You’ve heard it all before. Everyone is “special”. God has a purpose for everyone. He made everyone unique...blah blah blah
Sometimes it just seems like there’s nothing special about ourselves at all, or at least that’s what your subconscious tells you. I’ve noticed anxiety/depression becoming a much larger issue in our country more and more. According to statistics, one in five adults have a mental health condition. That's over forty million Americans. Youth depression rates increased from 8.5 percent in 2011 to 11.1 percent in 2014. It seems almost everyone has their own story of battling depression, or is close to someone who is fighting.
I like to call it fighting, because it turns it into an object outside of you; it makes it an opponent. When you suffer emotionally, you face a great battle. It matures you; it makes us people for all seasons. I want to encourage you to believe the mushy story that God has a special plan for your life. I know sometimes we don’t want answers, because we’re not ready to hear them.
When God wants to speak to you, He will whether you asked Him to or not. Believe it or not, there really is only one you. You really are special. If you get anything out of this post, I hope you feel encouraged to believe there is only ONE special YOU.
“Baby! It’s says pregnant!” A couple of months ago, my wife came running out of the bathroom screaming and threw her arms around me. She was trembling. She was scared and so was I, but I comforted her and assured her I wouldn’t run away to another country. It took us both by surprise. As they say “You’re never ready to have children,” believe me we didn’t feel ready.
My wife, Kim, was immediately flooded with fears of pregnancy. I was flooded with fears of parenthood and changing diapers. How can I be a father; be responsible for another human life when I don’t feel responsible for my own emotions.
I feel the least qualified to say anything about fatherhood, but one thing I’ve learned so far, is that I will never sleep in again (but when I do, it’ll be AMAZING). My wife has been battling severe morning sickness and throws up on the clock multiple times a day. I was running all over New Jersey for random food ranging from an Asiago cheese bagel at Panera Bread, to a hole in the wall pizza shop called Jumbo’s for a sandwich with chicken fingers, gravy, cheese and fries on top... yet she was still losing weight.
Playing my part has been tough, but others have had it worse. My mother-in-law was in the hospital with pregnant with her first child and couldn’t even keep down the I.V. fluids.
Besides, in all honesty, guys need to MAN up! Your wife is growing a human for crying out loud! That takes some mad skills and more pain tolerance than any man I know has ever acquired.
I must admit the old days have been haunting my steps. I feel depressed about adulthood; often thinking my best days are behind me. I remember my senior year in High School, I was competing in the AG National Fine Arts Festival. I was the keyboard player for a worship team that had won first place two years in a row (and we were going for a third). I’ll never forget as we prayed before going up in front of the judges for the final round, all of us in tears as we knew it might be the last time we ever played together in a national competition (I was the only one who didn’t cry as I don’t do such things).
We thought there was no way the judges would vote us “first place” a third year, but we were wrong. I’ll never forget leading worship with the band in that giant arena at the closing ceremony in Indianapolis, playing in front of close to ten thousand people. It was surreal and sublime and it was the only time I’ve ever performed in front of that many people.
If you read any of my other posts you know that college was a disaster for me, even though the start wasn’t so bad. The whole band decided to go to Valley Forge Christian College, and wanted to go on tour and we had the opportunity to do so.
I don’t know if I can take the entire blame but I’m willing to. I had dreams of being an actor, singer, on broadway and in film. I wanted to pursue show business and I’m sorry to say, I slowly stepped away from the band. I disappointed everyone who knew me, and to this day eight years later I still feel a heavy burden about how it all ended. I didn’t break things off the right way, and sometimes the pain makes me think I shouldn’t have left the band.
However, if I had stayed with the band I most likely would never have crossed paths with my wife and that’s a destiny from which no one can separate me.
Spending time brooding over mistakes you regret doesn’t get you anywhere. It’s better to live your life with no regrets and attain knowledge from mistakes. There is so much to learn in failure. The hard part is failure hurts, and sometimes it’s embarrassing, but there’s maturity and strength in the willingness to look foolish.
Never stop learning.
When we suffer from depression we often isolate ourselves which is sometimes needful and other times damaging. If you’re battling anxiety/depression, when all else fails keep busy by learning. Knowledgeable gain is strengthening in countless ways, and there exists various outlets at your disposal.
Maybe it’s time to earn that degree. I don’t know your age, but in this day and age it is more than possible. Perhaps you’ve earned your degree and you don’t know what’s next, and it hurts feeling like there’s nothing left for you. How about a Master’s degree. Or a Phd.. Maybe you think that’s out of your reach but with God, nothing is impossible. What’s possible is to miss-out on experiencing the impossible by inactivity. Our 26th president Teddy Roosevelt read five hundred books a year even during his presidency.
That should make you feel lazy. I’ve read about twenty books in my life, and I’ve made it a personal goal by age thirty-eight to have read three thousand books. That’s about one book a day for ten years.
Go BIG or go HOME.
It’s not about doing something nerdy or trying to put yourself back in High School mentality. It’s about maintaining a childlike wonder with life; challenging yourself to do more than you did in High School or College. "The word disciple comes from the Greek word "mathétés". The root word means 'the mental effort needed to think things through.' So by definition, a disciple is someone who never stops learning." (Mark Batterson, Play the Man)
I took many acting classes at prestigious Acting Studios. I even took a stand-up comedy class which lead to doing a showcase at the famous Comedy Cellar. I’ve never been more frightened in my life, and never felt more like a man. Even more so than driving my old Ford Explorer brakeless for over 100 miles.
Making an audience laugh is the most rewarding feeling I’ve ever felt, other than doing an intense scene on film.
The difference is with acting the experience is more rewarding for the actor, but for the comedian the reward favors the audience. I’ll never forget after doing a set for a rehearsal and my mentor, famous comedian Rick Crom said to me, “You might be cut out for this, kid.” I don’t receive many compliments, but that one was a winner. Not because it gave me confirmation that I was going to “make it big” one day, more a confirmation that I wasn’t wasting my time. I learned a lot more than just comedy from Rick. He taught me how to be more than funny. He taught me confidence in myself as a human being, which is something I often lack. I’ll never forget the things I learned from that genius of a man. Never throw away a compliment no matter how small or humble. Even the smallest bit of encouragement can plant the deepest of roots.
The best part about moving forward, is that only you can achieve your accomplishments in the way that you will accomplish them. No one else can get the job done like you. We’re creatures of habit. If you find yourself only giving in to bouts of depression; you’ll stay depressed.
It takes will to come out of it. In the beginning it may take stronger will, but that is the task.
Once you start moving. Don’t STOP! Once you stop, you may take a few steps back. If you do try to take extra steps forward; take leaps forward. Upset your day. Read a book you wouldn’t normally read and stretch your horizons. Never live inside a box when there’s so much outside of it. My worst days are my least busy. I know sometimes we need that down-time, but don’t let it become dead-time. Keep the energy moving forward and there’s no better day than today. I hate when people tell me that, but it is a profound truth. If you don’t use today it’s lost. Everything we don’t use, we lose. Our mental health is much like a muscle. The more you build it the more it builds you.
Remember there is only one you. Make the most of you. Get the most out of you. Be the best you.
The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out...