The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
It seems like most men chase the perfect life, and I guess I am no different. I have a stable job, an awesome wife, four healthy children, a welcoming church and church family, and fun hobbies. In late January 2020, I had just gotten a promotion at work, and everything seemed great, at least from the outside.
Literally days after I started my new job, I suffered from the worst pain I’ve ever experienced. Several excruciating hours later, the ER doctors couldn’t find a thing wrong and chalked it up to kidney stones. Apparently stress does crazy things to your body. In the hospital, I recalled watching the news about a virus out of China. I started having trouble sleeping, which leads to more stress and, ironically, less sleep. I was waking up several nights a week with panic attacks, in a cold sweat, with my heart beating so hard I thought it was going to pop out of my chest and wake up my wife. I can’t even begin to tell you the other physical health problems stress causes, but many of them lead to even more stress.
I’m not going to make this worse than it is, and honestly I even feel guilty writing this. I know there are people who have gone through much worse in their lives, and I can’t even pinpoint something that happened to me in particular over this time period. Maybe it was a mid-life crisis? Heck, I don’t know. Whatever it was, nobody could point to anything in my life and see what was happening other than me. Everything from the outside looked awesome. However, something inside my head, or heart, was not right.
Guilt started to overtake me. If I could say it was one thing, that was it. I don’t really know why this reared its ugly head at this particular moment in time, but looking back, that was it. I’ve done some things I’m disgusted with, and I started telling myself that God could not love me, could not save me, and did not want me. With this self-talk came the progression that I was not good enough to be the father, husband, or Christian I wanted and knew I was to be. I was inadequate in everything. I feel like the devil knew I was down and knew I felt like I was far from God during this period, so he attacked me with his best weapon: lies.
I like music. All kinds. Not just Christian music (let’s face it, it gets a little corny sometimes), but everything. I kept replaying a song by NF called “Change” for the lines “I need change/Yeah, that’s kinda easy to say, right?/But difficult to do when I feel like I hate life/And everyone around me kinda thinks I’m a great guy/But I don’t ever think it so I think I’m a fake liar…” That is where I felt like I was.
At the beginning of 2021, I started attending counseling sessions with a Christian counselor from out of town. I did not want anyone knowing the battle I was fighting in my head; my wife did not even know I was going to counseling. I think I told one person who didn’t even live near me anymore, which felt like more of a confession than anything.
About this time I tried to start pressing into God and the Bible. I kept repeating Exodus 14:14.
I read through the Psalms, a book I had never understood before, but many of them are cries out to God, asking questions, even challenging God. I realized for some reason that God could take that, He was big enough to answer our questions, and He longed for us to have a relationship close enough to Him that we can talk with Him like this. I leaned on the fact that God would fight for me. The maker of everything, He fights for me. I am nothing, but He fights for me. No matter whether my life looks perfect or what is going on in my head, He fights for me. All He asks me to do is stay calm. That doesn’t mean that I don’t do anything, it just means to stay calm, and staying calm requires me to trust in Him and His plan. It requires me to trust that He knows me, made me for a reason, and fights for me because He does love me, want me, and saves me. You would not fight for something you don’t believe in and love—isn’t He the same?
Whether or not what you are going through seems bad compared to everyone else’s story, it doesn’t matter. It is your story, your life. If you are depressed or anxious, no matter what it is, talk with God. He cares. He wants you to know He cares and will fight for you.