Friday, September 23, 2016

When there is no peace

Have you ever found yourself questioning you spirituality during your depression/ anxiety or any type of trial. It's actually normal to think, "I'm praying, reading my scriptures, doing everything I should be so where is the peace I should be feeling?"

For some reason emotional and mental health has a stigma to being associated with our spiritual well being. This actually isn't true at all. I'm not saying that praying and reading your scriptures won't help, but it is not a cure all for our problems.

That can be so hard for those struggling with depression. Especially when you read the words of Elder Paul V. Johnson of the Seventy, "Peace is a gift. We don’t determine the conditions upon which this gift is given. Our Father in Heaven sets the terms. Sometimes we become so focused on our quest for peace that we forget it is one of the fruits of a righteous life. Our best course for finding peace is to live righteously—to keep our covenants. This is the only course that leads to that inner peace we all desire. The adversary would tempt us to put all our efforts into directions other than a righteous life in our search for peace, but if we do this we will be disappointed in the end. True peace comes only from the Lord as a result of our righteous lives."

You are left thinking and feeling, "Okay, I'm living that righteous life, WHY can't I have that peace?!?" With depression it is, at times, hard to feel the Spirit, or peace, or comfort of any kind. It is not Heavenly Father trying to abandon you, it is simply a symptom of  the illness. He is very aware of you and what you are going through. Depression not only can affect you mentally or emotionally, but spiritually as well. At the same time Satan WANTS us to feel unloved, in chaos, not at peace, and hopeless. He knows that if we are living righteously, yet not at peace, he can plant those seeds of doubt. He can take the little wondering of, "I'm living righteously, so why am I not at peace?" and use it to drive us further from our Heavenly Father.

I remember one Sunday sitting in Relief Society and a sister said, "If you have a righteous desire and you pray for it hard enough, it WILL happen." Now, this isn't doctrine, but I couldn't help but think, "I'm married in the temple, I'm as righteous as I can be, having a baby with my husband is like the most righteous desire a person can have... so why am I NOT getting it?" It simply wasn't Heavenly Father's will. I know, that answer sucks! For me, I needed to figure out what Heavenly Father's plan was for me. His plan was for us to adopt through foster care. Even when we started on that path it wasn't like a light bulb came on and we knew without a doubt that was His plan for us. It just felt right.

The same goes for our depression, or trials we are facing. Heavenly Father has a plan to help us.

Find what works for you. Even on medication, exercising, counseling, doing everything I can to fight the depression, I still struggle to concentrate. During Sacrament Meeting I feel like a little kid that can't sit still. My mind just can no focus. I have learned over time a few tricks for how to get my mind to concentrate better. Two things I can do are 1) close my eyes or 2) do something busy with my hands, like coloring. Being able to concentrate and focus during Sacrament also helps me to feel the Spirit easier. My mind tends to be so busy, so full of negativity and sadness, that is drowns out the positive. Being able to clear my mind, even if it is just for 10 minutes, lets peace back in.

"Hang on and hope. Never lose faith in your Father in Heaven, who loves you more than you can comprehend. Never, ever doubt His love for you. Hold fast to the Atonement. Believe in miracles. When you’ve done all you can do, endure to the end. And remember, hope is never lost." -Jeffrey R. Holland

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