Jesus Helped Me Bounce Back
I’m a glass-half-full kind of girl.
My personality leans naturally toward sunny, and joy seems to be a gift God has woven into my DNA. I tend to be able to let things run off me, and I’m not offended easily.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not completely Polly Anna. Just like you, I’ve had pain and losses and disappointments, but I’ve always rebounded pretty easily.
Until 2016. 2016 kicked my booty.
In multiple areas of my life, I experienced some things that broke my heart, and instead of settling in to let God heal and reassemble, I wrestled. I cried. I sank into the hurt, and as I embraced the hurt instead of God’s healing, I fought a loosing battle with…
I didn’t stay in these dark places all day every day, but slowly over the course of the year, I was moving towards decline instead of growing towards incline. I covered it pretty well, though, so that most around me didn’t know the darkness I was experiencing.
Finally, in the weeks before Christmas, I confessed to Barry and a friend, “I feel like I’m walking along the edge of a cliff. I’m ok right this minute, but I feel like I could fall off into a major depression at any moment.”
Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever let your circumstances overwhelm you? I knew that’s what I had done.
I let my circumstances overwhelm me, and only I can let that happen. Still, I couldn’t figure out how to stop.
The day after I had confided the depths of my hurt to Barry, I sat in the chair where I meet Jesus every morning, and I asked Him, “How did I get here? And how do I get out?”
Gently, He reminded me of two blog posts that I had read in the previous weeks, one from a wise mentor and one from a young woman who is the daughter of a friend. Then He whispered into my heart with a voice as clear as yours across the phone lines, “Amy, you’ve let your identity slide back into what you do. Your identity isn’t in what you do. It’s to be in Christ.”
It’s so simple, isn’t it? Even baby Christians know this is the way it’s supposed to work, but I forgot somehow… even though I pecked out these words on my keyboard in 2014,
“When tasks rise to the top of my priorities, I stop seeing myself as the richly loved daughter of King Jesus and start feeling like the stepdaughter dressed in rags scrubbing the floor under her Father’s harsh, critical gaze. I start to see God as an unrecognizable taskmaster, and I begin to believe I’m only created to do His work…. Viewing God simply as a divine project manager skews our view of ourselves into dangerously prideful territory, where the work of our hands is exalted above the work of God’s Spirit. The path to the perfectionism pit is short when we trust our own methods and focus on our product.” ~Breaking Up with Perfect
Even though it was hard to admit that I needed to learn an old lesson again, I thanked God for clearly showing me how to get back on the path to joy. I asked for His forgiveness in allowing my identity to be anyplace but in the safe and loving arms of Jesus, and I asked Him to change my heart.
That’s when a miracle happened.
I’m not one to bandy around lightly a weighty word like “miracle”, friends. I know I experienced a true miracle and the healing of my heart. Many times God heals over time, but this time, I got out of my chair almost physically lighter for having let go of the heft of my own responsibility and shifting into Christ’s rest.
And yet I worried… I was worried that it might be temporary. Or that the sadness might come back the next day. Or that I couldn’t live in this joy, but I’ve experienced a permanent change of heart.
Jesus helped me bounce back.
Are you struggling with the hurt of unexpected circumstances? The pain of being misunderstood? The despair of doubting your calling?
I have one step for you to take. Do a little heart check. Where is your identity resting? Is it tethered to the crumbly underpinnings of your own work? Your own efforts? Your own calling?
Or is it attached firmly to the sure foundation of Christ– a place of rest and safety and unfailing love?
Taking that one step, checking where my identity lay, and asking God to move it back where it belonged set me back on the right track. I believe it can help you too!
In picking apart how I got into the pit and how God helped me out, He also let me see the growth and good that has happened this year. Please hang with me next week to hear about a major victory that might be just what you need too!
Congratulations to Katharine (1.5.17 10:35 am), the winner of a copy of Overwhelmed!
If you read this, and your first reaction was, “Oh pooh! I really wanted to win that book!” can I make a suggestion? Go and buy it today anyway. There’s still an opportunity to get the companion planner for free when you buy it, so click on the title above and see all the details.
Amy, I read this post in my inbox when you published it and I’m still thinking about it! 2016 was a booty kicker for my identity as well (because I was focusing on the wrong things!) and I can so much relate to what you shared here. When you share your experiences, you have a way of putting things into words that help us further understand ourselves. Thank you so much! Hugs!
Leslie, I’m so thankful we’re on the journey together.
Thank you for your devotion, your blog, and video. God used you to remind me that No I’m not perfect and quit beating myself up. I just told my mother in law yesterday I’m so tired of putting on a fake smile and pretending that I’m ok when I’m sinking further into depression.. I have been in a valley for a while and each time I think I’m finding my way out, I go back down. I feel so broken and useless right now. I’m battling health issues, and grief issues, and I’m so good at helping others…I just can’t help myself. Please pray for me. I need it. Thanks again. I know God is still in control.
Geneva, I’m praying for you right now–for rest and strength and peace. You’re not alone!
