I’m going to be honest…I did it again. A couple days of slogging through my life as a writer left me in the familiar comparison mode.
As I spent the last couple days putting words on paper, I found myself crying out to God, “Is this making a difference? Is it worth it? Is there any eternal kingdom value in what I’m doing? Or are you done using me?”
That might have been okay, but I did what I know better than to do…compare. “God, so and so is doing such and such. Look at the impact they are having for the kingdom. Why aren’t you using me like that?” and on and on I went. It was a slippery slope down to feelings of inferiority, doubt, and frustration.
I started talking to myself like I would counsel one of my patients. ” Stay in your own lane…stop looking at others’. God knows the plans He has for you, Michelle, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans for a future and a hope. But His plans for you are different than His plans for anyone else. Don’t look to the left or the right. There is enough kingdom work for everyone. Stay focused on what He has called you to do. Don’t compare your cutting room floor to everyone else’s highlight reels.”
I committed my work to Him and asked Him to bless it. I again asked Him to help me share only His words of hope and encouragement-not mine.
And yet, if I’m being honest, I still longed to know that what I was doing wasn’t for naught. That it would make an impact. That someone would be encouraged and set free because of it. And yet, just like I so often remind others, I am responsible to be obedient to the call, but then I must trust Him for the outcome.
Then today I received the email that brought me to tears. Twelve paragraphs long. It brought me to tears both for her sake, and because it was like a letter from God straight to my heart:
“In the past 2 years I have tried to commit suicide four times…I have been depressed for at least 22 years and probably longer…I asked my pastor if he knew anyone who understood what I had gone through who made it out–He didn’t have anyone who he knew of…I picked up your book, “Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression”…I don’t have to tell you what it is like to finally be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel and it not be an oncoming train. That is what your book has been for me…you have given me the knowledge I needed to start the healing process. You have given me the tools I need to get where I want to be. You have revealed to me the hope I need to get through this…I am eternally thankful to you…You have saved my life, literally and emotionally.”
Glory to God. That makes it all worthwhile. That is the motivation I needed to keep being vulnerable, sharing my story, putting my fingers on the keyboard and pouring out my heart–never knowing if anyone will ever read it. We submit and obey the call, then trust God to handle the outcome.
We don’t always get to see the impact our words or our behavior will have on another, but never underestimate it. He is always ready to use a submitted heart for others’ good and His glory.
Because of Him, #HopePrevails
(If you have a question you’d like Dr. B to answer, contact her here now. Your name and identity will be kept confidential.)
A short brief about Hope Prevails.
Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression
Dr. Michelle Bengtson
Speaking from personal and professional experience, a neuropsychologist unpacks what depression is, shows how it affects us spiritually, and offers hope for living the abundant life.
Neuropsychologist Offers Hope to Those Struggling with Depression
-By 2020, depression will be our greatest epidemic worldwide
- An estimated 350 million people worldwide suffer from some form of depression
- Helpful features include personal stories, biblical truths, prayers, and music recommendations
In Hope Prevails, Dr. Bengtson writes with deep compassion and empathy, blending her extensive training and faith, to offer readers a hope that is grounded in God’s love and grace. She helps readers understand what depression is, how it affects them spiritually, and what, by God’s grace, it cannot do. The result is a treatment plan that addresses the whole person—not just chemical imbalances in the brain.
For those who struggle with depression and those that want to help them, Hope Prevails offers real hope for the future.
Hope Prevails is available now wherever books are sold. To find out more, see: https://drmichellebengtson.com/hope-prevails-book/.
Amen!! I love the lady’s letter of “hope” back to you! He gives us our tests so they can become our testimony, encouraging others in the same way we have been encouraged. So happy He “sent” you a love letter, reminding you that what you do matters!
Yes, Esther, it very much was like a love letter to my soul. It was just the encouragement I needed to continue encouraging others.
I heard you speak of this, but seeing it in writing put a smile on my face again. Your friend ecouraged not just you, but everyone who reads her words.
