Lay Down Your Idols | By Casey Artis

I used to think I knew what depression was. I would see it around me - sadness, loss of appetite, disinterest in daily activities, disconnected looks. I always wondered growing up, why couldn’t people just do things to help themselves move on or heal? Why did they let themselves mourn for so long?

But then, without any warning, I fell into months of darkness and confusion myself. It was in this place that I truly came to know who God is.

About 3 years ago, I met a man whom I thought was the love of my life. I did not look at him twice when we first met, but he quickly made his way into my life. He became my best friend and later, my boyfriend, then fiancé. He was everything I thought I wanted - God fearing, handsome, a musician, smart, ambitious, funny, and outgoing. And, for whatever reason, he loved me.

However, after he proposed, things grew difficult. Our new commitment made our differences glaringly obvious. These differences, coupled with the voiced opinions of others, began chipping away at our peace. On top of that, sin — sexual immorality, unbridled anger, and pride — entered our relationship. With each day, it became increasingly hard to stay afloat.

When we separated, I went through many different stages. I was depressed, angry,

confused, and sad at different times and sometimes, all at once. I cried so much and pulled back from many of the people and activities I loved. Worst of all, I questioned God.

However, once I got past my anger towards God, I was finally able to hear Him. His message was this: I am not to place His gifts above Him. God loves us so much that He will remove our distractions so that we can focus on Him.

I had placed my relationship with my fiancé over the Lord Himself. I had made an idol of our love; as a result, I stepped away from God. In allowing my relationship to fall apart, God had brought me back to Him. As I realized this, I developed a true, deeper love for the Lord. It was not immediate of course, but through the dark days, God was my light and my comfort.

As I sought Him, He revealed Himself to me; He spoke to me through His Word, worship, and the loved ones who lifted me up and encouraged me through it all.

Through those lost months, I prayed Psalms 37:4 (NLT), it reads:

“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.”

At first I prayed for myself thinking that if I prayed and had enough faith, God would give me the “desires of my heart.” Reuniting with my ex was the one desire of my heart, but I soon realized that to heal and trust God, I would have to let go.

Surrendering is the true way to delight ourselves in the Lord which is the most important part of the verse and the part that we so quickly forget.

Since the “loss” of my relationship and my surrender, I have had so much gain. God has provided for me in incredible ways. I have been single for nearly two years now.

It has been difficult, but the Lord has shown me that this is an incredibly important season in my life. I have been learning so much about Him, myself, and those around me, and I know that God is faithfully shaping me for the man that’s been set aside for me.

God is in control. It might not always make sense to us, but we can trust that His plan and His timing is best!

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