Amy, your message is timely, thank you so much. I always thought I was grounded in Christ enough to handle anything, knowing He is with us always. We are walking through a season of health issues for my husband following a recent heart attack and I have been battling with doubt, despair and disappointment. Thank you for being a messenger of hope for God’s glory.
Kathy, my heart goes out to you and your husband as you go through this trial. Before I hit “reply”, I sat at my desk and prayed for his continued healing and for peace and encouragement for you. Hugs to you!
Amy – you described perfectly the season I have been in the past 1 – 2 years! Like you – I am also a person that is generally positive and sees the glass 1/2 full. But doubt, despair, disappointment.and mostly overwhelmed by life have loomed over me way too long.
My heart and mind have been self-centered – relying on the arm of the flesh. When I should be looking unto Jesus – the author and finisher of my faith.(Hebrews 12:2).
I have been turning to every book, blog, and Bible study for answers . .. . when I came across your Email with such a hopeful title – “Jesus helped me to bounce back.” and I immediately thought – that’s what I need . . .. to bounce back! I ordered the “Overwhelmed” book.. Thank you for the practical and honest advice and for your transparency that has blessed me with encouragement.
: ) Susan
Susan, I’m incredibly thankful that the post encouraged you today. Yes, I definitely understand relying on the flesh too much. Even as I thought back on what I wrote, I wondered, “How often have I relied on my own positivity and ‘pulling myself up by my bootstraps’ instead of on Jesus? I think that was my main problem this year. Praying for you (and for me) to glorify Jesus as we bounce back!
Thank you for your honesty. I will be praying that the darkness stays away and that you stay in the Light of Christ. Blessings!
Thank you, sweet Nancy!
Thank you Amy! Just what I need to hear! As you know from our days of coaching calls, 2016 kicked me as well. Thank you for the transparent post and the questions at the end to which I answered “Yes” to all….but God has used this to affirm what I’ve been hearing Him saying to me; time to get back to the basics and remember who I am in Christ! Will be praying for you as we journey on Sister!
I’m so glad we’re having the realizations and the victories together, Tina. It’s a comfort to know we’re not alone!
Thank you for this post, I needed a reminder of my need to have quiet time with my Lord so I can handle all the challenges that come. I tend to focus on things to do, my problems and forget to spend quiet time in prayer. I put a favorite quote -Pray like Mary, Work like Martha – on the front of my planner to remind me to keep time with God as part of my daily to do list.
Thank you for your post. lee
Love the quote! It takes both, doesn’t it? Prayer first and then hitting the ground fueled by Jesus for His work.
Oh, how I needed to read this blog today! Didn’t even realize I needed it but there it was in my INBOX.
God knows what we need even before we know. Love how He works. His word is pure truth.
Thank you for your commitment to blog and share pouring into souls.
You are a blessing.
Friend, this means the world coming from you! So glad my lesson was your encouragement today. Hugs!
Thank you, Amy, for your honesty and willingness to let the rest of us in on your struggles this past year.
It hit my “pause” button and helped me to see that I am not alone in my struggle. I feel like I should be a happy, contented woman who loves life and faces each day blessed to be a wife, mother, and “Mimi” to my precious grandchildren. I am a healthy 58 year old, working at a job I enjoy with people I really like. My husband and I have been married 35 years and are happy – most of the time, we get along great (everyone will have times they disagree). I just…..struggle at times. With loneliness. Sadness. Regret…. You have given me an insight into taking my focus off ME and putting my focus on HIM – Jesus. Be blessed today!
Your comment encourages me so much, Shirley. I’m like you– a woman with the longest list of blessings. I think that was one of the things that bothered me the most… the thought, “What do I have to be sad about?!” Thankful that the lesson God is teaching me is an encouragement to you too. It’s great to be on the journey together!
Thank you Amy for your honesty. I have been in the “PIT” (personally intense trials, as Wendy Pope writes in her book, “Wait and See”.) for almost 7 years and getting a little exhausted. I have to remain obedient to God and keep believing (Romans 8:28) that God is bringing good from my storm. I will say when we are tired and exhausted, we become weak and more easily to let our minds believe Satans lies. Satan likes it when we are in the PIT and he doesn’t want us to have joy in the Lord. When Satan starts attacking my mind, I scream at him and tell him to “Go Home”…..and you know where is home is. LOL!!!! You are a great writer. I enjoying reading your blogs, hearing your podcasts and seeing your videos. ~Lisa~ xoxoxo
Whew! Yes. I think Satan often uses our fatigue as a foothold. I’m going to take up your cry to “GO HOME!”
ps. Thanks so much for taking time to encourage me too. I’m rubbing your sweet comments into my heart. 🙂
Amy, thank you for your real ness and rawness of sharing about your heart the past year. I get it. Me too at times. The doubt weighs heavy on my soul at times. I am writing about that same topic this week. It is so easy to allow doubt and dismay suck us out of the loving hands of our Father. Cheers to you, Amy! Thank you for sharing and being real. I love that. Michele
Thanks, Michele. Hugs to you!