Hi. My name is Jasmine, and I have an anxiety disorder, as well as depression.
Today is Easter. It is the greatest day of celebration for the Church. Days like today, I just want to pack away all of my depression and anxiety, put on my happy face, and shout “He is risen indeed!”
Unfortunately, even on Easter, I find myself distracted by panicked thoughts, and I can feel the depression lingering. I feel the temptation to crawl back in bed and cancel all of my plans instead of dealing with social anxiety. I wish on days like today my disorder would just take a day off.
This is not a blog trying to doctor up broken hearts for a day. I do not want to offer cheap words of encouragement when so many still find themselves feeling more like it’s Good Friday than Resurrection Sunday. Because even on days like today, the fog does not always fade.
As a believer, it’s hard to not feel like a failure as a Christian on days like today. It’s feels like the truth of the Resurrection should overcome and devour the crippling effects of my illness. I feel if I don’t paint a joyous smile on my face with all my fellow believers, I will be letting them down. Maybe, I will even be alone. And, if I cannot thank Jesus enough for His great sacrifice with joy and happiness welling up out of my heart, I fear He will be disappointed in me. I fear I will fail Him. Maybe, if I can just pretend that I’m okay, maybe for today, I will be.
But, as I am met this Easter season with the reality of the Cross and a God who not just overcame, but endured the Cross, I am lead to believe that our God is a God who is able to sit in our own darkness. Just as Jesus did not just skip over the Cross to get to the Resurrection, I do not think He expects us to just skip over the hard seasons in our lives to get the time of celebration. Instead, I see a God who is willing to endure very painful things with us.
In my own life, I honestly feel like I’m still in the Holy Saturday between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, somewhere between suffering and new life, still waiting. Though the temptation to believe I am failing my Christian duty is very near, I sense there is a truth that overcomes such fear.
It was spoken today in our Easter service,
“The peace of the Lord is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of new life.”
I found this to be one of the most comforting statements. Sometimes, when we talk about new life and healing, we have a tendency to dismiss the pain of conflict in our life. The beauty of the Easter season is that it does not dismiss the pain of the Cross. In the same way, I am beginning to believe that when Jesus offers us new life, He does not just glaze over our sorrows.
Resurrection Sunday does not just remind us that new life is available, but that death and darkness do not get the last word.
That’s where my hope is today. Maybe, I cannot feel the joy of new life. Maybe, I cannot see beyond the darkness of this hour. Maybe, I am still afraid. But, I have a God who is not afraid of darkness. He will not run away from it; he endures it. And, he overcomes it.
My depression. My anxiety. They do not get the last word. I have a God willing to sit through darkness with me.
I have chosen this day to share my struggle with others in the hopes that others may know they aren’t the only one. For those of you who can’t quite feel the Resurrection today. If you can’t get out of bed or enjoy this Easter weather. If you cannot imagine life beyond this moment. Know you are not alone.
For those of you who have loved ones who are struggling emotionally, circumstantially, or clinically, please don’t be afraid to sit in their darkness with them. Sometimes all we need is someone to believe in hope for us when we cannot believe it for ourselves.
I wanted lastly to share these words of prayer from our service today:
Honoring the gift of Christ’s risen body, may we rise to serve all those whose needs keep them from being themselves as the image of God; for Christ is risen.
For all who have need of the gift of Easter; for all who journey from illness to health, from despair to hope, from grief to consolation, from loneliness to love; for all our brothers and sisters, that death may have no more power over us, for Christ is risen.
For all who suffer and all who mourn, that today the Lord God will wipe away all tears, for Christ is risen.
May shame not cloud the truth today that darkness, however thick it may be, does not have the final word over your life. I pray that we may believe that the God of Resurrection does not just call us out of our darkness, but He also meets us there.
He is risen indeed.