I found my identity in being the good Christian girl.
Growing up in a Christian home, I wanted to be a good student, sister and friend. I wanted to be loved by everyone.
I always put on a happy face and never wanted to show anyone my weaknesses or insecurities. I was an actor performing on a stage, covering up how I truly felt.
I grew up believing that as long as I acted like everything was okay in my life, then my mind would believe it to be true. I found security in my circumstances as well as my relationships with friends and family. I thought I had control over my life and could handle anything standing in my way.
When I was in high school, my brother had a seizure and was later diagnosed with epilepsy.
Reality showed me that there was so much possibility for bad things to happen in the world and ultimately, I didn’t have control over that. I hated the things that would potentially hurt my family and friends. I spent my days fearing that something bad was going to happen to them.
Because I always put on a happy face, not many people knew that I was struggling with these new thoughts I had going on in my mind.
As a result, depression and anxiety took over.
I would go to the bathrooms at school and have panic attacks, but no one would know. It wasn’t easy to hide, but my pride made me fearful of ruining my image and admitting my weaknesses.
When I came to college, I still had a lot of anxiety and depression. I felt empty. No one knew me as the good girl or who I was or had been.
I remember going to a church service and they were talking about God’s wrath, which was something I had never thought about before. It was an “ah-ha” moment; I realized that God’s wrath was poured out on Jesus on the cross so that I didn’t have to feel anxious, depressed or fearful of bad circumstances.
I realized that God loves me so much and he doesn’t want me to simply survive or get through my day, but he wanted me to do it in fullness of joy and for His glory.
There is an exciting and abundant life waiting for me that I had never considered. I had a plan for my life and was going to be successful. I realized I couldn’t be happy on my own or pretend to have it all together without God. His plan is immeasurably more than I could have imagined.
All the stories God has written in my life were not just random happenings and circumstances. Instead, God planted each of those things, the good and the bad, in my life so that I could see the purpose in my struggles and that I could show God’s love in a way that would impact other people and glorify Christ.
When Jeff was a senior in high school, he wanted to commit suicide. But God intervened.
The time I spent with my father throughout my childhood is mostly an angry blur of yelling and crying.
Olivia discovers that only God can satisfy her need for love.
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