Author: Lynn Kuhns (Page 1 of 2)

Darkest Moments

by Lynn Kuhns

2012/07/16 Canon EOS KISS X5 & Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC HSM

Photo by Kazuhiro Keino on Flickr

It feels like there is a fog and everything is shrouded by a veil.  It’s like I can’t see clearly and miss the vividness in the colors. I can’t truly enjoy what’s happening around me. I can’t feel anything but heaviness and oppression. I can’t easily shake the feeling. It feels as though I am drowning and can’t catch my breath. Every time that I think I am moving forward, it feels like I get beaten back ten more steps.  At times it makes me feel numb and like it’s never going to get better. It feels like I will never be happy or feel joy again.

Sometimes it makes me want to cry uncontrollably or scream and kick. It makes me want to run away and forget everything that I have worked to overcome.  Sometimes it’s a feeling of emptiness and hollowness. Sometimes it is a feeling of weight and heaviness creeping into every inch of my soul. It’s such a darkness that I feel like I will never get out of it. It’s as though I will never be able to escape this loneliness and brokenness. It’s an incredible sense of helplessness and hopelessness.

This is what depression looks and feels like. If it’s not something that you have experienced before, it may not make sense. It may not seem real. But I assure you, it is real to the person that is experiencing it. And it’s not as easy as saying “snap out of it.” It can be a daily battle. It can be an hourly struggle. It can take away hours, days, weeks, months, and even years of a person’s life.  It can control your whole life if you let it.

Quite honestly, at the moment, I’m not sure why I am sharing this. I realize this is getting pretty vulnerable, but I felt led to share it. And part of what I am working on is getting past the idea of feeling that there is someone else who can more effectively say what I need to say.

As someone who has and does deal with depression and anxiety, I want people to be more aware of it and open to talking about it. Yes, it can be (and has been) crippling for me. It isn’t something that I even readily talk about, but it’s a very real part of my life. It’s something that I have realized that I have been dealing with since middle school.

Christians are not immune to depression and anxiety.  More Christians probably deal with it than they want to admit. Honestly, it’s not something to be ashamed of or swept under the rug. I think it’s something that we must talk about more. It’s something that deserves more attention. And it’s not something that has a single fix or silver bullet to resolve it. Each person must deal with in their own way.

It’s not something that I have been able to stave off on my own. I have had to learn to recognize the signs and triggers. It is something that requires knowing what I need to counter the negative thoughts. I have to  constantly give it over to the Lord and remember that He is in control. And it doesn’t mean that my relationship with Jesus is broken because I struggle with it. We have to rid ourselves of that preconceived notion that just because you are a Christian, depression and anxiety aren’t a thing. They can be.

It’s not something to ignore or pretend like it’s not a real thing. Many people suffer from anxiety and depression for many different reasons. For anyone else who deals with these things, you’re not alone.  There are others suffering through it, some probably silently. Please don’t let it break your spirit. Take each thing one step at a time, and keep seeking after the Lord to help carry the burdens.  It’s an essential part of the process.

He Shows Up in the Little Things

by Lynn Kuhns

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I personally get so fascinated by the other people’s stories of the big and small blessings in their lives that I often forget to think about how the Lord has really showed up in my life. I forget to share what He has done for me as testimony and encouragement for someone else.  I easily get caught up in a woe-is-me kind of situation.

For instance, I was having a conversation with someone about how they wanted a certain kind of shirt at a certain price and in a certain way. It may seem simple, but they firmly believed that they were going to find that. Oddly enough, they found exactly what they were looking for. They believed, in that moment that they were looking for the shirt, that they were going to find it, and that the Lord was going to provide it for them. Sometimes, it’s okay to ask for the little blessings. Trust him in the little things. It’s too easy to focus too much on the big things and forget that He appears in the little things, too.

The next day, I said I wanted good coffee. I didn’t want the same, tired coffee that I had at the office. I wanted something better. I wanted a treat. As it turned out, I had a free drink on my Starbucks card. I was able to use that to get a venti drink with the extra shot of espresso, so not only did I get something other than the coffee at the office but I got it for free. He wants us to trust him with the little things.  And if He is going to show us that He can provide us with the shirt that we want or the coffee that we crave, how much more can and will He keep doing if we keep going to Him in prayer?

Why do we so quickly forget what he has done for us and that he is always looking out for us? Why do we so quickly forget that he loves us? He is the God of everything and can do anything. We have not because we ask not. Let the Lord take care of you, even in the things that may not seem so important. Let Him love you and take care of you. Let Him show you how much you mean to Him.

Photo by Todd Huffman on Flickr

Don’t Deny Them Their Blessings

by Lynn Kuhns

Photo by dreamsailors on Flickr

The person offered to pay for my lunch. We both fought for our wallet and were eager to take care of the bill. We both wanted to share a blessing to the other person. Neither one of us would back down. It probably made things awkward for a moment with the cashier, as she had an uncomfortable look on her face. She eventually took one card, as I skulked at the fact that it wasn’t mine. I was sure to say that the next time I would get the bill. Relieved that I didn’t have to pay, sad, and at the same time feeling overwhelmingly blessed, and – for a split second – angry. It was a wave of emotions in the span of approximately 30 seconds.

