Relentless….this was the title of the message that I had the opportunity to give a week ago at Rivers Crossing Community Church. Side Note – If you want to listen to/download the message, you can do so here – RC3 PODCAST. It was a message on John 4 and the story of the woman at the well. Pastor Paul asked me a couple months ago if I wanted to teach on this passage and almost immediately the Lord began telling me that it was time to share some of my story – my story of Anxiety and Depression. You see, being in ministry and having the opportunity to hear a lot of stories and have the opportunity to pray over people – I’ve discovered that their are sooo many people struggling with mental illnesses – specifically with depression and anxiety. And not only are they struggling with it, but they are also being fed lies from the enemy that they will never amount to anything, that they shouldn’t tell anybody or seek counseling because it makes them look weak, that they shouldn’t take medication b/c it might show a lack of faith, that God can’t use you and I just need to be very blunt because some of you need to hear this and receive it. Those are lies from straight from the enemy and they are complete bull crap (I really wanted to use stronger language right there, but hopefully the word crap will suffice for now).
You see, just as Jesus came and met this Samaritan woman (in John 4) right where she was at in the middle of her mess and offered her Living Water and opened her eyes to see Him for who He really was that he wants to do the same for you this morning. He is not finished with you. He is a loving Father who cares deeply for His Children.
And so, here is my story (basically a transcript from my talk)….I hope its encouraging to you and if you have any questions or comments – you can comment on this post or you can email me personally – firstname.lastname@example.org – Im a so thankful for the countless number of you that have thanked me for this message and share in this struggle with me – your encouragement simply means the world to me!
Id love to share with you how this passage has really been encouraging to me as I’ve been reading through it and studying it. You see, about 6 years ago I was leading a Night of Worship at our Church back in SC. It was a normal day and there was great anticipation for the night. About the third song in, I began to have this weird sensation. My head was spinning, and my knees felt very weak and it was all I could do to stay up on the stage and make it through the current song that was being led. I started getting super hot, My palms got sweaty and I just felt like I was going to pass out. It was a very new sensation for me, b/c I’ve never passed out in my life. I couldn’t take it any longer, and so as we finished up the song I walked off the stage. It was that night, that my journey with anxiety and depression began. Now Im sure that it wasn’t just that night, but that night it manifested itself in a very real way and became a part of my life.
And I remember early on really questioning God about this. Is there some sort of sin in my life that is causing this anxiety? Is my faith just not strong enough? Am I not praying enough? And not only would I question myself, but there were other “churchy” people asking me these same things. And not only questioning God, but also not accepting it. I always considered myself to be a pretty tough dude and so I wasn’t going to admit to this struggle b/c I thought it wasn’t a very manly thing to do. I was very good at keeping it inside, keeping it a secret. There were times where there was nothing I could do to make myself feel better or fix the situation, but during those times God would teach me that my only hope was to rely soley on His strength and His power – and He’s definitely taught me a great deal about His character over these last several years.
And so over these last 6 years, I’ve been on and off of different medications, I’ve been prayed over many times for healing, I’ve been in counseling – and I stand before you today to tell you that my journey with anxiety and depression is still going on. Im on staff at a Church, I have the honor of leading over 1000 people in worship every week and at the same time I have a daily struggle with anxiety and depression. Im just a normal guy who is walking through a lot of the same things that many of you are walking through, and yet God still chooses to use me and he wants you to know that you can be used too. I wish I could tell you that I’ve been completely healed from my anxiety and depression, but the truth is I can’t. Im still walking through it, still trusting in Jesus every day and believing that whether or not he chooses to heal me on this side of eternity or not – He is still good, He is still Sovereign, and I can still be used by Him to do great things in the Kingdom.
I believe the Lord wants to encourage many of you this morning. I believe that there are those you under the sound of my voice who are struggling with anxiety, depression, panic attacks, worry, fear and the enemy keeps telling you that you will never amount to anything, that you shouldn’t tell anybody or seek counseling because it makes you look weak, that you shouldn’t take medication b/c that shows your lack of faith, that God can’t use you and I want to tell you this Am that just as Jesus came and met this Samaritan woman right where she was at in the middle of her mess and offered her Living Water and opened her eyes to see Him for who He really was that he wants to do the same for you this morning. He is not finished with you. He is a loving Father who cares deeply for His Children. And this AM you need to be reminded of His love for you!
And I believe that our response to these situations in our life is to worship. I’ve done numerous talks on the power of worship and I believe it holds true in every circumstance. Worship is a powerful tool in our spiritual journey. And for me, in the moments that I’ve experience intense levels of panic and anxiety, or the lowest parts of depression – my only response is worship. It goes against everything I think I should do, b/c I feel like i should internalize it and keep it in, but my response should be worship – Its because of worship that in some of those moments of intense panic I experience God’s perfect peace. Worship absolutely crushes the enemy and all the lies that He tries to tell us.
This morning we are going to close with worship, and I just want to encourage you to go for it. No matter what you are walking through in your life – whether it be anxiety or depression, whether its some sort of sin in your life and now you are living with all kinds of guilt and shame – I believe God wants to meet you right where you are at and remind you this AM that His love will never fail, that He will never give up on you.