I remember the first time I looked into the reflection of my own eyes and felt pure terror. Who was looking back at me? Why was she so dark? Where had the life in her eyes gone? I looked almost unrecognizable to myself. Like a shell of who I once was.
I took a double take . . . And then another. And yet another.
Yep, that’s me. My hair. My features. My makeup done the same way every day for a decade. Those are my clothes and the same body that’s carried me through my life. But something was missing. The life inside of me . . . was gone.
Dead. Dead is all that came to mind. My smile no longer made it to my eyes. My laughter no longer made a sound.
I was going through the motions of a chaotic life and slowly peace and joy vanished until I no longer could find them anymore. I hated what I saw looking back at me.
My eyes were dead. My soul was dead. It’s as if my soul went into a coma for an extended period while I flailed about life trying to find my way back to the girl I knew lived deep inside somewhere. But instead of the girl God made me to be showing up, I was wearing the fruit of a messy and anxious mind. Stressed, depressed and miserable. Now my eyes showed what I held in secret for so many years.
My cover was being blown.
My inner mental torment was making its way to the outside of me. The darkness was making its way into the light. It was becoming too strong to keep hidden. For years I suppressed intense struggles with fear, hurts from my past, anxiety, inadequacy, depression, and panic.
But once my mess was involuntarily out of the bag, I had to deal with it. I had to allow God to do open heart surgery in me. I couldn’t hide behind my mask anymore. I had to get help and be open with trusted people God placed in my life.
It was only when I stopped hiding that I tasted true freedom for the first time in my life. Change finally began to take place and God began the deep inner healing that my very life depended on.
I realized something about those dark years of hiding in secret torment. The dark times can be the greatest fertile soil for change and growth.
It says in Isaiah 43:2, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”
Our God is for us, always. He deeply desires for us to be free from mental and emotional torment. He sent His very Son to demolish darkness so that we as children of the Almighty God could walk free in the light.
Mental Illness is an Epidemic in our World Today.
The enemy wants you to join the statistics. But God has another way. The true way to freedom and perfect peace.
One of my favorite worship songs right now “Way Maker” reminds us who God is in all this darkness we live in.
“Way Maker. Miracle Worker. Promise Keeper. Light in the Darkness. My God, that is who you are.”
He is the God that brings dead bones to life (Ezekiel 37). He is the God that exposes and heals the darkness. He came to set the captives and the oppressed free. If you struggle with mental torment of any kind, whether that be depression, anxiety, panic attacks, bipolar, OCD, PTSD or other forms, this is good news for YOU!!
How to be Set Free
When we surrender our inner mess to Jesus and let Him heal us, darkness no longer has a hold.
I can shout it from the mountaintops from personal experience. I have been freed from mental torment that made life unlivable at many times. And that same freedom is a free gift to you too. Praise Jesus!
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.” (Luke 4:18)
There are two plans for your life and they are each fighting each other for your attention every day:
The devil has a plan for you full of mental torment, mental illness, and misery.
Jesus has a plan for your life full of freedom, a sound mind, peace, joy and a purpose greater than you could imagine.
It says it best in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to kill, steal and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
Jesus holds all the keys to unlock all your prisons and came to set you free.
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