Depression 101 for Christians
When depression comes knocking, what should the Christian do?
I know many of you have looked at the title of this article and said, “Christians do not get depressed.” Well, I have news for you. Christians do get depressed, and the worst thing is, they do not know how to handle it!
When I was in college, I went through a period of depression. My grades were terrible, I had few friends (a disaster for a college girl), and the one ‘relationship’ I had was constantly on the rocks. My self-esteem went lower and lower as the months went by. By the time we went home at the end of the semester for a brief break, I had hit rock bottom. Thankfully, God in his mercy and grace dragged me out of that pit and gave me a new lease of life.
The battle was not over, though.
When I got my first job, the pressure to fit in with my colleagues drove me downhill again. Because I was involved in ministry at the time, however, the weekly meetings with my ministry team kept me sane. Once again, God mercifully pulled me out of that pit, just when I was on the verge of making a crazy decision.
Recently, after I had my second baby, I found myself hurtling downhill again. The stress and trauma surrounding his birth were too much to handle, and I could see the darkness quickly creeping back. This time God used family and friends to kick me out of that state (yes, they did) and put me back on track.
So you see, friends, Christians do go through depression! The question is, how do we handle the dark clouds of depression when they come along?
Ask God to walk with you through the darkness
For many of us, when despair and loneliness set in, we begin to feel that God has forgotten us. As we go deeper into the pit, we forget that we once had a warm relationship with a loving God, instead preferring the self-comforting cold of darkness.
God, on the other hand, sees this darkness way before we even have a hint that it is on the way. He knows where it comes from, and the best way to handle it. The best part is, he waits eagerly for us to call on him for help when we are down.
Psalm 23:4 “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” (NLT)
That is exactly what I did. I didn’t understand what was going on; all I knew was that if I asked God to help me through the rough time, he would. And he did.
Let God’s promises encourage you
The Bible is full of wonderful promises that we can use to encourage ourselves when we are down. Let me list a couple of my favorite ones.
Psalm 16:8 “I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.” (NLT)
The Lord is ALWAYS with me, right beside me, even when I cannot see him. Here’s the thing – when you are going through a period of depression, all you can see is the darkness around you, the magnitude of your problem and how worthless you are. What we often forget is that the Lord is ALWAYS right there!
Psalm 37:23-24 “The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand.” (NLT)
If we trip over a rock in the dark, however, the Lord will hold our hand to make sure we do not fall. When we are on the verge of making a terrible mistake because our judgment and reasoning are off, he will still hold our hand. Though depression has this way of making us not think straight or act rationally, God always has our back!
Remember you are precious in his sight
Can I let you in on a little secret? Here it is – the enemy uses depression as a tool to make us think that we are worthless and incapable of doing anything meaningful. In fact, most people who end their lives as a result of depression say that the world is better off without them. I would like to you to think about this for a moment and ask yourself, is that what God thinks about you?
If you are going through a period of depression, or you know someone who is, I would like you to read the following verses slowly and carefully.
Psalm 121:5 “The LORD himself watches over you! The LORD stands beside you as your protective shade.” (NLT)
Would he watch over you and protect you if you were of no value to him? No!
Psalm 139:17 “How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!” (NLT)
Our loving Father has precious thoughts about EVERY one of us, and these thoughts are uncountable!
Isaiah 49:15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” (NIV)
The world says there is no love like a mother’s love, right? Well, there is a love greater than a mother’s love – a love that endures even when that of a mother fails – God’s love!
Dear friend, the next time you are tempted to think that you are of no value to anyone, remember that you are of great value to God. He has precious, innumerable thoughts about you, his love for you surpasses any form of human love, and he watches over you constantly. Whenever you feel depressed, focus on God and his love for you. He is all you need to get through the dark patches of life.
Hi, everyone! Thanks again for reading this week’s article. Depression is not an easy topic to discuss. I am glad, however, that there is much in God’s word to help anyone who is going through depression. Please share this article with someone who may need it – you may just save a life. Also, share your thoughts at the comments section below. Have a great week!