This Is Not of the Lord

This Is Not of the Lord

From Chicken Soup for the Latter-day Saint Soul

This Is Not of the Lord

Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

2 Cor. 2:11

I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when I was twenty-three. I had just started believing in God on my own terms again a few months before that, ending a seven-year spiritual drought during which I didn’t believe in anything—especially myself. I had quit my job and was looking for direction in my life. I moved into the downtown YWCA and met a woman there who was investigating the Church. At that time, I wanted nothing to do with the Church for various reasons. However, about a year later, I could no longer deny my feelings and the truth, and I was baptized.

In the years before I joined the Church, I had struggled with depression but had always managed to overcome it. However, for the first five or so years that I belonged to the Church, the struggles became intense. I would be feeling happy, and things would be going smoothly. Then something would happen and I would start to spiral downward. During the last three of those years, it would be six months up, then six months down. I struggled against the darkness that threatened to overwhelm me so often. But there was always a faint glimmer of light, and that was all that kept me going sometimes.

The last time it happened, I lost my ability to feel any emotion at all. The experience really frightened me, and I prayed to Heavenly Father that I could find the answer to the puzzle. One of the reasons I spiraled downward is that I didn’t understand why the Lord would give me something so heavy to carry when He knew I was incapable of it. I had heard lots of times that the Lord didn’t give you more than you were capable of, but I was beginning to truly doubt that.

I remember that I somehow made it to church meetings, wanting to be there but not knowing how I was going to carry on if I didn’t get some kind of answer. I was sitting in the chapel on Academy Road and was just so overwhelmed by feelings of worthlessness and not living up to what the Lord expected of me that I left the meeting and sat in the foyer. Tears overwhelmed me. I felt so lost and helpless!

Before I realized what had happened, someone sat down beside me and asked me what was wrong. I found myself pouring my heart out, explaining all the struggles I had gone through. I reiterated not understanding why the Lord would ask me to carry this heavy burden. The person then said something that changed my life. It was a simple statement: “This is not of the Lord.”

What? Not of the Lord? How could it be? But, as his statement began to make its way into my mind, it started to make more and more sense to me.

My life literally turned around from that moment and hour and day. I knew what the source was, and that knowledge gave me what I needed to fight it.

I know now that what comes from the Lord gives light and inspiration. It uplifts. Anything that drags us to that place where I was comes from the powers of darkness. I have had a few bouts with that same discouragement over the years, but I no longer feel helpless—and those periods don’t last long, because I know how I can conquer them.

I don’t remember who talked to me that day—possibly it was an angel—but I have always been eternally grateful for the answer to my prayer. I testify that depression can be overcome, and knowing the source really can empower us in that process.

Cheryl Panisiak

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