My Reluctant Dependency and Growing Empathy

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In 2015, I began student teaching, believing God was calling me to teach middle school students. (He was; I still teach middle schoolers today!) Quickly, though, I realized something was off.

I often woke up sick to my stomach or spent the day in agonizing pain. I couldn’t sleep or eat in ways that supported daily functioning. Teaching was causing me to wrestle with mental health issues I had kept buried until that point.

A doctor put me on medication that treats both anxiety and depression. I didn’t think I needed long-term help, just enough to get through this phase. At times, I  neglected my medication, thinking I was strong enough without it. Each time, however, God reminds me that I do need it and, ultimately, him.

I have an aversion to being dependent—on medication, on people, even on God. God has been working on this foothold of sin in my life through my anxiety and depression and my need for medication and wise counsel.

God used my brain chemistry to draw me into a fuller reliance upon him. I may recoil at the idea of dependence, but it is God’s way. Today I am thankful that God has provided stability in my life through my anxiety and depression medication. The need for medication has helped me have more consistency in my daily life; even more, it has enabled me to have more grace and empathy for others in God’s family.

Jess Crist attends Rejoice! Community Church (RCA), LeMars, IA.

This article is from Breaking Barriers, Winter 2020

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I wish that I could have the same result that you talk about in this article. I am thankful for the medication and psychiatrist that stabilize me. But, I have had the opposite experience that you are thankful for. I struggle with the inability to have more grace and empathy for others in God's family. I am actually experiencing less as I age. And, that bothers me deeply.  Harold Struyk. 

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Hi Jess, Thanks for sharing how God is teaching you reliance on Him...we all need that! I noticed you're from LeMars and I just wanted to let you know about a NAMI support group that meets monthly in Sioux Center the first Tuesday at 7 at Central Reformed Church. We learn about mental illnesses and discuss our own/family member's experiences.