Where Do I Belong?

Something Has to Change: Episode 3

Meggan Stephens

12/6/20237 min read

low light stage microphone photography
low light stage microphone photography

Addiction & Mental Illness

I can recall living much of my thirty years in self-denial. I’ve denied mental illness and addiction and the major impact it’s had on my life and my upbringing. Astoundingly, over sixteen percent of the country’s population struggles with addiction, more than 46.3 million people in the United States alone. It’s not all that surprising when the amount of people suffering from mental illness is nineteen percent, about 50 million people. To put it into perspective, that is nearly the entire population of South Korea. Addiction and mental illness go hand in hand. As a result, we’ve become the most heavily medicated country on the planet.

Stuck in a Rut

In today’s world, it’s not uncommon to have seen the effects of mental illness or addiction in either yourself, or someone you know. I’ve personally witnessed mental illness and addiction wreak havoc not only in my life, but the lives of so many people around me. For more than ten years, I was stuck in a rut of substance abuse and manic depression. Stephen describes a rut as being a grave with both ends kicked out. Imagine being buried in pain and isolation, being told there is light at the end of the tunnel, but not comprehending how to see it or walk into it. Misery was my mindset, and it wore the mask of a see-through smile. I think one of the easiest ways to live in self-denial is to constantly tell yourself, “I’m fine,” when secretly, you’re dying on the inside. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that the heart is deceitful and desperately so. Many of us are deceiving ourselves, never really addressing the root of our issues.


Self-denial is laid out on a bed of excuses. We tell ourselves what is convenient rather than what is best. It’s a personal issue, one that can’t be seen through our own eyes. It’s much easier to tell yourself that one day you will wake up and everything will be different rather than to admit to yourself that you have a problem. We make excuses as to why we can’t change, carefully studying the denial and short-comings in others while missing it in ourselves. As we learned in Episode 1, change is difficult, and we tend to give up when we’re challenged. Before we can get unstuck, we must ask ourselves, “Am I living in denial in any shape or form?” Just as one substance is a gateway to another, self-denial is a gateway to doubt, isolation, and procrastination.


Doubt comes in various forms. For me, I’ve doubted that I could be a good wife and mother. I’ve doubted that I could ever get free from addiction, depression, and raging fits of anger. I’ve doubted that I knew God despite hearing His guidance and feeling Him move in my life. Through all of my doubt, I found myself becoming more and more isolated. There was no longer a desire to go to family functions, birthday parties, or even church. I became so comfortable being alone that even around people, I was still lonely. Isn’t that the trick of the enemy, to have you feeling completely abandoned when you’re surrounded by people?

Fear & Isolation

Isolation is accompanied by fear. Fear becomes debilitating. You don’t realize it, but you’re isolating yourself because you fear what people will think if they see the real you. Maybe you’re like me, and you fear change, or failure, or being a disappointment to others. When this type of thinking is our mindset, the power of Jesus becomes stripped from our universe of thought. Isolation, fear and doubt will cause you to live in disbelief that God is for you. The reality is that it’s not God who is against you, but it is you who is against you. “Doubt your doubts” becomes an unforgettable spoken word from the host. If we don’t begin to speak against the doubts that come, they will lead to procrastination and a sense of being “stuck.”


Procrastination is something most everyone has dealt with at one point or another. We procrastinate on small levels like finishing projects or starting a new diet, but even more-so on larger levels like joining a ministry or making a commitment to develop a personal relationship with God. Procrastination causes you to be stuck, hindering you from getting to where you belong. Anything you’re stuck in breeds disease and damage to your health. It brings you more into your pain. Stephen suggests that some people are comfortable being permanently stuck. However, God is calling you to move.

Make a Move

Often times, we’re waiting on God to move, not realizing that it’s our step that moves Him. To put it simply, you’re procrastinating to move because you’ve not yet understood that time does not belong to you. As Stephen spoke, the fool says “I’ll get to it later.” Everyone knows that tomorrow is not promised, but no one actually believes it. It still takes us by surprise when someone we love unexpectedly passes. The reality is that it’s only unexpected to us. Knowing this, we must make a conscious decision to step outside of our spiritual paralysis, and let go of the pain and regret we’ve been carrying through life.


Stephen references a healing that takes place in Luke 5:17-26. A paralytic man is carried on his bed by four men to a house where Jesus is inside teaching. Upon realizing there is no way to get to Jesus through the crowd, the men break through the roof of the house and lower the man on his bed down into the midst of Jesus. Seeing their faith, the man is healed as Jesus tells him to “take up your bed and walk.” This story has ministered to me greatly on multiple levels. Although the man was paralyzed, he had four men who cared for him greatly, who were unwilling to allow him to remain on his sickbed.

Real Friends

The host emphasizes the importance of having real friends like these four men. As mentioned in Episode 2, we’re not meant to live life alone. We need real friends who will tear the roof off for us. We need friends who will boldly speak into our self-denial when we’ve become paralyzed by the heaviness and turmoil of simply existing in this world. Looking at my own life, I’m thankful for those who saw through the mask of my misery, for the ones who didn’t accept my paralysis and brought me to the feet of Jesus. Just as the paralytic was certain of his healing as he took up his bed and walked, I became certain of my healing when I no longer carried the cravings of addiction. Upon meeting the Messiah, the weight of depression, fear, anxiety, and anger we’re left on the bed I walked away from.

Where do I belong?

Episode 3 comes to a closing with Lamentations 3:22-23 which speaks of new mercies given each morning and the faithfulness of God. You must come out of this mindset that God is angry with you and step into the reality that God is willing to receive you, to mend your brokenness and heal you if you make that first step toward Him. We’re not healed from our sick bed to continue walking in sickness, but to step into where we belong. All of my life, I pondered the questions of “Why am I here? Where do I belong? What is my purpose?” Soon after my deliverance, God revealed to me that all of us have the same purpose. That purpose is to find God in a world full of lies, to be set free from the bondage of sin, and to help others get set free. Each of us have been given an opportunity to do Kingdom work. As Stephen explained, the Kingdom is not church alone, but it is bigger than the church. It is the world in which we live in and the impact we have on each other’s lives. Each of us have been given a platform to be used for a purpose bigger than ourselves.

Where do I start?

Stephen concludes this episode with the question, “Where do I start?” The first step is to connect with God. Most would interpret this as prayer. I hear people say all the time “I don’t know how to pray.” We’ve overcomplicated it. Prayer is simply talking with God. Just as you would have a conversation with a friend or a family member, have a conversation with God. Speak to God and expect Him to speak back to you. The second step is to take authority over negative thoughts. Just because the thought comes to you, doesn’t mean that’s who you are. Don’t accept every negative thought that tries to implant itself into your heart and mind. The final step is to “let it go.” Make a conscious decision to let go of pain, anger, regret, and anything else that is weighing you down. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders.

Something Has to Change

The "something" that has to change is always us. Stephen leaves us with the challenge of coming out of our own comfort zones. Let us be daring enough to go against what man has constructed as religious practices. Today, choose to rise up against fear, doubt, and procrastination. Rise up against addiction, depression, and isolation. If you’re reading this today, know that God is not done with you, nor is He done with your enemies. You have a purpose and a place where you belong.

In another episode of Something Has to Change, the host of Contemporary Speaks, Stephen, is challenging the way in which we see and respond to the trials and tribulations we encounter. He speaks heavily on self-denial, how to overcome being stuck, and getting to where you’re supposed to be. God has a way of speaking through His people, and in this episode, He used the host to speak directly to me. It has prompted me to reflect on where I once was, and where God has me now.

Want to dive deeper?

Watch the full episode