Over the last week, I have been spiraling down. My thoughts, becoming more negative. I began to question why I am so open about my health and my struggles, posting my life on Facebook and this blog for everyone to see. The answer I gave myself was – I have no friends. Most people would only share their personal lives with a close friend. Not me. That would involve finding a friend and then being a friend. Which turns my thoughts back to – no one would want to be my friend. Which implies – I’m not worth knowing.
Having a history of depression, I began to recognize what this was all about and I determined that it would be in my best interest to go back on my antidepressant. Still, nothing is automatic. One pill does not magically correct one’s thinking. When a thunderstorm hit with all it’s ominous gloom, I ranted to my GroupMe support group I have for my writing. This is what I wrote:
“I want to update everyone. I am a mess. I started back on my antidepressant today. I am depressed and considering writing my blog about how I have no friends. I realize that’s not true, it’s just how I feel. My back pain has returned and is preventing me from doing anything where I have to stand. It is also interfering with my sleep. I have my MRI scheduled for Wednesday. This thunderstorm isn’t helping me feel better. My writing is progressing on my next book, slowly, but I’m not confident that it is any good. Gene has been in meetings every night this week and I have been lonely. I probably shouldn’t dump this all on here, but I need some lovin’.”
I don’t think anyone wants to read that. But, it didn’t stop me from sharing. Gone are the days where I keep this to myself. Where I am afraid to ask for encouragement. I still have trouble interrupting someone’s life with a phone call, but I will work on that.
Right after I shared with my support group, I remembered I hadn’t kept up with a devotional I am going through with one of my friends from my support group. I had to laugh as I read this part:
God is not surprised by our failings, by our mistakes, or by our struggles. He is never caught off guard, but is waiting with open arms for us to run to Him for grace, mercy, and help. Human nature is to hide our weaknesses from others, to put on a happy face around people, to swallow our sorrow to make others comfortable. But Jesus has a tender heart for His people that melts for us, that moves for us, that yearns for us, that endures with us, that will comfort us, that pours out mercy on us… so that we need not fear God’s judgment, ridicule, disappointment, rejection, or frustration.Names of God: Through Thanksgiving and Christmas Devotional Day 8 YouVersion Bible App
That felt like a balm to my soul. Remembering who God is, what he wants for us, and how he thinks of us, is the greatest encouragement of all.
Depression is a brutal master. Its heavy chains are not easily broken. Right here I want to quote the Bible verse about knowing the truth and the truth will set you free, (John 8:32.) But it is a truth that is hard to grasp when you are sitting in your pile of lies.
This is where depression and Christianity collide. I am free and I need medication. This doesn’t add up. I am condemned either way. The thought goes like this – If I am depressed and I take medication, then I am not free and I am not a Christian. If I am a Christian, I am free and I should not be depressed and I should not need medication. – Have any of you wrestled with that thought? I’m just being blatantly honest again.
Denying my depression does not make it go away. Spiritualizing my depression does not make it go away. Believing the lies that my depression tells me only makes matters worse. Truth is what I need. Jesus frees me with the truth. The Holy Spirit leads me into truth. (John 14:17) I am not alone in this.
So what is my message today? Don’t judge Christianity by the faith of a broken Christian. Don’t judge yourself based on your broken life. Be kind and forgiving. And if you think about someone, call or send them a text to encourage them.
Grace & Peace,