Around this time two years ago I was asked if I would consider being on the Christian Union (CU) committee. ‘Me?!’ I thought, ‘why are they asking me?!’ I was a fresher, I had no clue how a CU worked, let alone how to lead one.
Oh, and did I mention that they’d asked me to be secretary and I hated making phone calls? Anyone who has been asked to be in a position of leadership, CU or otherwise, will have probably experienced feelings somewhat similar to those I’ve just described.
But let me add something else into the mix. I have depression, something which I was led to believe did not mix with leadership in any way, shape or form. As I thought and prayed about it over Christmas, I felt God saying: ‘Go for it, the depression doesn’t matter.’ So I trusted in God and said “yes”.
Fast forward to now and I’m coming to the end of two years as secretary for Bangor CU. It’s been a journey. It’s been a rollercoaster. There have been times where my depression has been so bad that I haven’t been able to get out of bed. Stress is a major trigger to my depression, so what with being a third year student who has a dissertation to write and some kind of future plan to form, life has been a bit of a struggle for me recently. You might be asking why I carried on with committee. It’s a question I’ve asked myself many times. But it’s been such a blessing.
Let me tell you a little bit about Bangor CU. For the last two and a half years, Bangor CU has done nothing but grow. From starting weekly prayer meetings to increasing the amount of evangelism we do, we have been moving forward in ways we were only dreaming about two years ago. God has, and continues, to bless us in so many ways. Being on committee means you also see the not so great times, the times when there are fallings out, the times when the CU has no money, the times when the speaker doesn’t turn up or the room you need isn’t available. But the CU has survived.
If I’m completely honest, the CU is one of the reasons why I haven’t lost my faith as the years have gone by. Being on committee has given me opportunities to grow with God in a way I never knew possible. I’ve learnt so much about myself and about my relationship with God. I’ve seen God work in the lives of others when I haven’t been able to see him working in my life.
But the biggest lesson I’ve learnt is that depression doesn’t have to get in the way of all of this. We live in a world where there’s a negative stigma surrounding mental illness, where people with mental illnesses are looked down upon. As Christians, we should be fighting to change this. Being a CU leader has shown me that having depression isn’t the be all and end all. God can, and will, use us – struggles and weaknesses aside. He uses our weaknesses to show us how amazing and supportive He is, to show how much is possible when we just trust Him. He doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.