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Contemplating Compassion

All we see all over the news anymore are hurting people who are in need of compassion. There is so much hurting and aching going on. Whether it’s on a grand or small scale, there is no shortage of people who need to experience love and compassion.  From the international terrorist attacks to the domestic concerns over justice and racial inequality, we are dealing with things we naively thought would have ended by now. However far we have come, we still have much further to go.

I recently did a devotion at work on compassion.  We’ve been exploring it the past couple weeks and we talked about having compassion on others and the ultimate compassion Christ has for us. As it says in Matthew 22:39, Christians are called to love our neighbors as ourselves. We regularly talk about loving others and having compassion on others, but I got to thinking: How does that translate if I don’t accept Christ’s compassion for me, or if I don’t really love and have compassion on myself?

We can act like we really have compassion and go through the motions while not really having compassion on others. Are we truly treating them as we yearn to be treated? Are we just paying them lip service, or do we sincerely see them for who they are in Christ? Do we see them as Christ sees them? In order for us to truly show compassion and love to one another, we have to truly accept that same compassion from Him. We are only giving a portion of the love and compassion that we can if we have not fully accepted it ourselves.

It’s not a selfish thing to examine how you think about and see yourself. It’s a necessary thing. You have to come to terms with God and you must believe that He has created you in His image. You are worthy, loved, and bear His image. This is true of everyone, no matter how different they may be from you. They are just as worthy of love and compassion as you are. Sometimes it’s easier for us to show compassion to others over ourselves, as it feels selfish to be so introspective. In order for us to truly show compassion and see others as Christ sees them, we have to come to terms with that in ourselves.

I am a perfectionist and beat myself up over everything. I get frustrated if things don’t go how I want them to go. I get down and discouraged with myself when bad things happen to me. I have given up on things more often than I would like to admit. I have failed to ask for help or accepted help when I needed it; partly out of pride, but also because I hadn’t fully accepted the love and compassion of Jesus has offered me. It’s a tough thing for me to accept and something that I am learning to grow through.

There are some very practical and obvious ways to show compassion to others, and I am not negating those by any means.  They are important. Jesus was compassionate to everyone he met. We should be compassionate too. But we need to accept Christ’s compassion and reflect that onto ourselves. We need to see who we are in Christ. We need to love ourselves in order to truly love our neighbors and see them as Christ sees them. This way we can see everyone for the image bearers that they truly are. If we can’t love ourselves and forgive ourselves, how are we really able to do the same for others?

Help!

Help.

Why is it often the hardest thing to ask for and do for others?  We don’t want to go out of our way, or we don’t want to ask someone to go out of their way in order to help. It’s a sad thing that we walk by so many people each day who need our help. We walk by so many each day who could help us. We don’t open our mouths or lift our hands. We remain stagnate. How dare we not be a blessing to others, and how dare we not let others bless us?

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Solo Travel

My last post was about facing fears. I keep trying to face my fears and trying to overcome some of the anxiety that I feel.  One fear that I keep having to face is going places and doing things on my own. This was something that I could not have ever fathomed doing just a few months ago. I always thought I needed to have someone with me, even if it was just a friend. Traveling home by myself or visiting a city or event by myself never really freaked me out, but spending a weekend or day somewhere alone was tough.

Sometimes finding a friend to travel with me was easy. However, I’ve realized not everyone wants to go to the same places that I do nor do they have the time to do so.

Recently, I have started to travel and spend the weekends by myself. Don’t get me wrong, I would rather spend time going places and having adventures with other people. I am always up for experiencing things with my friends and family. But I am not going to miss out on an adventure anymore for fear of being by myself. There is too much to see and do in this world. There is so much more outside this town I live in.

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Facing Fear

Since I posted my last piece about living life to the fullest, I have been thinking about the topic of fear. It’s been on my mind quite frequently, for various reasons. I realize that it is what’s kept me from posting things on this blog and on my personal blog. It’s what’s kept me from opening my mouth and speaking up many times, when I know that the Lord was telling me to. It’s what keeps me from letting people in and keeps me from being vulnerable. It keeps me from going where I need to go and doing what I need to do. It cripples me. I’ve let it win more times than I would like to admit.

I wish that I could say that I have been brave and courageous every single time. I wish I could say that I have faced every fear of mine, but that is not the case. I have allowed it to consume me, and I have used it as an excuse to not do things.

Why do we let fear win? Why do we let it keep us from doing what we want and what we know we are called to do? I’m tired of giving in. It’s exhausting to keep giving into my fear and letting it keep me stuck and complacent. I feel as though it is keeping me from truly living life. This is part of what inspired me to write my last piece.

