Depression

 

As Christians we don't like to talk about it because as Christ followers sometimes we are told that we shouldn't struggle with depression.  I've been told "you're fine", when all I wanted to do was cry.   I've been told "fake it till you make it."  All by well meaning and well intentioned Christians.  The fact of the matter was that when I would go to church, I would put on my fake smile, fake it while I was there, then go back home and into my pj's and turn off my phone.  It is exhausting to "fake it until you make it." 

I remember when I finally confessed to someone I loved and trusted that I broke down finally and went to the doctor to get on anti-depressants again, the comment they made to me tore me up.  Yes, I have forgiven them, but the hurt is still there until the Lord heals it.  I believe it remains there so that I can get the message out there that you're not a bad person, or doing something wrong if you are depressed.  When someone gets diabetes, do you tell them to suck it up and trust God?  Or do you tell them they should take their medicine and go to the doctor?  If someone has high blood pressure, do you tell them "fake it until you make it" and trust God, or do you tell them they should take their medicine? 

Is it possible, dear Christian, that the Lord gave doctors and scientists the wisdom to create life saving medications so that we could be okay?  Yes!  God gave the scientists wisdom to know how to treat certain cancers.  I have a dear friend who was cured of breast cancer, and while she is still in the final stages of treatment, she is on her way to recovery.  What if someone told her "you're fine" and "just trust God"?  and she chose not to do this life saving treatment?  Sure, there is a possibility that God would miraculously cure her, but do you take that chance when there is a life saving treatment available?  No!  Just like with any sickness or disease or illness.  If someone is throwing you a life saver and you're in the water drowning, do you tell them, "I'm trusting God to save me"? or do you take the flippin' life saver and let them pull you to safety?  I don't think I need to answer that question.

Just because we are Christians does not mean that we aren't going to suffer, have problems, go through sickness and illnesses, or struggle with depression.  Christ did not promise us a life of ease.  If He thought we weren't going to go through junk, why would He provide scriptures such as Matthew 11:28-30 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  Now some might argue that this scripture is for someone who doesn't know Christ.  Okay, then how about the book of Job?  Why did God provide us with this book?  Job knew the Lord intimately.  In Job 1:1 Job is referred to as a "blameless and upright" man "he feared God and shunned evil."  The Lord says to satan in verse 8 "Have you considered my servant, Job?  There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil."  Wow!

Or how about the scripture 1 Peter 4:12 "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed."  (Peter is speaking to Christ followers here)  or 1 Peter 4:1 "Therefore, since Christ suffered in His body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because He who has suffered in his body is done with sin."  or James 1:2-4 "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."  (Peter and James were both speaking to Christ followers)

My dear friend, if you are suffering from an illness just because you aren't healed yet or living in what the "world" considers "prosperous" — doesn't mean you are doing something wrong.  The Apostle Paul really went through a lot while an apostle of Christ says in Phillipians 4:11-13 "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do evertyhing through Him [Christ] who gives me strength." 

John the Baptist was beheaded doing the work of the Lord.  Peter was hanged upside down on a cross while doing the work of the Lord.  Paul was shipwrecked, stoned, left for dead, imprisoned, tormented by a "messenger of Satan (2 Cor. 12:7).  Paul asked the Lord THREE times for Him to take it (the messenger of Satan) away, and the Lord responded "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  (2 Cor. 12:9).  I also believe that eventually Paul was beheaded as well.  Of course, our greatest example is Jesus, who suffered the most of all.  Heb. 5:8 "Although He was a son, He learned obedience from what He suffered and, once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him." 

So, just because you have trials, tribulations, sickness, financial problems, kid problems, marital problems, relationship problems doesn't always mean that you are doing something wrong.  We live in a fallen world.  If you have an illness, its okay to go to the doctor and get medicine, and don't let anyone make you feel bad that you have to take it. 

Depression is an imbalance of chemicals in the body, much like diabetes is an imbalance, high blood pressure, or heart disease, or …..the list goes on.  Some people have it.  Some people don't.  Don't feel bad or feel like a failure if you have to get an anti-depressant because God provided wisdom to the scientists and doctors for that too — not just these other things. 

Another thing, reach out to others and have a support network that will call you to reach out to you also.  I am starting a women's prayer group, and am very excited to have the support and prayer support that we as women so desperately need.   Again, Christian, do not think that because things aren't perfect in your life that God is not with you.  God is always with you.  Trust Him.  Follow Him.  Seek Him.  Thank Him.  Praise Him.  He is the same yesterday and today and forever.   Heb. 13:8. 

