It seems that the people of God are beginning to dialogue more openly and honestly about depression. That's a good thing. Countless Christians have suffered silently, in painful shame, and unnecessarily because there's seemed to be a perception that depression is unacceptable in The Church.
Hang the perception - depression is present. Even prevalent. And it's paralyzing scores of precious people.
So I'm glad it's coming out of the closet. I pray that discussions can help loosen the grip of fear and shame and helplessness on people's lives. I hope that more and more people will eventually be able to refer to depression as "past", "history", "defeated".
That's why I'm coming at it from a little bit of a different angle.......I want to see my brothers and sisters conquer the despondency, the desolation, the desperation. I want them to have real and sustained victory.
I know I'm gonna make somebody mad with this post. I know somebody's gonna read this through a filter of pain and be offended. I know I gotta be careful.
Christians don't have to succumb to depression.
I didn't say we aren't affected by it.
I didn't say it doesn't afflict us.
I didn't say Christians can't get depressed.
And I'm not talking about being down in the dumps or even grief. Working through stages of grief - however long it may take - is actually a healthy thing and we should be patient and understanding with others and with our own selves as we process grief.
When I say "depression", I am referring to chronic, debilitating sadness. Profound unhappiness that may or may not stem from tragedy, loss, or other circumstances. Persistent, pervasive feelings of darkness that negatively affect behavior. And the lives of those around us.
No, I'm not saying Christians can't experience depression.......
But I am saying that we don't have to surrender to it.
We can - and should - be victorious over it.
The question is....do we want to.
Or would we rather not? Is it possible that we get comfortable in the place of "the depressed"? The place where we aren't responsible for our attitudes or actions? The place where we can blame others for our pain? The place where we can insist that others try and make us feel better?
I believe with everything in me that there can be physiological issues that make depression worse. But I don't think we are helpless victims. I believe with everything in me that the darkness is real. But I don't think it's all powerful. And I believe with everything in me that when you sit it the darkness you often cannot believe that there can be hope that it ever will lift.
But, for the Christ-follower, there is hope. We do not have to settle for the darkness.
However, we do have to accept responsibility for getting out.
There are a zillion verses that demonstrate this truth. I'll just use one for this week's Wednesday's Word - Psalm 18:28...The Lord my God illumines my darkness.
He is more powerful than the darkness. And He will provide a way out. But He will not force us to take it. We have to choose. And fight for it. And accept personal responsibility for getting out and staying out.
If you need some medical help, get it. But see that as a temporary aid rather than a permanent crutch.
Then deal with the root issues that make you susceptible to this malady in the first place. There are things you can do to defeat the darkness. A prior series offered some solutions
Give these a read and see if any help.
We are commanded in Scripture, yes commanded, to be joyful. So know that the powers of hell are set on preventing us from joy.
Those powers that are against us, however, are no match for He who lives within us.
Take responsibility for your obedience and don't sit in the darkness any longer. You may literally have to fight for your life....but do it. The cost for not doing so is too high. For everyone.