Deep depression is embodied emotional suffering. It is not simply a state of mind or a negative view of life but something that affects our physical being as well ~ The Depression Epidemic.
During a conference with John MacArthur, influential pastor John Piper described some of the darkest hours of his life and ministry, saying that for a long period of time—months or years—he wept every day. He even wrote a book about dealing with depression. In stark contrast, John MacArthur commented that he had never been depressed in his life. Both different experiences and dispositions, yet both are mighty men of God.
I was glad that John Piper has been open about his depression battle – sadly, it is often scorned at in Christian circles, leaving many internalizing their anguish and suffering in silence. Yet I can see why there is still stigma attached to depression – it is mysterious and misunderstood. And from the outside it can look incredibly selfish – why are you depressed? You got it so good…
Yet it’s not that simple. Severe depression is often beyond description. And when such deep and painful feelings cannot be explained, they cut to the heart of one’s spiritual being .
Since my teens I’ve had those periods of inexplicable weeping and unidentifiable emotional pain. I don’t know where they come from, or why they happen, nor do I want them in my life at all (it’s not enjoyable for me or anyone around me). But nevertheless they come, often accompanied by insomnia, extreme stomach pains, weariness and such mental and physical fatigue that it’s hard to do anything productive.
Though many people offer various explanations to why a Christian may feel depressed, my personal strong feeling is that most of the time they are attack of the enemy. I have a lot to give to be of service to others, but when those attacks come I’m completely useless at functioning.
I’ve learned not to feel ashamed or less of a person because of it, but I’ve also learned that it’s incredibly important to not let it overpower me and rule over me. Although I can’t describe or identify the source of such deep despair, I can choose to overcome it. I cling to my Creator and Deliverer with all the energy I have left. I pray with the small words I can. And although there’s times when I still feel alone, most of the time God’s peace and joy wash over me after a bit of a battle.
I can’t rely on writing (usually a source of release) to help me, I can’t rely on my loved ones to deliver me (even though they are supportive), and I can’t indulge in all sorts of distractions to take depression away. I’m in need of my Savior’s presence, love and peace. I need Him to take control of my body and mind and to satisfy my thirst for Him. I’m just continually in need of my Savior.
“My tears have been my food day and night…Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” ~ Psalm 42.
You may like this blog: Do not let your hearts be troubled.