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Finding the Light in the Darkness of Anxiety

The words “anxiety” and “depression” have weighed on my heart for many years. They moved in without any warning and have slowly unpacked their baggage throughout my early adult life. These words have tried to break me completely. The whispers of disgust and disappointment they’ve expressed to me have brought me to tears, even on my best days. I wish I could say that I’ve been a strong woman every day and have beaten these lies out of my brain. I wish I could say that I never need any help from others. I wish I could say that I can handle life alone, no problem. That’s “adulting,” right? If you asked me a few years ago, I would’ve agreed. Thankfully, the most precious light shined some truth into my darkness.

Before I dive into my story, I’ve decided to spoil the entire thing. It’s OK though because it’s THAT important! Life, college life especially, can be incredibly confusing. Take it from someone who knows, I’m a mess and I always will be! There’s good news though for everyone! Jesus loves you no matter what. Plain and simple!

When I entered college, I felt as if the weight of the world had been placed on my shoulders, suffocating me from time to time. Even though I grew up in a Christian household and knew the Lord, I always thought there was something wrong with me. That I wasn’t living up to the “expectations” God had for me. I thought about the people suffering all over the world. My struggles don’t even begin to compare to theirs, right? I didn’t want anyone to know that I, Sarah Gray, a normal human, was struggling! Because I had this mindset, I was pushing my problems deeper and deeper away when I should have been running to our Heavenly Father who is ALWAYS waiting with open arms! When I finally realized I didn’t have to feel alone anymore, I reached out to City Church (aka the best people ever) and found the most supportive group of girls to lean on. Thursday night bible study soon became my favorite and most needed night of the week. A night to dive into scripture with other girls who always lifted me up and helped refuel me for the days ahead.  Small Group Photo Sarah Gray

My family has always been a constant blessing as they’ve been there through all of my ups and downs. My parents constantly push me to strive toward my full potential and always remind me that my best IS good enough. My two older brothers and sister-in-law have also supported me and reminded me that they’re just a FaceTime away while also sending me supportive messages throughout my week. Lastly, my boyfriend has loved me constantly, even on my worst days. His positivity every day is something I am so thankful for. Surrounding myself with an encouraging community has been such a game changer in battling anxiety and depression. You need strong people on your team to hold you up when you’re feeling down. Life is tough, but the last thing God wanted was for us to be alone. Even Adam needed some support and, boom, God gave him Eve. Have I struggled with depression? Yup. Have I had countless anxiety attacks? You betcha! Is there anything wrong with me? No, because the Bible says so!

family photo Sarah Gray Psalm 31 clearly talks about the feelings of depression. “Be merciful to me, oh Lord, for I am in distress; My eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; My strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak” (Psalm 31:9-10). Even David, the author of this Psalm, had these sad feelings! One of the most comforting things about the Bible is that it says, “do not be afraid” 365 times. A reminder for every day of the year not to fear the plan God has for you. The Bible is where I turn to most, but I’ve also discovered some amazing authors and song artists this year. Shout out to my favorite artist, Lauren Daigle, and favorite author, Lysa TerKeurst. I would recommend her book Uninvited to every woman in the world if I could!

coffee cookie book Sarah Gray Yes, anxiety and depression exist. Yes, battling these hardships can seem impossible. But please remember that you are never alone and that there are people who want to help you. Overcoming these battles won’t happen overnight, but I promise that there is a light among the darkness that is anxiety. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

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