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I got in a fight Saturday night. 

It’s an understatement that I lost. 

But I suppose that’s the case when most people try to fight a panic and anxiety attack. Tears and snotty-nosed tissues aren’t great weapons when the enemy protrudes from within.

In between forced exhales and deep breaths, I cried out to the Lord. It had been a long day, and I was exhausted. All I desired was to hear His voice. Feel His presence. Know He was there. But instead, the darkness swallowed me whole. It enveloped me in its folds. And just when I thought I might break, it wrestled with me for the next hour. 

What Does It Mean to “Fight with the Dark”?

If you’re someone who struggles with anxiety or depression, you know that one of the most exhausting fights you will ever fight in your life is with the mind. There is a reason that Jesus tells us in Proverbs 4:23 to guard our hearts and our minds. And to walk in the light, as He’s in the light (1 John 1:7). Yet when it comes to suffering, wading off the thoughts and voices inside, and staying in the light isn’t always that easy or prescriptive. 

I think what many Christians need to know about mental health, is that guarding our minds isn’t as easy as praying and asking Jesus to restore our thoughts. Yes, those are absolutely necessary, but God has also given us resources, tools, and people to help aid our journey. 

I think it also needs to be said that staying in the light, or remaining in the light as Christ is in the light isn’t as easy as it sounds. Every new day teaches us this when the sun sets or the moon rises. Night is a part of the day. But it doesn’t preoccupy the entirety of that day. 

Growing up, I used to hate when it would rain. Those cloudy, stuffy, humid, and dark days at school or work seemed to drag on and on. I would often think to myself, “Why won’t the sun come out already?” But just as I can’t control the weather or the rising of the sun or moon, I am learning that darkness, and specifically wrestling with the darkness, can show me, God, in a different light.