Last week I had a friend ask me a random question out of the blue. She asked me why I seem to always be doing so well and why I was always in a good mood. I was caught off guard and really couldn’t answer her at that moment. I said something along the lines of, “I gave up control and have allowed God to lead my life and now I am experiencing a crazy amount of freedom and Joy.”
I wasn’t satisfied with how I responded to that question. I remember walking away frustrated because I had just given her the typical Christian cliché answer. No depth, just a very surface-level response with no depth or explanation behind it. This is the type of Christian lingo I’ve been annoyed with for a long time and I was frustrated with myself for falling into that. There is truth to what I told her, but at the same time this girl deserves to know the full story. She deserves to know my vulnerabilities and struggles, I shouldn’t just glaze over the struggles I’ve battled. I’ve struggled with some serious issues and as hard as it is to talk about it, I know that the only way I can let God use my experiences is if I take opportunities like this to share them.
After thinking about it for a while, I decided to tell her about the day I died. Not literally, but in a sense I was close.
I have struggled with an extreme amount of anxiety. So much that I couldn’t wake up in the morning without feeling the weight of depression on my shoulders. It was a physical feeling and honestly I believe it was a form of spiritual warfare. It was eating me and making me feel literally sick. The enemy was attacking me and I was in a spiritual battle. Through it all, the only hope I had was that God would use this for good. With that I had to let go and I knew what that required of me. He wanted me to leave everything and trust Him. Finally I accepted the call I was feeling and I let Him send me to the last place I would have chosen: Costa Rica.
When I was in Costa Rica, one way God was challenging me was He was making me face all my fears. I faced my fears of being alone, misunderstood, airports (especially the Denver one) and most importantly the unknown. All of this combines to one large challenge and that was giving up control and trusting Him. I was a control freak, and in some ways I know I still need work. But now I would say there was a moment when I decided to let God have control and I decided to trust Him.
Like I wrote about earlier, I was struggling with anxiety, depression, and also to love myself and couldn’t accept the fact that I am loved. I was also trying to figure out my relationship with God and what loving him looks like. I also had a ton of trust issues with myself, with relationships and even wether or not I trusted God. I was working through it and I remember getting to a point where I was ready to give up. I was ready to give up on myself and my life. I just felt like all the questions I was struggling with weren’t being answered.
I remember feeling the need to do something reckless.
I honestly will tell you that I decided to do something crazy, something no one would have ever expected me to do. I had honest thoughts that I would probably die, and secretly I hoped I would. I came to terms with my death. I made a deal with God and told Him that if I make it out alive, then He can do whatever the heck He wants with me and my life. I was done being in control.
So, the next week I jumped.
It was the most thrilling experience of my life. Bungee jumping was something I never would have done. Ever. I absolutely hated heights. Heck, elevators freaked me out so bad my palms would sweat whenever I rode them. (If I’m being honest, elevators still freak me out. I just pretend to be brave). Anyway, my point is that my experience in Costa Rica with bungee jumping reflected my spiritual life and the need to give up. It was more than just a jump, it was a leap of faith. I had to give up control and actually trust enough to put my life at risk. No one understands the point I was at when I did the jump. No one knew that for me, I was ready to die and it was in a sense a spiritual suicide.
So what’s different now? I came away from that experience shocked. I couldn’t believe I had just jumped and did so willing to die. I sound dramatic, I know, but if you need proof I can show you my journal from that day. I was ready to die and be remembered. I even messaged my family and told them I loved them. That’s how you know I was serious about dying. After I had come out of it alive, I remember just sitting there thinking about the life that flashed before my eyes and how my last words before I jumped were, “I have a lot of questions about my life right now.”
That I did. Not all of them were all of a sudden answered that day, but I know that I was questioning myself and I was questioning God and wether or not he loved me enough to do something with me. While I was dangling there from the cart, hundreds of feet in the air, I realized and said out loud, “God loves me enough to save me from death.” Why did he save me from death? I wasn’t sure, but I knew he was calling me to give up everything and just trust Him. It was time to give Him the control and actually trust.
Today, my life is different because I gave up control. I allowed God to lead my life and was willing to die to my old self, literally. I’ve been living in freedom because I’ve realized I am not in control, He is and his plans don’t fail. Knowing that there’s nothing I can ever do to earn the love that God has for me is crazy. To think that He thought I was worth creating and He has chosen to keep me here still blows my mind. It should blow yours too because look at yourself, you are a living and breathing being! You are someone that God thought was worth creating! He does have a plan for you and it’s up to you to give up yours and follow His. I can tell you right now that freedom is waiting on the other side once you give it up.
God has freed me from depression and anxiety. I am now able to appreciate and experience this crazy amount of joy.