Gospel pioneer Kirk Franklin shared some advice he received for the new year while battling depression and anxiety amid a string of deaths among his friends.
“In 2019, I experienced a high amount of loss in my life. I went to more funerals in 2019 than I’ve ever been to in my life. I went to the funerals of friends, the funerals of people’s parents and the funerals of people’s kids and it was a lot,” the performer stated on Instagram Friday.
Franklin was a support to his pastor, Tony Evans, in the recent loss of his wife, Christian artist TobyMac, who buried his 21-year-old son, and others. The magnitude of loss surrounding Franklin took a toll on him and brought on anxiety and depression.
“It just really brought a lot of anxiety. To me, I really struggled with a lot of anxiety and really got into a funk that I couldn’t really get out of. It was this just really dark funk, that I was in, depression, battling it. Not only that, just the anxiety that death can bring to you, also is this anxiety about the future. It’s a fear of who’s next, what’s next?” Franklin confessed.
The gospel music trailblazer decided to jump on a call with his “godly” therapist while in the Dominican Republic, where he currently went to decompress.
“I was just talking to him about being very anxious and very consumed with fear and worry and just the struggle with it all. He said, ‘When I begin to live a life of gratitude, and more gratitude, then I will begin to be more selfless because fear is rooted in self,” Franklin said.
“Think about it, when you start a fearful conversation it’s ‘What about me? What’s going to happen to me? How am I going to pay my bills? How am I going to make it? They’re going to hurt me, I’m going to get sick, I’m going to lose this’… Everything starts with I, it’s very self-focused. So if we can begin to live a life of gratitude, always giving thanks even when things are dark, they could be darker.”
His trip to the Dominican Republic also helped him to realise how fortunate he is. Franklin said he’s witnessed “seven and eight and nine people sleep in one bedroom with no electricity, no windows.” He also talked about the danger of sex trafficking in the country.
“I promise you. It can be worse. So living a life of gratitude, then you will begin to be more selfless, give God thanks for what He has already done,” the Texas native continued.
Franklin shared one final piece of advice his therapist gave him.
“He said to me ‘Kirk, you need to be more grateful.’ I’m saying it to you this way. ‘I am a miracle I am not acknowledging.’ You need to say that to yourself; you need to look at yourself in the mirror and say, ‘I am a miracle I am not acknowledging’ because when we’re so busy worrying and in fear or whatever, we forget that because it could be worse. Seeing another day is a miracle.”
Franklin reflected, “The fact that we’re still alive is another miracle, the fact that we still have the activities of our limbs, the fact that we made it this far, that we were not stillborn, that we’re here. We are a miracle we are not acknowledging. Hope that encourages you, it encouraged me. Have a strong year.”
Franklin received lots of positive response and was also encouraged by them.