This isn't to diminish the blessings & work of the Holy Spirit, but meant to be an honest look at our hearts towards one another. Do we as the Global Church today live like the Apostolic Church seen in Acts 4:44, "And all who believed were together and had all things in common" (ESV). With all our differences in experience, culture, race, stigmas, theology, etc., can we really say we are together because we believe, and because we believe realize we have all things in common despite our differences?
As a Church we need to come to one another with more grace and less guilt, with more sharing and less shaming, seeing more commonality than reason for contention.
It begins with seeing we all have desert places, be it depression, anxiety, anger, judgment, isolation, lust, envy, whatever. From there we need to follow in the footsteps of our Living Hope, bringing and being"Living Water" that quenches thirst and brings life.
If we want the world to taste and see that the Lord is good, we have to begin by showing it is true to one another within the existing Body.
Let's be salt, light, and living water to one another, then the world will see us and want the nourishment we have received from God and give to one another.