Here’s to the dreamers and doers who envision the call God has for them—yet are stifled by the sting of depression that creeps up at the most inconvenient times. We know the dark rumble of shame that tries to overpower the still, small voice of God.

I know that person. I’ve been her, and I’ve warred for her. The victory has been won; the black hole of depression has no power in Jesus name!

Be gentle with yourself. Process it all—the good, the bad, and the ugly. Your future self will thank you for the work you put in today. If you need to see a counselor, go right ahead. Don’t be ashamed. I did, and I cannot tell you how much freedom I’ve experienced because of it. Embrace the broken places, knock out the stigma of mental health, and soak in the truth of your story.

Stay diligent in pursuing the confidence of freedom; there’s power in knowing your story.

Your story matters; you matter. You do. The sucking power that depression has loses its power as you begin to own your story. Allow God to work through the mess with you. He can handle it—I promise. I do not want to live in a society where, when someone breaks their arm, everyone runs to sign their cast, but if someone battles depression, they run the opposite way in fear of it being contagious. Depression and anxiety aren’t contagious. They are ways in which the evil one tries to knock out God’s kingdom shakers.

No way, you mighty warrior! Fight for your story. Embrace the truth of it and relish in God’s glory through the pain. What message is God revealing to you through the mess? Are you willing to listen?

Take a chance on your story. You don’t know the glory that can and will be revealed through the darkest seasons.

I stuffed the pain to the point of closet breakdowns; I thought my crying jags were weakness. Then I recognized that, to love people better and to serve them better, I needed to embrace the dark places. Through that difficult heart work, I finally realized that when I am weak (in myself), then I am strong (in Christ).

My desire to process and own my story has enabled the Jesus in me to empathize and love people on a much deeper level. I will embrace the work I have done and continue to do it—to process, heal, and grow.

The presence of God is not a place to overlook your emotions; it’s the place to process them.

Heart work is worth the hard work!

Written by Israel Joy

Photo by Denny Müller