When you find yourself plagued with anxious thoughts, will you keep them all to yourself and retreat to a dark, lonely pit? Or will you turn to God and ask Him to silence all your fears? In this article, Franz shares how he accepted Christ in his life and allowed Him to replace his negative thoughts with overflowing joy, peace, and a renewed purpose.
Before I met Christ, I thought I was living a good life. I was an average student, but I managed to land a good career. I had the means to go to different places and live a life of reckless adventure. I should be happy. I should be okay, at the very least.
But I wasn’t.
For years, there had been a big hole in my heart. I tried to fill it with so many things, but each time I did, the hole would just grow bigger—until I could no longer ignore it. It engulfed me and brought me to a dark, lonely place.
Feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy kept creeping up inside me in spite of everything I had. It seemed as if something was terribly wrong with me. I kept comparing myself to others, feeling completely helpless over something even I could not understand. Before I realized it, I was already isolating myself and allowing the lies in my head to steal the remaining joy and peace in my heart.
After four months of constant battle and struggle, I consulted a psychiatrist who told me that I had clinical depression. I took several medicines that were supposed to make me feel better. But along the way, I just felt more sad. I could no longer sleep the way I used to, and more anxious thoughts filled my mind.
Just when I was about to lose hope and give up, my sister reached out to me. She, along with other relatives, encouraged me to step out of my isolation shell and helped me find another doctor who gave me the psychotherapy and medication I truly needed. After months of praying for and with me, she also convinced me to go to church with her and join a Victory group.
At first, I would just listen to the preaching without taking everything to heart. I would even raise my hand to acknowledge that I receive Christ as my Lord and Savior without meaning it at all. But as I continued to hear God’s Word, something different happened. I did not know that God was gently planting seeds in my heart. He was, bit by bit, taking away the clutter, removing the things that were blocking His light. Soon, I realized that I was not alone in that dark, lonely, chaotic pit. He was there all along, trying to reach my hand.
All my anxious thoughts were slowly replaced with His overflowing joy, peace, and love. Despite all my insecurities and self-doubt, God accepted me just the way I was. He had accepted me wholeheartedly even before I made a decision to receive Him in my life. There was nothing more humbling than that.
God’s love allowed me to see how precious I am in His eyes. It must have crushed His heart to see me give my negative thoughts the power to dictate my value and purpose. That was never His plan. His mercy and grace revealed to me that I am more than my fears and anxious thoughts. I am more than my insecurities. I am more than my depression. I am His.
With the help of continuous medication and psychotherapy, I am now close to full recovery. I am thankful to my family who helped me get the medical attention I needed, but I am more grateful that I got to know Christ. Now, I have a renewed passion to live—with a greater purpose—and serve my God.
I am currently serving in Victory Alabang as an usher. God’s grace has changed me from someone who spent days and nights wallowing in unhappy thoughts into someone who is ready to give out smiles to people. Every day, He continues to fill me with so much joy and peace.
There are days when I feel lonely and all the negative thoughts resurface, but God always silences my fears and assures me of His love—of my identity in Him. He also surrounded me with a church community who never fails to encourage me and point me to the Lord. He is my safe place, and my true refuge.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Indeed, only God can fill the emptiness in our hearts. Only He can quiet our restless thoughts. Our purpose does not lie in how we feel or what we think about ourselves. Our purpose lies in how God sees us. We are His, and He values and loves us more than we or other people do.