Depression is a very serious thing. Pride leads us to believe we can answer someone else’s depression. We can make them happy. Pride tells us that we will never be depressed. We are above it and exempt. Pride also teaches us that we can simplify something that is very specific. Here are 5 things depression sometimes is, but is not always.
- Depression isn’t only spiritual. Depression has several sides. There is a spiritual side, a life stress side, a chemical side to name the main ones. If you come to a chaplain or a pastor like me we are tempted to make it all spiritual. So, pray this prayer, address this sin, etc. This may be the entire cause. If you are living a secret life or are under conviction about something, and God is dealing with you we can find much Biblical support for this possibly being an entire cause of depression for someone. If you or your family serve God and are living for Him in our lost and broken world, you have an enemy. We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against a different kind of authority (Ephesians 6). We must pray for God to help us and protect us from such things, but that is probably not the entire fight. But, it is part of it and a major part of it.
- Depression isn’t only chemical or physical. A physician is often tempted to pill push. Take Pills or do this thing. The same is true about an herbalist or a personal trainer. Now with that said, the right drugs or the right diet and exercise may eliminate depression or anxiety completely. But, it is probably not the entire story. But it might be what you need.
- Depression isn’t only life stress. Sometimes life is hitting you hard. I have had people tell me they are hurting and depressed and they feel like they are not strong enough. They will say, “I don’t get why I hurt. I have a good life.” But, when you start to break down all of the stress and loss they have dealt with lately, you can remind them that most people would hurt. Depression is God’s way of slowing us down sometimes and processing the hurt in our lives. The obvious temptation here is to make someone’s depression or anxiety only about their current situation. Someone may grieve loss or get through a difficult season but still need medication, exercise or a better diet. They may also need to address sin or a spiritual attack on their life as well.
- Depression isn’t only relational. Sometimes people hurt because they are lonely and they need someone to help them through life. It could be a chaplain, counselor or pastor, but more than that friends who can listen and be a support. But, don’t be tempted to believe that will answer everything.
- Depression isn’t just in your head. Often times depression and anxiety has been minimized to telling someone it is all just in your head. You might need to point out to someone that they are not perceiving reality right, or that they think something was a big deal to someone else, and it really wasn’t. Someone may need to learn life skills about self forgiveness or putting something aside, but typically this by itself isn’t helpful.
So, what is the answer? If you are going through depression or anxiety or you want to help someone who is, Jesus is the answer. Jesus is always the answer. That doesn’t mean you minimize any of these 5 sources, but you must start with the Word of God and prayer. Jesus will also use what you are going through to help someone else.
Personally, I never knew how to talk to someone with depression until I experienced it myself. Through my own experience with depression and anxiety I am able to help other people. If you are going through it, someone around you is to and someone you know well has gone through it. Part of spiritual warfare is we are made to believe no one we know understands. Someone does, not everyone but someone does.
Find someone you can talk to. Don’t isolate yourself. If you have trouble praying have people pray for you. If you have trouble reading scripture get around people studying the Bible. Also, seek medical help. Seek counselors and friends. Change your diet and exercise.
Sometimes God calls you to fight for your faith. Get close to someone who can help you fight to see God clearly. Address the attack from all sides. Address the fact that the enemy could be attacking and ask for Jesus to help you. Address the sin in your life. Ask for forgiveness. Reconcile with people. Repent and let God change you. Address the physical and emotional aspects. Grieve through the hard times of life and ask God to lift you up. It is time to fight. It seems dark right now and you can’t see but their is life at the end of the tunnel.
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