I’ve wanted to write a post about this for years. I know its not a happy post, but I think its something that should and needs to be addressed.
“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Ps 34:18
I grew up in church, but I have suffered from depression (and anxiety) for over 20 years. It was years before I ever shared this with anyone, including my husband. Depression is widely spoken of in the public sphere, but often frowned upon in the Christian world. Yet, 1 in 4 women take mental health meds. Despite the many articles and speeches on this issue, women (and men) often do not feel like they can talk about it and more often than not do not find the support they need. In fact, many times I have left church feeling more drained and depressed than when I arrived. Shame and stigma are often causes for suffering alone.
“But I am afflicted and in pain; let Your salvation, O God, set me on high!” Ps 69:29
Many christians who suffer from depression struggle between what we know to be true and the darkness that we feel to be true. With that being said, we often feel that we are not “good enough”; or that something is “wrong with us”. How can someone who walks with the Lord struggle with these dark feelings of hopelessness when God is our Hope and Strength? So these feelings of darkness get stuffed back down and are not talked about, or shared with others. One can only hold that in so long before breaking.
“Answer me quickly, O Lord! My spirit fails! Hide not Your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit. Let me hear in the morning of Your steadfast love, for in You I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul.” Ps 143:7-8
The church should support and not shun those who struggle with depression and anxiety. Those who have not struggled with it will not fully understand it, but in no way should it ever be disregarded. Nor should those who do struggle with it be told something is wrong with them.
“But God, Who comforts the downcast…” 2 Cor 7:6a
Depression and anxiety is very real, its not “all in your head”, and the church needs to do a better job in supporting those who face these demons regularly. Brandon Peach says it like this, “It’s not a character defect, a spiritual disorder or an emotional dysfunction. And chief of all, it’s not a choice. Asking someone to “try” not being depressed is tantamount to asking someone who’s been shot to try and stop bleeding. Such an attitude can dangerously appear in the Church as, “if only you had enough faith.””
“Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Ps 30:5b
I know from personal experience how exhausting it is to constantly be battling it. I know personally what it feels like to be told that I’m “doing something wrong” in my Christian walk and that is why I feel this way.
“…for You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I will sing for joy.” Ps 63:7
Lets rally around our sisters and really listen and encourage. Give that hug and just be there when you are needed. No judgement. It’s all about loving others, by showing (and sharing) the love of Christ.
God is good, and is the reason I am still here today.
Blessings & JOY!
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