Mental Health Awareness Day, 2017

Depression means sinking.

It means sinking, in slow motion.

It’s heavy.

It sits in your chest.  It hurts.

It’s seeing the top of the water but no matter how hard you claw, you can’t reach the surface.

It’s selfish and it’s unforgiving.

Depression is numbness.  The inability to feel.

But to feel everything.

It is an all consuming fire in your bones, desperately fighting for the power to destroy you.

 

Anxiety.

Anxiety is fear.

It’s lack of control.

It’s white knuckling life.

It’s the rattling in your chest.

The beating of your heart mimicking a thunderous drum.

It’s shaking. Rocking. Crying. Yelling. Breathing. Gasping.

It is the manifestation of all you wish you were, and all you will never be.

 

 

They steal your joy

Your self worth.

Your relationships.

Your pride.

Your  l i f e.

 

Today is World Mental Health Awareness Day.

It’s a day set aside to recognize that anxiety and depression are REAL.  They are present.  And they have been given the opportunity to destroy too many lives.

 

Today, say a prayer for those who struggle with a mental health disorder.  Know that they need you.  They need your prayers.  Or a smile.  They need to feel loved, to feel like they matter.  Because they do, don’t they?

You matter.

Do you know that?

You were fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who makes NO mistakes.  His canvas is a beautiful tapestry in which He created you in His image.

You are enough.

You are enough.

You.

Are.

Enough.

 

xoxo, A

What defines you?

Mommy.

Wife.

Coach.

Teacher.

Entrepreneur.

Daughter.

Friend.

Cousin.

Hard worker.

Hustler.

Lover of all things pink.

Health and fitness enthusiast.

Recovered anorexic/bulimic.

Survivor of depression.

Spreader of motivation and joy.

Reader.

Student.

Choco-holic.

Wine lover.

Planner addict.

Type A Personality.

Perfectionist.

….Alyssa….

 

All of the above — both funny and heart wrenchingly true — can be used to define me, Alyssa Marie Maziarz.  I have used all of the above to define me in different seasons of my life.  Some for a moment, some for years.

However, there is a significant problem with this list.  It is missing the most instrumental puzzle piece to my life — GOD.  JESUS.

The other day, while I was doing something mindless like picking up toys, scrubbing bottles, searching for pacifiers, singing the ABC’s for the 100th time (mom life!) — I started thinking about what defines me.  As I looked at my baby’s eyes, the first word that came to my mind was “mommy”.  What a beautiful way to define myself.  I am a mommy.  There is no title that makes me more proud than that — mommy.  Mmmm.  Makes my heart feel so warm and cozy.

But again, there’s a problem here.

“Mommy” should not be the first word that I think of to define myself.

What should be?

Christian woman.  Lover of Christ. Dedicated follower.  Disciple.  Evangelist.

If I am not FIRST defining myself as a christian woman, I will forever be reaching for a new way to define myself.  A new way to find purpose.  Meaning.  Life. Restoration.  Reason.

I am a mom, a wife, a friend, a daughter, a coach, a teacher….I am all these things.

But first and foremost, I need to remember that I am the bride of Christ.  THAT needs to be the definition of Alyssa Maziarz.

So think about it — what defines you?

Is it your hustle? your drive? your long work hours? your relationship status?

Remember that you are created by a King who desperately desires for you to find your soul purpose in HIM so that you can live out a life that brings glory to His name and gives others the freedom that is accompanied with being saved.

xoxo

Submission

Submission is defined as “the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person.”

Does that make you cringe?  Doesn’t it make you feel uncomfortable and almost immediately defiant?  Why should I have to submit to ANYONE?

Because the bible tells you to.  And because when you finally do, it will change your life.

Submit therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:7

We are instructed to submit to God.  We are told that if we do so and resist the devil, he will flee.  We are promised that through submission to God, we will be granted peace, grace, and mercy.

But holy moly it has got to be just about the hardest thing to do.

If you’re like me, you like to have a kung fu grip on your life.  You like to live life on your own terms.  You like to determine what is best for you.  You like to dictate your destiny.  You like…no, you LOVE control. You crave control.  You need control.

But guess what?  We aren’t in control.  Not one bit.  And when we TRULY decide to accept that fact, we can slowly surrender to Christ and submit to Him in the way He desires.

So what does this look like?

Learning to submit, for me, was learning to be still.

Be still and know that I am God…

Psalm 46:10

When my counselor (yep, counselor – no shame in my game) instructed me to “be still” I genuinely did not understand what this meant. I eventually realized that being still essentially came down to one thing — TRUST.

I had to trust that God’s will for my life was infinitely better than my own.  That His plans would outdo mine every single time.

Surrendering control, something that I have white knuckled for YEARS, felt impossible.  I cried.  A lot.  I got angry.  I questioned.  I fought it tooth and nail.

But the way I was living my life was not sustainable.  I was hurting.  I needed change.

So I finally told God that I was putting my trust in Him.  That I didn’t want to, but I was.  I was giving him control of my marriage, my family, my finances, my career, my hopes, my dreams, my future.  My e v e r y t h i n g.

After I said that prayer, I was pretty nervous.  What now?

I wish I could say that I felt this immediate weight lifted off my shoulders and trusted that God’s will for my life was infinitely perfect and I could let go of all the lovely plans I had manifested in my brain…..but that’s not how it worked for me.

I have to choose to submit to God every single day.  But I can honestly tell you that I have seen him rain blessings upon me in return.  Blessings that continue to cement the fact that He is in control, NOT me.

He has restored my marriage, he has taken care of my family, he has made financial impossibilities a reality, he has given me fulfillment in my work place, he has given me hope, he has enabled me to work daily toward my dreams, and he has given me promises of a future that is unimaginably lovely.

Submission is a scary word.  But when you learn to submit, you learn to live a life you love.

Purpose In Suffering

We all ask the question “WHY ME?” right?

Maybe you ask yourself or God – Why do I have to have cancer?  Why did my parents have to get divorced?  Why was my husband unfaithful?  Why is my child disabled?  Why did I get in that car accident?  Why did I fall into addiction? Why ME?

I asked that question more times than I could ever count.  Who doesn’t?  But what I found is that asking “why” kept me where I was — lingering in my suffering and and wading in my pain.

Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Matthew 14:31

When I actively chose to accept that my pain was for a greater purpose, that pain I was feeling…that burden that was so heavy – it became bearable.  Knowing that I was walking through this difficult season so that someone, some how could benefit made that pain a little less daunting.

God allows suffering.  He will allow you to suffer because he wants to USE you.  I beg you to allow Him to use you.  Face your trial, lift your eyes to Jesus, pray earnestly to Him and ask him to open your eyes to the good that can come of such darkness.  He is your light and your hope – allow Him to shine that light through you to others.

Instead of harboring your pain, allow yourself to be vulnerable and share your heart with someone else who is hurting.  Let them know they’re not alone.  Give them hope.  You will find that when you are lifting someone else up, it is just so dang hard to stay down on yourself.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:16