He Gets a Bad Rap

I’ve felt incredibly convicted lately. Why? Because Jesus has been my strength through all of this and I give him very little credit publicly. I sing Neal’s praises, I thank my mom and sister, I shout out to my doctors, and I let everyone know there is no shame in taking SSRI’s and the occasional Ativan.

What’s the first thing I do when I start to feel anxious? I pray. Actually I cray. That’s where you pray while crying hysterically. I know a lot of people who feel like they have to have this calculated language when speaking to Jesus. I mean, I’m not going to tell you how to live your life, but my prayers are straight up an unending string of dialogue with my Dad. “Hey… I know you have a plan and all, but if I could stop having the poops before every simple task I need to do, that’d be great. Oh and if you could stop surprising me with random things like the finances increasing, and my mom not having a job, and dad being in the hospital, oh and my uncle dying…”

That’s me and capital-G’s relationship. It’s a very relaxed one. I feel like he gets such a bad rap. There’s so many conflicting arguments on who God really is, how he is worshiped, how you can talk to him, etc. I have no training to tell you the “right” way. I have no ability to guide you other than with what works for me; which is what this blog is anyway. I don't know what you believe God is. But I know him as Jesus. He knows your heart. He understands your thoughts. He feels your pain. He wants to meet you in it. He wants to hold you. 

You may not believe in anything, and you know what? That’s perfectly okay. However, I think it’s time that I stop hiding the fact that he is my go-to guy. The reason I started this post is to share a story with you. Actually, it’s a compilation of a few instances that have lead me to being more open about my God.

If you’ve been following me a while, you know that my anxiety has been the only constant in my life for almost 15 years. Has it really been that long? My anxiety can drive a car while accompanied by a licensed driver. Who am I kidding? It’s always been driving me… heyo!

Anyway, when I was in the midst of the worst of it last winter, I was very open about it (as usual). I was crying out for help. I asked everyone I knew what to do. I needed a new doctor, or a new life. That’s when it happened. I got over 4 messages containing phrases such as the following:

“Katie, I know the answer. I’ve been where you’ve been. I can’t wait to share this with you.”

They were the click-bait of all messages. That’s when it happened:

“Jesus! Jesus is the answer. Reach out to Jesus. Leave it at the feet of Jesus. Just ask him to take your anxiety and he will!”

I was hurt. I was angry. I was frustrated. I wanted to scream, “You think I’m not in the arms of Jesus begging him for answers? Do you think he’s actively is not helping me? How awful! Jesus uses the broken. He holds the survivors in his arms. His people are marked up with struggle and scars. Please don’t use my pain to witness.”

I didn’t say that though. I said thank you. I kept praying and searching. I found my answers. However, that’s when it occurred to me why he gets such a bad rap. Loving others, supporting others, uplifting others is doing the work of Jesus. Telling people that they need Jesus is setting the stage for judgement. You’re making an assumption about their current life and how they are handling it. Also, you’re making a statement that says “you’re obviously not trying this, but if you did, he would help you.” What happens to those that are actively pursuing him and STILL feeling pain? What happens to someone that is new in their relationship with Christ? I was able to ignore it and move on… I could have very easily taken that as “He’s not helping you intentionally. You’re praying wrong. You’re not worthy of saving.”

However, I know my worth and value in Christ. I’ve kept it out of the public for a while now. I didn’t want the stigma of modern Christianity attached to my name. I know that’s the enemy. I need to be showing you the Jesus I know instead of being scared of being associated with the stigma I so strongly despise. I’m here to tell you that I love my Jesus. I believe he has lead me in every direction I’ve been. I believe without him, none of you would know my story. My life would’ve ended a long time ago. Every step I’ve made, every moment of my life has been influenced by his love, his guidance, and most importantly, his grace.

Lastly, I believe Jesus is in every answer I’ve found. I believe he is in the SSRI’s I take each morning, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Functional Medicine. I believe he created the oils I anoint my body with daily. I believe he lead me to my husband even though neither one of us actively pursued a relationship with him at the time. I believe he held me through every panic attack and depressive episode. I believe he held me when my dad left. I believe he carried me through parts of my life I can’t even remember. I believe he healed the wounds on my heart and the wounds I made on my own skin. I believe he brought me through this journey so that I can be there for all of you. I also believe he is MINE and I am HIS.

I will never tell you how to live. I will never tell you I have the answers. I will never make you feel like you’re doing everything wrong. All of our journey’s are different. All of our pain is real, physical or mental. I believe Jesus is there for you as well. I believe he is holding you. I believe he is writing your story and in the deepest, darkest, hardest parts of life, he is building you up for your purpose.

I believe he’s done this for me. He loves you and I love you.

-Katie Joy