It also was the topic of a devotional that I led at work. This is one of the bonuses about working in a Christian environment: We get to have a daily devotional before starting the work day. Still, I was terrified out of my mind leading up to doing the devotional, which is why I knew I needed to talk about the topic. I couldn’t shake it. The Lord blessed me for obeying him and sharing about that. I’m pretty sure I came away from leading that devotional even more encouraged than my coworkers. Plus, I was praying so hard that day to get through each devotional. I was talking to God so much that day. I knew that I didn’t do it on my own strength.

I am terrified of speaking in front of large groups of people. I would much rather do something like this, where I can hide behind a screen and write. At first, this terrified me, too. I was scared of what people would think about what I was writing. I was scared I wasn’t going to be adequate enough or that people wouldn’t appreciate what I was writing. I was focused on me. I have been letting my pride get in the way.

Every so often I get the motivation to face a fear head on, and I get a bit of gumption. It’s exhilarating. I feel like I am experiencing life. I feel like I am able to do anything and then something brings the fear and insecurities back to the forefront of my mind. Sometimes it’s quicker to shake away than other times.

Recently, I have been able to kick it a bit quicker. But I realize it’s not me kicking it. Jesus is kicking it for me. I’m getting Lynn out of the way and letting Christ do His thing. Hence, me doing the devotions at work last week, me starting my blog, me applying for the mentorship I am part of, me stepping out of my comfort zone, and a great deal of other things.

There is no limit with Him on my side. He can do anything he wants. If He wants me somewhere, no matter what others may do to stop it, He’s going to make a way. It may not be easy, and it may not happen how I think it is going to, but he’ll make a way. But I had to get over me. I have to continually get over myself and step aside. I have realized that I can no longer let fear dictate my life.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

2 Timothy 1:7

My fears have kept me in this town, my fears have kept me in bad relationships, my fears have kept me from traveling, my fears have kept me from writing, my fears have kept me from speaking, my fears have kept me from meeting new people, my fears have kept me in my apartment, my fears have kept me closed off, my fears have kept me from loving, my fears have kept me from living…My fears have kept me from so much.

My fears have caused me to disobey God and in turn have kept me from growing in Him. They have kept me from experiencing His fullness and the blessings that He has for me. Thankfully, He is gracious, and in spite of my fears and shortcomings, He has still worked things out. However, I can’t help but think that Hewants to give me so much more.

My fears will continue to creep up, but now is the time to face them. I am sure that the fears will creep in for you, too. As for me, I’m going to try and face them one at a time head on. I will work to not let my pride or my insecurities get in the way. I will not let others talk me out of what I need to do and where I need to go. I can no longer worry about pleasing everyone that I meet, but instead, I will focus on pleasing the Lord. I will work to keep my eyes focused on Jesus and trust in His strength and guidance. And when I fail, because I am human and I will fail, I will not let it keep me from getting back up and moving forward.

It’s a blessing to start to face your fears. As I said, it was such an encouragement from everyone in my office after I shared my devotional. Large groups terrify me. One-on-one and small-group conversation are my preferences, but I did what the Lord asked me to do, and He blessed me for it. He blessed me in unexpected ways through unexpected people, and it was so encouraging. I can’t wait to see what the Lord is going to do next.

 

Living life to the fullest

I recently had a conversation with a woman at work regarding why we watch so much TV. She said she believes that it is because we are longing for adventure and I happen to agree with her. I have noticed it myself in my times of watching TV. I end up glued to the TV and wishing that I was part of whatever action and adventure is happening. I don’t feel that I need or want to watch TV when I’m out doing things and experiencing life (outside of work). But, why? Because I’m busy living and creating my own adventure.

We were made to live life and experience it as best as we can. When we get caught in the monotony of life, we miss out on so much. There is importance in going to work and doing our jobs but at the same time, there is supposed to be adventure. And sometimes your job is part of that adventure.

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Simplicity in Silence

For many of us, there is a fear that surrounds the idea of silence. It’s evidenced in the fact that you probably turn on your TV when you walk in the door, or turn on music. Even when we’re in the gym or office, there is rarely a time when there isn’t music playing over a speaker or in our headphones. And in the car we are either on our phones or again listening to music. We don’t like the sound of silence. You may even sleep with a fan on as white noise.

For most of us, it makes us uncomfortable to be in silence, especially when we are with other people. It probably takes a special person for you to be with them and for there be complete silence. Sometimes it may even just be the ticking of the clock or the traffic outside. There is always some kind of sound to prevent us from experiencing total silence.

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Put a Praise on It!

You have to praise Him no matter what the circumstances.

I know that this is much easier said than done, but it’s the truth. No matter what, you have to thank Him and praise Him. It’s imperative to thank Him for what He has given you. There is such a blessing that comes back when you praise Him. We need to praise Him not only for what He has done for us, which is more than we could ever think or imagine, but we need to wholly praise Him just for the simple fact of who He is.

Praise can come in all forms and shapes. That is something that I have very much learned over the last year, specifically. As I continue to take the Lord out of the box that I had placed Him in, I have also learned to take worship and praise out of the box that I put them in.

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