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Being Accepted By God

Philippians 1:6 (KJV) Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

Having a diagnosis of depression and anxiety is not fun at times. Especially how I learned of my diagnosis. I was adding my medical records from the Department of Veteran Affairs to the health app on my smartphone and was curious as to what was in the records. While searching, I learned that three years prior, I received the diagnosis. I was never informed of the diagnosis at the time. So naturally, I had many questions, while simultaneously, I had many answers as well. It would explain the mood swings I have had throughout my life, mainly as an adolescent.

There have been many dark days. Days wherein I would shut down and it would feel like the world was closing in on me and I would not be able to cope with it. However, there was also another diagnosis I received which compounded everything called Adjustment Disorder. I believe this diagnosis finds its origin stemming from my youth as well. I did not feel comfortable living with my mother for extended periods before wanting to move to live with my father. After a while, I grew restless being there as well and would return to my mother’s home. This would continue throughout my childhood and adolescence.

One of the most difficult periods was when my mother decided to move us to the area where she was raised. This move took such a great toll on me and I believe it was the moment the depression and anxiety began. I was just beginning my eighth-grade year in school and was uprooted from what I had known and had become comfortable with most of my life. When we moved, I no longer had any friends, and most importantly, no connection to this new place other than this was where my parents’ family existed.

Being the youngest child, I felt alone because my two oldest siblings had moved out and it was my mother, my brother and I left behind. My brother and I did not get along well growing up and my mother was never emotionally affectionate. There were no young people within the neighborhood that was my age. So, I was alone and having to deal with this transition…alone.

The area is located in the Southeastern part of Georgia. This place was notorious for its social and racial tension. Whites stayed to themselves and Blacks did likewise. I was never accepted by either group. So I spent my adolescence alone apart from obtaining a job in the tenth grade just to not have to be in the house…alone. I hated this place with every fiber of my being and was angry with my mother for moving us there. Upon finishing high school and preparing to leave for Basic Training, the last words I uttered to my mother was, “I love you, but I will never come back to live in this place again.

For the sake of time, I will say that my military experience compounded the emotional and psychological rollercoaster ride that I had been experiencing in life previously. However, it was also in the military that I became aware of the world around me from a global perspective. I encountered different ethnic and cultural groups of which I had never interacted before. I loved and embraced every minute of it. Why? Because contrary to what I had heard while growing up, there were genuine people outside of my ethnic group with whom I established some great friendships and wonderful memories.

Now looking in retrospect, I see how God was using those experiences to form the person I have become today. While I still deal with bouts of depression, anxiety, and adjustment, my life experiences have led me to depend heavily on my relationship with God. Accepting Jesus into my life has brought about such peace and has set a foundation that allows me to go through life’s struggles but also get back up and dust myself off to continue moving forward on my journey. Throughout it all, God was there even in the moments before I could recognize and acknowledge His presence. How do I know this? I believe the prophet Jeremiah sums it up best:

Jeremiah 1:4-5 (KJV) Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, 5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee, and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

How powerful is that! God knew me and called me before I was even conceived. He ordained me for service within His Kingdom before I was even born. He became my Father before my parents ever came together. God knew that I would have failed relationships. He knew that I would have addictive struggles. He knew that I would deal with psychological and traumatic stressors. Yet, He still chose me anyway because He loved me.

With all of this in mind, regardless of what I feel about myself at any given time, instead of longing to be accepted by others, I know that my Heavenly Father has accepted me. How do I know this? Paul says this:

Ephesians 1:3-6 (KJV) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

So, in understanding this, I can stand boldly upon Paul’s words when he says:

Philippians 1:6 (KJV) Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

This is not only extended to me, but it is relevant and is extended to everyone else who professes Jesus as their Lord and Savior. This is the message that we, as Believers, have to convey to those who are lost. They need to know that, regardless of their background and upbringing, God has a plan for their lives that is far greater than anything they could ever have imagined. We have to be honest in our communication and let them know that life as a Believer is not without struggles and difficulties. But the one assurance that we have is that God will always finish what He has started within each of His children. He never leaves anything He has authored left undone. Therein lies the victory we have in Jesus Christ.

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