Blessed With Depression (Topical Tuesday – Depression)

Well, that title should get some people to click.  No, it wasn’t just a clever title, designed to irritate faithful charismatic or prosperity minded believers.  It wasn’t just a title that will attract some of those who oppose the faith to join in on heated discussions between believers about if God does, can or will actually bless someone with depression.

photo credit tmsaugusta.com

Let’s go back.  When I first started into ministry as an adult professional, first as a college ministry director and then in a church staff role, I was given several opportunities to help people with depression and/or anxiety.  The problem was, I didn’t understand it or have clear thinking on the matter.   

When it came to depression or anxiety I felt that I was too strong for such a thing to happen to me.  I was an ex-college wrestler who was now a believer in Christ and living my life under greater power and discipline because of the work of Holy Spirit in my life.  Here is some context, to understand my mindset.  I  was told about fasting, and I assumed many more believers actually practiced it because Jesus said, “When you fast …….. (Matthew 6:16).  ”  It only makes sense that I would fast.  I was told in church that Christians read their bible.  Because I heard this, I assumed they did.  “I better be in the Word everyday, ” I thought.  After reading it for awhile and getting around other believers my age, I started to realize many of the believers I knew had been around it all their life, but probably didn’t read it much.  I actually started making up Bible quotes to see if anyone would correct me.  Most of the time no one did.  

Eventually, I was hit with some personal life challenges and the peace I had grown accustomed to in my life was absent.  When I looked to the scriptures that I loved and I couldn’t focus long enough to absorb any of the words on the page, I was forced to come to terms with depression as a real thing, not just for others, but a reality I am susceptible to.  Not only that, it had invaded my soul and seemed to be claiming ownership.  

Before that time I would have told you that it is difficult for a true believer in Christ to be suicidal.  I wasn’t suicidal, but the idea was no longer a distant country, it had become a neighbor.  The truth is we are all fragile and our ability to handle everything on our own is an illusion.  You might read this and think, not for me.  I am warning you do not harbor that idea in your heart, because you might receive a blessing too.  You also may read this and feel relieved.  No, if your struggling with depression or anxiety you are not weird, weak or lesser of a person.  But, God doesn’t want you to stay there.  He has called you to fight.  

I was blessed with parents, coaches and people in my life who valued working hard and setting goals.  I had big dreams and a western PA work ethic mixed with a lot of hope that anything can be accomplished.

So, my framework when it came to depression or anxiety was very simple.  Some people are not as tough as me.  Some people can’t process life as well as me, so they need help, but me, I am good.  Obviously there are many problems with this type of false theology.

I trusted in my own will as an idol.  I trusted in my own ability.  I disregarded that the flesh is weak, but I needed God’s power.  I was giving myself a lot of credit, when God provided me with a great support structure, healthy family and millions of other blessings that made my life easier.  I also assumed that there was something more wrong with others, and more right with me.  You also can see how destructive this can be in regards to someone in a position that is supposed to be empathetic and helpful towards the needs of others.

Also, the Gospel is a communal type of message.  James the half brother of Jesus tells us that, we face trials of many kinds (James 1:2).  What is a problem for one believer, may not be a problem for another and vice -versa.  We are tempted in different ways, maybe even in ways that are specific to us.  That is why we need to approach other brothers and sisters in Christ with empathy as we bear one another’s burdens.

When life hit me hard and I was forced to evaluate my life on all fronts.  I was forced to be honest about my own frailties.  I needed to be honest about my need for a Savior and true transformational community around me.  You are not tough by avoiding getting treated or counseling.  You are actually doing something that is dangerous and risky.  You need people in your life to help you along, tell you the truth and pray you through.  You need a Savior who isn’t just an emotional moment or a wish granter, but a warrior and a finisher. 

Today I just want to encourage you to take the first step.  Often times, we as people are ashamed and don’t want to take the first step.  We don’t want to seek out help.  You must at least find one friend.  Find one person who you can talk to, who will pray for you and who will be there when you feel like the bottom is falling out.  You need one person who you can be honest with.  That one person is your first step today.  Next week we will dig deeper into some of the finer points of what it looks like to win against depression. 

Feel free to comment or message me privately.  We will pick this same discussion up in a follow-up post next week. 

 

See Also

What is Reality? (Depression)

Fight for Your Faith (5 Things Depression is Not)

 

Cover Front and Back Final

There are 260 chapters in the New Testament.  You go to work 5 days a week.  There are 52 weeks in a year.  52 X 5 = 260.  This year, Take the Challenge!  Change your life!

Available at Barnesandnoble.com, Amazon.com, Nook and Kindle.

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13 thoughts on “Blessed With Depression (Topical Tuesday – Depression)

  1. Thank you brother for that wise and righteous assessment of depression!

    After I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease on 1-6-12, I fell into a very deep and very dark depression. I have touched on that a few times in my blog posts, but I have yet to devote a full piece to it yet. I need to though! I was extremely suicidal due to the torment of the physical pain and mental anguish from the disease. The depression lasted from 2012 until early 2018. I finally went to see my Pastor who was very helpful. God used him to send me to a wise Christian counselor who further helped me. In March of this year, I published my testimony of the very strange supernatural life I have lived. I got through the depression with prayers and help from my wife, friends, family, my pastor, and a counselor, so yes, I agree, reach out and get help! I know what a cold steel barrel feels like pressed up against my temple, and I am so thankful that I did not give up! The Holy Spirit in me was stronger!

    God has delivered me and has blessed me with this new calling to preach through my book and blog! I still pray against depression. The evil one loves to attack us with regret and hurtful memories from the past. Praise God we are victorious in Jesus!

    God bless you brother!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for sharing that Ryan! That is very powerful. I am sorry to hear you went through that. I am very thankful you didn’t give up as well! God is at work in your life.
      It sounds like you have a very real testimony to share in this regard. I look forward to reading it.

      I do have to warn you. I didn’t like writing these posts on depression. I also wrote a few I never shared because It is hard for me to admit my own frailty in this area. I think it is because of how I always saw depression / anxiety until it happened to me.

      Also while writing about it, I reexperienced some of those same feelings as I relived memories in order to write.

      But on the upside. The reason I am starting to write about it more is two fold.

      One God is light and in Him there is no darkness. When we shine light on it, the darkness instantly goes away because that is what light does. Darkness is where our enemy lives and hangs out.

      2 I have shared with many people as a chaplain that I have experienced depression and it floors them, because they see me in a different light. Because of that I was convicted that I needed to write more about this part of my testimony. Even though I would rather hide behind a mask.

      I look forward to reading more of your blog and hearing about God’s amazing grace in your life.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Amen! Thank you for your open honesty! Yes, that is why I also have not written about it yet. I really don’t want to go over all those bad memories again, but I agree with you about shining God’s light on it. There are still people out there suffering from it, and we can help in the power of the Holy Spirit for sure! Thank you for the encouragement! I look forward to reading your blog as well! Grace and peace to you!

        Liked by 2 people

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