Do we stop asking for healing?  Absolutely not!  That is not what I'm saying, but God gave us a brain to use and we should not be stupid if there is medicine or doctors available to help us during our time of illness — use them! 

Recommended reading this week:  anything that is in your Bible that jumps out at you.  Just read it!  πŸ™‚

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Author: Michele C.

First and foremost I am a Believer in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I am a wife, a Mom, a young budding writer, and entrepreneur.

8 thoughts on “Depression”

  1. Oh this is so good Michele! Your mention of the life ring thrown to the drowning man reminded me actually of a joke I had heard many months ago where this person was drowning and waiting for God to save him, upon his death and meeting the Lord face to face he asked the Lord why did you not save me and He said I sent someone to you who threw you a life ring, why did you not take it?!!!!!
    There is no shame and should be no condemnation in sickness! There are all kinds as you mentioned, I am fighting for people with addiction right now and believe with all my heart addiction is every bit an illness, yet as a society we have a tendency to look down our nose at anyone suffering from this horrific disease that truly affects us all, not unlike depression or any mental illness. Sadly when one admits they have this problem they suddenly receive a label that says "defective" when just like any other illness treatment is out there, but not readily available or accepted. There are medications out there that will relieve addicts from their cravings and allow them to function like normal human beings and live normal lives, but we judge them for this saying that is trading one drug for another, is it really? Would you tell a diabetic they shouldn't take their medicine, or someone with severe asthma……? Would you tell these people because they take medicine they are now addicts? We are a mixed up world indeed, but with beautiful souls like youself out there Michele spreading His Word we will conquer! I love you girl! : )

  2. wow Patti — very well written! And yes I agree πŸ™‚ as you can well see. You need to write more often — your passion, the way you word it, your love for the Lord and your love for people πŸ™‚ I can't wait to see you tomorrow! I love you more!

  3. Reading through the Psalms we can see that David often expressed himself from a depressed and despondant heart. He was not afraid to be honest with God, and yet he trusted God to ultimately be his help in the midst of trouble.
    There are many reasons for depression both physical, mental and spiritual. As we seek medical help we must also ask God to search our hearts for any unsettled issues past or present that may be keeping us down. Sometimes it is the need for forgiveness for those who have hurt us, or something we did that hurt someome else. Either way, the answer is in our loving Saviour Jesus and the price He paid for us in order to give us eternal and abundant life.

  4. Yes absolutely I agree, but me personally, after months and months of praying for God to search my heart, going through everything that I knew to do, forgiving, praying for forgiveness, etc., and still nothing changed, I realized that it absolutely was okay to go to the doctor because God did provide our doctors with His wisdom — and before I went I prayed that the Lord would give my doctors the wisdom to know how to treat me and what to do. Thankfully, I've gotten some relief and have gotten the JOY back into my life. And yes, I owe it all to the Lord Jesus Christ. He does heal today, it just may not come in the package we expect or want, but He did do it. He just used modern medicine to allow it to happen.
    I just don't want Christians to be wandering around out there, praying, wondering, searching and not finding the answers, but are too afraid or ashamed to go to the doctor for something that is so treatable. Just as with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, cancer, whatever it may be we shouldn't be ashamed to get medication for a possible chemical imbalance.
    Yes, I still pray for healing from this all the time, but I don't think it was my lack of faith or belief because I did get medication for it. The reason I know this and believe this is that I have seen so many of my other prayers answered during this time. Christian don't be afraid or ashamed to get the help you need!

  5. I agree with you Michele, I didn't mean to imply that you shouldn't be taking medicine. Often the meds give the ability to see things more clearly as depression blows everything out of proportion.
    I resisted medication for all those other things you mention diabetis, dholesterol and blood pressure for a long time and focused on diet and exercise. Now it seems I have given in and have three pills to take every morning. I did pray for the Lord to give the doctor wisdom and to give me peace if I am to take these meds.
    So far there have been no side effects which is what my concern was. My mother's life was miserable from so many medications which were actually the cause of her depression. I determined not to let that happen so I step cautiously in this area.
    As long as we pray for wisdom and believe that God will give it to us and act on it (James 1:5-8) we will make the right decisions.

  6. I know you didn't imply πŸ™‚ I just wanted to clarify just in case anyone might have thought that all they had to do was pray. I have been given that impression before by others (not you), so please, no worries. I am glad to hear you have peace also – – God is very good and very faithful — I"m glad to hear from you again πŸ™‚ It's been a while. πŸ™‚

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