We know that metal health is not common to talk about in Church. We deal with worry which if chronically neglected, can be traumatic and lead to complete burnout.
There is a close friend, we will call him Tim. He has been a friend for over 15 years and is among the nicest, most uplifting, generous, encouraging person you have ever met.
Tim is one of those people that everyone likes right away and you will always want to be friends with. He is always making the conscious choice from the time that he gets out of bed to give full energy to everything he is doing all the while he is smiling.
However, his inside feelings are dark, sadness, and a feeling of hopelessness. He has spent years battling suicidal thoughts and deals with ongoing, chronic, crippling depression.
For anyone that hasn’t experienced depression, they can be very dismissive and the usual attitude is to just cheer up or get over it.
Depression is not just sadness or discouragement but is a constant darkness, numbness, lack of motivation, and just no hope that things are going to get better.
Church should be a safe place to talk about depression. Sadly, it usually isn’t because of the inevitable stigma of just suck it up, get over it, put faith in Jesus.
When you have a sore throat, you go see a physician. If you break a bone, you go to a surgeon. If you battle depression, your expected to just keep smiling and keep it to yourself.
If you are one that is in the fight to battle depression, which is one of the biggest mental health issues today, you might be able to identify with the next verse and it also might make you a bit mad.
Proverbs 12:25 “Anxiety weights down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.”
It can’t be that simple? The first part is for sure… but a kind word? The important thing to remember is that the scripture above is God’s word. Maybe a good word brings Hope and maybe a good word will bring some healing.
Anyone that’s experienced depression knows that it is a very complex issue. Depression doesn’t discriminate and there is no one size fits all.
There are two truths to remember when you’re battling depression:
- Your emotions are valid…
- Your situation feels hopeless…
But that is actually incomplete. If we complete the thought…
- Your emotions are valid, but they are not permanent.
- Your situation feels hopeless, but with God, there’s always hope.
Remember, your spiritual enemy wants to destroy anything that is precious to God. That includes you. When you feel depressed, call it what it is. I am depressed! Then do something about it. Go talk to a councilor. Surrender to God. You will find victory in God.
Say this to yourself. You can even preach this to yourself!
“You O Lord, you are a shield about me and my glory. You are the lifter of my head when my mind is troubled. You are my refuge and my strength and my ever-present help in time of trouble. For I’m convinced that neither depression or my darkest days, nothing in all creation will be able to separate me from the love of You that is the name of Jesus my Lord Christ.”
Remember. Your feelings are valid but not permanent. Your situation feels hopeless but with God there is always hope.