I have made significant improvements over the past two years in overcoming my battle with depression. I've spent many hours studying, pondering, and applying concepts and information that I've learned in my quest to overcome this trial.
The journey has been long. I still wake up each day struggling to have enough energy and willpower to face sometimes even simple day to day events. I have to continue to remind myself that progression and healing takes time. Sometimes we have setbacks and sometimes we just need the reassurance that things will continue to improve.
I've found that I do much better when I have a clearer vision of who I truly am. So how do we obtain that?
As I sat in church yesterday with the wonderful young women whom I have the blessing of working with, I was touched by what I was taught by the teacher. She shared with us a time when she prayed for Heavenly Father to allow her to see and understand who she is. She was given just a glimpse of the person that Heavenly Father knows she is. As I've pondered upon that, I've wondered how our lives and perspective would be changed if we could truly see ourselves as our Father in Heaven sees us.
Would we make better use of our time?
Would we make different decisions?
Would we have different priorities?
What type of person would we be?
As mortal beings our perspective and our understanding is limited. We don't have the ability and understanding to comprehend things in the same way as a perfected being. However, we are all given opportunities throughout our lives in which we can gain a greater comprehension of God's perspective.
It's interesting to see how often our understanding of who we are increases only after we've experienced some of the hardships and trials of life. Why is that?
We all enjoy life when it doesn't feel like we're on a roller coaster of trials. We relish the moments when we can take in a deep breath and feel calm before we start our next uphill climb. However, sometimes during these calm periods, we may become a little too relaxed and fall into the trap of complacency. When that happens we tend to rely more on our natural human tendencies and desires instead of turning our hearts to the Lord.
Trials have a way, when we allow them to, of refining us. In times of hardship we are given a glimpse of our personal strength, of our capacity to endure, of our increased ability to have compassion on others, and of our willingness to submit our will to the Lord's. It is through trials that we become more pure, more Christ-like, and more like the person that Heavenly Father sees in us.
Consider these words by,Orson F. Whitney, a former member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He said:
"No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God… and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven."
My struggle with depression and anxiety has taken me to depths of despair that at times have been indescribable. It has tested my willpower and strength beyond what I believed I was capable of enduring. However, even through the difficulties that at times have seemed to consume my life, I've been blessed to see the growth that has taken place in me. This experience is definitely one that I did not wish for, but I know that it has not been a wasted experience. It has taught me Christ-like attributes that only could be learned through my experience with hardships. It has taught me more about the person that I am and it has given me a glimpse of the person that God knows I can become. For that, I will be eternally grateful!