I'm a huge supporter of TWLOHA because it brings darkness to light. Anyone can struggle with depression, self-injury, addiction or thoughts of suicide, even your standard type-A, over-achiever, valedictorian, youth group leader. Anyone. It's not just the emo kid who wears skinny jeans, eyeliner, and has hair over his eyes. Anyone. And the biggest problem is that we struggle in secret. We try and battle the darkness on our own. There's this stigma attached to talking about this stuff. And the secrets are Satan's greatest weapon in keeping us bound up.
Here are some lyrics that I clung to during high school:
"I talked to absolutely no one. Couldn't keep to myself enough, and the things bottled inside had finally begun to create so much pressure that I'd soon blow up and I heard the reverberating footsteps syncing up the beating of my heart and I was positive that unless I got myself together I would watch me fall apart. And I can't let that happen again, 'cause then you'd see my heart in the saddest state it's ever been, and this is no place to try and live my life....."
How often we live like that! When we begin to struggle with emotions and feelings we can't explain or understand, our first reaction to to withdraw. We don't want people to know, for fear that they won't understand or that they'll judge or label us. We hide in the darkness, forgetting that it's the darkness we're fighting against! We try and get ourselves together before we attempt to live in community. We don't want people to see us broken. And sadly, we consider so many places, particularly church, no place to actually live our lives. We don't think we can be real. We think our problems aren't important enough. Or we think they're too big.
But here's the next line of that song: "Stop right there, that's exactly where I lost it. See that line? I never should have crossed it. Stop right there, I never should have said that. It's the very moment that I wish that I could take back!" And it's true. In the battle against the forces of darkness (and I believe that's exactly what depression and self-injury is), the biggest mistake we can make is running away from community. When we're in the heat of battle, when we're more broken than we've ever been, when we're struggling hardest and feel weakest, those are the times we most need other people. We CANNOT fight alone. I'll say it again, one of Satan's major strategies to keep us in bondage is convincing us to keep secrets. Community, transparency, honesty... they are so important in every part of life. I wish I would have believed that four years ago.
So my hope is two-fold. First, I hope those people who are fighting will come to a point where they are willing to seek out someone they can trust and stop hiding. I hope they will run to community and not from it. Second, I hope that those of us who have been rescued or have never struggled with this at all will learn to love and accept those who are in a battle. I hope that we will do our part to make them feel safe, that we will be people who can be trusted, that we'll stand in the gap for them and love and support them through anything and everything.
I'll close with some words from Lamentations 3:
"I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail... For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love."
Love is the movement,