Depression effects more than 15 million American adults and with a 2014 study that shows about 71% of the American population identifies as Christian in some form or another, it’s no secret that depression is one of the biggest struggles in the Christian community.
Many of us who grew up in church or simply with a religious foundation know oh too well the scripture (or simply just a saying to some) 1 Cor 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” So, naturally we allow ourselves to accept the things that hold us captive, which includes the mental turmoil we call depression. It’s something we experience every day. As a result, many of us are either taught or start to believe that being depressed is a sin. That it is really just showing where we are weak or lacking in our prayer lives or personal relationships with God. The perception that is set before us is that we are supposed to be so engulfed in God that we no longer experience human trials and tribulations right? Wrong!
A common misconception is that somewhere in life & on your Christian journey we are going to level up to a place that allows us to simply walk around like robots and have our bodies here on earth, but no longer experience the struggles of earth. Although I do firmly believe the expression that mirrors several scriptures, “We are called to be in the world but not of the world” that doesn’t stop us from experiencing worldly test and trials. I have come to understand through speaking with many individuals, as well as experiencing depression myself that many of us heighten our depression simply by aiming for an impossible goal of this “holy astral projection” that is set before us. Nowhere is it written that life is like a game of Super Mario and once we reach a certain level we will be placed in the holies and exempt from life (at least not while here on earth).
When seeking help or guidance, too often the term “crazy” is thrown out. To call someone crazy simply because you do not understand or can’t relate is a dangerous thing to do. For our minds are really never ending movies that play on repeat. Now they can play good things or bad things, but nevertheless, they still operate the same. We are so quick (as Christians) to throw “sin” out so frequently on things we don’t want to deal with or understand, in hopes that the bible alone will fix the issue. There is nothing wrong with someone, even a Christian seeking help to see which option would be better for them whether medicine, meditation or therapy. These different avenues with different specialists are presented before us for a reason. God grants us the tools we need to use to help us in earthly form, along with his guidance. Proverbs 4:7 states, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.”
The strongest tool we have second to our tongues is our mind. Dreams, visions, plans…etc, they all started with a thought. So it would only make sense that one of your greatest weapons would constantly be under attack. Attacked daily in the things that we see, hear, & experience. Waking up knowing you didn’t really do anything spectacular the day before, and you know today is not going to be much different so why get out of bed?
We are our own worst critics so we tend to beat ourselves us for experiencing natural highs and lows, also known as being human. When did having human emotions become a sin? Was it when they began making medicine to help cope with not having the motivation to do anything or face life? Or was it when we reached comfortable levels & became selfish in our spiritual journeys or life in general and forgot we were taught that we were placed on earth. Not for ourselves, but to help our brothers and sisters.
One of the tools I have learned when dealing with life situations, including depression, is to treat obstacles (bet you didn’t know depression is an obstacle, one that many overcome daily) as analogies. So in this case, depression is to a math equation as God is to our teacher. So what does a teacher do to a child who can’t understand a hard equation? A good teacher will take time to break it down. And often when doing equations other tools are needed to learn what is being taught; such as a ruler, calculator, notes, and others. I apply the same thing with depression.
Sometimes medicine, a therapist, or personal alone time meditating is needed. It is never a sin to experience this roller coaster we call life, for whether we can understand it or not it is all part of a greater plan & shaping us for who we are supposed to be in life. Never feel like you are failing at life by searching for help. Understand, you are simply using the tools needed to pass this test, and wake every morning knowing that your teacher provided those tools for a reason.
“Psalm 34:18, 19 – The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (19) A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.”