My husband and I were talking about this a couple of days ago, and I thought it would be worthwhile to share here as well. I’ve made no secret of the fact that most days, I walk around my house with one ear bud plugged in listening to books or sermons (and sometimes music if I’m feeling confident in Christ). I think it is important to be clear about why I do this and why I so heartily recommend others do the same as they are able:
I do not fancy myself some theological housewife; I have an eighth grade education and I pull up dictionary.com more often then I vacuum my livingroom — and I vacuum at least twice a day. I don’t listen because I am bored; I have an overgrown puppy and a two-year old boy and they both are full time jobs. I don’t continue my education because I find information fascinating; sometimes it is, but mostly it hurts my head when I attempt to comprehend it.
For more than half of my life, I have struggled with mental difficulties. First with dark depression and now with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Depression is something through which Christ brought me, but it isn’t something I have forever defeated. To live in the freedom of Gospel truth requires constant reminders of what that truth is. Before I found effective treatment (2012 through Spring of 2014) for PTSD, I was having full-blown, gasping-for-breath-with-tears-running-down-my-face, panic attacks multiple times a day. Triggers were as commonplace as my phone ringing or the mail man knocking at my door, to someone or something touching my skin when I wasn’t prepared for it. I couldn’t sleep, I found no rest and there was no peace in my soul. After much counselling and prayer, we found a medication which effectively slows down the onset of attacks and turns down the volume of their strength. It does not cover up the problem, it is a crutch, for which I thank God every day. I am not perfect and it is a great mercy and a wonderful truth that God does not require me to be. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit and a contrite heart, not having it all together. Currently, most of my panic attacks can be derailed by reminding myself of the truth, leaning into Christ, staying focused on the good work He has called me to and practicing the Bradley breathing I learned as a new mama. I still have them every now and then (one every couple months), but they are not an affliction to my faith in God, instead, they are a wonderful reminder of my need for Him and my freedom to rest in Him always – thanks be to God.
A couple of weeks ago, my eight year old daughter asked me why I always listen on my head phones. Before realizing how ridiculous I sounded, I answered, “Because then there is only one voice talking in my head.” Interestingly enough, she seemed to fully understand what I meant. Children are amazing — nothing sounds odd when they whole world is new and weird.
I wasn’t lying to her, the truth is that I listen to sermons, I pray, I read my Bible because that is the most effective way I have found not to get lost in my head, in my day, or in my heart. This is where I find peace. Truth comes through loud and clear when I saturate myself, to the best of my ability, into it. Life is hard. It is. If anyone says it isn’t, they are lying. Life is hard, but it is also very good. Being a Christian has never meant that life would become easy, that we would be bastions of strength who have all the answers. Being a Christian means believing that we are so weak, we cannot manage to live apart from Christ. I don’t have all the answers, but I know where to find them. As a Christian, I have the freedom to rely on Christ for all my strength, for all my peace and all the answers. This is the glorious truth.
So allow me to encourage you, if you are feeling tired, overwhelmed, confused, unworthy or unloved, you aren’t alone. We have Scripture, we have men and women of God explaining Scripture to us and now with the internet, we have unlimited access to their wisdom. We have a direct hotline to God himself through prayer — dig in! This is your inheritance as a Christian, rest, live, breath in the light of this glory.
I listened to this sermon today among others (the holidays mean I gotta work overtime to stay focused on Christ, anyone else? So much pressure, and extra, good work in celebrating, so much desire to bless and serve others — it is wonderful, but it sure isn’t easy!). A Gospel Tuning is a short, simple sermon, but it is food for the weary soul. Please take the time to listen, pray for God to soften your heart, to hear what this preacher is saying and ask Him to help you believe the truth offered in it. It will change your day.
Believer, you’re chosen, you’re holy, you are loved. These are the realities of our identity in Christ…