Isn’t that why we’re here? To point others to Him through the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony. He breathes life back into the dark places, and then we comfort others with the comfort we have been given. #AllForHisGlory
I have thought that myself. I figured I might not even know until heaven. And that is fine, here lately, I get lots of prayer request though.
I think many will not only be surprised but overjoyed when they get to heaven and God reveals the impact they had while on earth! What a day of rejoicing that will be. You can be assured that you are having an impact if others are seeking you out to pray. You are standing in the gap for them–a very important role, indeed!
Thank you Dr. B, I realize you are a busy lady, I sent you a request before on your e- mail and did not get a reply. If you can respond it will be a great help, my mother has custody of a great nephew. He has ADHD/ODD, is on medicine, that doesn’t help. She was considering a place called Brain Balance, his insurance doesn’t cover it and she is concerned about paying for it and how well it may work. I realize, he isn’t your patient, but do you have an opinion? Thank, Becky
I love it when God gives us the encouragement that we need just when we need it!
Me too, Anita. It is just another example of His great love for us!
This is such a hope-filled post. I’m glad I came across it on #tuestalk.
Dear Michelle, your post twice blessed me! I’ve recently been in a frumpy lately about the effectiveness of the work I believe I’m called to do. Guess it’s the adage of “misery loves company ” but it’s soothing to know that others struggle with the same issue. Praise God you didn’t leave it there! Your words of comfort and reassurance were what I really needed to hear, obedience coupled with trust. Thank you for your candor, and blessings on your work!
Alice, I’m so glad to hear that you were encouraged! Stay the course Dear One. He has a plan for you and it is good!
I understand this – the desire to know God is using me in some way and the blessing of knowing every now and then that He is while learning to trust that He is even when I don’t see results. Thanks for sharing the encouragement!
Barbara, I think we all desire this to some degree. We were created to glorify Him. It’s in our DNA. But we also have to trust that He is using us and not rely on the accolades of others to sustain us. Hold onto Him. He is the lifter of your head.
It seems God often uses us to make a difference in the life of just one person–and one should be enough. That’s what I tell myself anyway 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement.
So often ONE person has encouraged ME and that has been enough!! So yes, One is enough. Be encouraged!
Beautiful reminder. Thank you. Praise God for your sweet letter at just the right time. ((hug))
So glad to hear it Brenda. Hugs right back to you.
Loved this reminder, so important!
Always love it when you stop by Nicole! Thanks for the support and encouragement!
“We don’t always get to see the impact our words or our behavior will have on another, but never underestimate it. He is always ready to use a submitted heart for others’ good and His glory.” What encouraging words sister! I know I often underestimate but I know God is using me for his glory!
Oh yes, Sue, He is faithful to continue His work in us until it is completed. Never give up. Keep trusting. He’s not finished yet!
Thank you for this. As someone who regularly shares her struggles and experiences, it can be easy to feel like no one is hearing. But I am doing this for Jesus and His glory, not mine!
I hear you Sarah. He will lift you up in due time, you can be assured!
Oh sweet friend! Never doubt. God is using you in big ways! Love you!!
Thank you for your sweet encouragement Christa! Hugs!!
Your blog post is a word in due season in so many ways. Thank you for being so open and for continuing the good work you are doing.
I appreciate your kind and encouraging words Miriam–like water on a parched morning.
So beautifully written. I have thought this many times during my writing journey whether what I do really making impact on others. Your words are so encouraging. Thanks a lot for sharing with us!
You’re not alone in that Elizabeth. It’s the enemy who causes us to doubt, because he wants us to give up. But God is pleased with you. And that’s all that matters.
Keep up your writing you are making a difference. I am so glad you were blessed with this beautiful note. Thank you for sharing it with us. It is hard when we don’t know if we are reaching people or not. I am so glad you got a reminder you are.
I’m grateful too, but in truth, we have to do what God calls us to do simply out of obedience, whether we feel like we are making a difference or not, and then trust Him for the outcome.
Thanks for linking on Amanda’s Books and More! I shared a couple of your tweets to spread the love. God bless!
Thank you Christina!