For the past few weeks, I’ve been visiting Central Baptist Church in Northwest Detroit.
During church today, the pastor taught about depression while referring to a Biblical story in 1 Kings 19: 3-18. He said something like,
Being depressed is not a sin. It does not mean that I’m spiritually disconnected or a bad Christian. There are times in life when you have to deal with being overwhelmed in a broken world.
According to his message, some of the most faithful people in the Bible faced times of depression. These individuals included Elijah, Jonah, Job, Jeremiah, David, and perhaps, even Jesus when he felt anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane. Even still, God is not afraid to find us and be present in the darkness. Though we may feel worthless or defeated, He can remind us of our purpose to strengthen us forward. The pastor also affirmed that there is no shame in praying and seeking professional support.
While reflecting on this sermon, I thought about my own struggles with mental health. It has always been somewhat easier for me to share that I have anxiety. However, I have felt more ashamed about experiencing depression. I feared that God could not use my feelings of sadness, loneliness, and inadequacy. What if my imperfections and internal battles compromised His good plan for me?
Early last week, I challenged myself to do one thing: speak life. I came across a Bible passage where David encourages himself with a reminder.
Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and salvation, my fortress where I cannot be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me (Psalm 62: 5-7).
Reciting this verse has renewed my mind. Though my challenging circumstances have not yet changed, my perspective is broadening. I acknowledge my pain, but I also recognize my Hope. I am convinced that the bruises of my life are meaningful. Even if I never fully understand my obstacles, I can help others by how I am overcoming them – breath by breath.
Here are a few examples of how I’m trying to speak life (words that are kind, victorious, and honest):
- When I look in the mirror and feel unsatisfied: “I don’t feel good about how I look right now, but God loves it. He gave me this smile, this skin, this hair, this stature, and this body. Beyond my appearance, He gave me my heart and my life. I am way more beautiful than I how feel right now.”
- When I look at my bank account and feel anxious: “I don’t exactly know when things will turn around, but I really need them to. God will provide all my needs. Let me pray for direction in how to move forward. It won’t be like this always.”
- When I feel lonely: “Nothing can separate me from God’s love. He completes me in ways that no human can. I also have some good people in my life even if I can’t see them all the time. I am a great friend, too.”
Do you ever struggle with anxiety and/or depression? What are little (big) routines that you practice to help you persevere?