A Calvin Theological Seminary Publication by Students & Alumni
The Struggle Is Real

The Struggle Is Real

Trigger Warning: Depression. Anxiety.

Breakfast is absolutely my favorite meal of the day: not only do I adore breakfast food, but I will not function very well during the day if I have not had anything to eat in the morning. My breakfast routine is simple: choose what I am going to have, get my cup of coffee (that is a must – coffee is my jam), and take my morning meds. I have been taking the same meds for depression and anxiety for about the past five years or so, but I have had these mental illnesses for about seven. For clarification purposes, I am in a much more stable place than I was several years ago. The challenges I have are manageable; in other words, I can cope with them well and live my life without too much hindrance. (I like to think that I have learned a few things over the years.) However, there are days when I wish with all my might that I did not have to take my medications anymore, that I did not have to struggle with the things that I do. I wish that my thoughts would stop whirring around in my mind, that they could just slow down for one second. I wish that my anxiety would stop being triggered by anything and everything. I wish that I could stop the numbness that comes over me sometimes. I wish that depression would stop weighing me down to the point of wondering how I am going to get through the day without breaking somehow.  

There have been prayers of mine that have sounded something like this: God, haven’t I been dealing with this stuff for long enough? Why am I still struggling? I am doing the best I can to recover, but my mental illnesses still make themselves known, again and again. What the flip do I do? It would be super nice to have an answer to the last question: “here, just do this thing, and you will recover.” However, it is not that simple, as much as I might desire it to be. Some of our questions go unanswered, and that can be incredibly hard. I like being able to understand things, and to not understand what God is doing in my life is a challenge in and of itself. In the times when I get frustrated about my lack of understanding, I remember that I walk by faith, and not by sight. I might not be able to see when full recovery will be a reality, but I can have faith in God and His plan for my life. Now, this does not mean that I just sit back and do nothing; rather, it means I continue persevering in my recovery, trusting God in every moment. 

Now, I am not going to say that I am an absolute pro at trusting God; I can tell you right now that I’m not. I don’t have a “five steps to trusting God” handbook. Trusting God is not always easy, especially in the times when we have no idea what He is doing. What do we do then? I cannot tell you for sure, but I do know that we have a trustworthy God. He is a solid Rock on which we can stand, He covers us with His feathers, and shelters us under His wings (Psalm 91). Our God is good. Sometimes that’s all I need to remember: God is good. Even when I don’t understand, God is good. Even when I don’t know how I’ll get through the day, God is good. Even when the struggle is all too real, our God is good.  

Annika Kolean, an MTS student, a classic rock enthusiast, and an Enneagram 5.