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I'm a Christian with Chronic Illnesses AND Depression. What does the Bible have to say about that?

Updated on March 26, 2016
Gina Welds-Hulse profile image

Chronic illness warrior and natural health coach and advocate, Gina helps others thrive beyond the challenges of chronic illness.

I'm a Christian, and I have depression!

I picked Good Friday 2016 to start to write this article.

I've been thinking about writing this article for a long time now, but with the Easter period upon us, I thought this to be a more appropriate and relevant time to do so. I was imagining what Jesus must have gone through in the Garden of Gethsemane as He poured out His heart to God...."If it be your will to take this cup from me.....but not my will, but your will be done." Can you imagine the fear? Jesus was human, after all. He had gone through periods when he was sad, and had retreated to be by Himself. He had suffered loss when His friend, Lazarus died, so it goes to reason that he knew what it was to feel "depressed." The shortest verse in the Bible states that "Jesus wept" (John 11: 35) when He learned that Lazarus had died.

For the last few years I have been battling one illness after another, until I was finally diagnosed with lupus four years ago. Throughout the other diagnoses, I kept asking why all of this was happening to me. I had taken care of my body. I had not cursed God or turned my back on God.

I think and think, and try to work out what has happened to me and why,
and what I should be doing.
But it is a worthless exercise, I am allergic to my own thoughts.

I try not to complain. To be honest I am overflowing with positivity. Even when I was diagnosed with depression, I was the most positive person in the world.....even my psychiatrist said that he was impressed with how well I was dealing with everything that had happened to me, from the collapse, to the numerous diagnoses, to the hallucinations.

So why did I end up in a psychiatrist's chair if I was just bubbling over with positivity? I knew something was wrong. I knew that even with my strong faith, I could not walk this path alone. I needed to talk to someone about all the struggles, all the trials. I felt like I was losing my mind...and I could not afford a breakdown.

Two words we should delete from our vocabulary as chronically-ill individuals.

 Something you say to someone when you are not, in fact, fine at all, but you don't want to worry them.
Something you say to someone when you are not, in fact, fine at all, but you don't want to worry them.

A little bit of my story....

Life with lupus can be challenging. With symptoms that come and go, disease flares and remissions, and the uncertainty of what each day will bring, it’s normal to experience feelings of unhappiness, frustration, anger, or sadness. It’s also normal to grieve for the loss of the life you had before.

There was a period of time during which I sank into deep depression. I had finally been diagnosed with what my doctors realized were causing all the other issues I was previously diagnosed with....heart, lung issues and neuropathy....and although I should have been relieved, I was actually very terrified. I had never heard of lupus before, but it became imperative that I learn as much as I could about it, so I could figure out how to live with this chronic illness, as well as thrive with this disease. I had no intention of succumbing to this illness.

Realizing that I was getting to a point where I had lots of questions, but no answers, I became severely depressed and sought out a psychiatrist. I was diagnosed with clinical depression. I had never been in this place before. I was becoming angry, craving the life that I had before wherein I was active, had lots of energy, and I was becoming bitter.

My doctor let me know that what I was experiencing was natural for someone who had been through the path of sickness that I had. He told me that affliction can make us bitter.

...but this was not a place that I wanted to stay in.

How was I to find my way from bitterness to a better attitude?

I had to, and the journey began with this first visit to the psychiatrist. You can read more of my story and battle with chronic illness and depression here.

Depression: The elephant in the room.

The elephant in the room.....

Depression is a HUGE elephant in the room…

NO ONE wants to talk about it but SO MANY people are affected by it!

It's taking over the lives of people we know and love, but the Church has mostly kept silent about it…

The epidemic of DEPRESSION, anxiety and suicidal thoughts are a part of the daily lives of people inside and outside the Church.


I'm a Christian! It can't be depression, right?

It can't be depression! I'm a Christian! Right?

In religious circles, depression is often deemed to be a spiritual condition that can be cured with prayer. In many situations, those who suffer from depression are criticized for a lack of faith and told that if only they would yield to an infilling of the Holy Spirit, they would know “the joy of the Lord."

If you possess a strong belief in God and also endure a chronic illness, you probably have struggled with your faith. I know I have. I have frequently asked why God has not made me well. I have prayed for a miracle over and over again. The fact that my physical pain remains month after month, year after year, causes heavy discouragement.

It is easy to assume that if one seeks to live by God’s will and loves Him, God will always relieve that one’s physical suffering. Yet, here I am, and maybe someone you know and love, still bound by pain, disease or disability. Does the lack of physical relief mean that there is something wrong spiritually?

29% of Christians in the United States have struggled with depression at some point in their life* – that's over 45 MILLION CHRISTIANS! That's more people than the population of the state of California and Massachusetts COMBINED!

According to the Numbers…

Out of every 10 Christians you know, 3 of them are depressed.

If you're between 18-34 years old, you're more likely to be depressed than older generations.

If you have lower income, you're more likely to be depressed.

If you're a parent with a child younger than 18 years old, you're more likely to be depressed.

This means A LOT of us wrestle with depression!

This many Christians struggling silent and alone in the Church is a HUGE problem…and we have got to do something about it!


Suffering Exists in Life.

The First Noble Truth of the Buddha is that suffering exists in life, that there is no getting around the pain.

Many times I have whispered in defeat . . . “This is my story.”

In other words, this disease was doing what it does. Lupus and its cohorts were claiming more corners of my body and there was nothing I could do about it.

My eyes were clearly fixed on my circumstances instead of Jesus.

But instantly the Lord brought another story to mind–“His story” for my life. And it just happened to be in the form of a song. With a weak voice and tear filled eyes I hummed “Blessed Assurance” by Fanny Crosby.

This incredible lady wrote over 8,000 hymns! She was blind, yet still she sang!

You see, my story is not defined by a disease and its symptoms. I was not about to let it be!!

My mission in life is to be real, and that involves a few complaints. I think that not being real is what contributes to so much of our sickness and disease, especially in this country. Everyone feels the need to wear the McDonald’s Happy Meal face all the time. It’s unnatural.

I praise God in the happy moments, but I also pick up the phone during those times of sheer to reach out to friends when I am scared, shaky, confused, and a tad mad at God.

I realize that, for whatever reason I have this nightmare, it’s most definitely a cross from God and one day He’ll tell me why.

It’s absolutely necessary to bare our souls, to tell the truth and not lie about our conditions, it’s called humility.....so here goes!

Rise above it!

I finally realized that this was always going to be a part of my suffering and that I had to rise above it.

John 16:33 starts out kind of depressing, “You will have suffering in this world.” But the scripture continues. . . “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. But be courageous! I have conquered the world.” He has conquered the world! It doesn’t say He will conquer the world–He has conquered the world.

Prayer of Faith

Complicated or cockeyed optimist?

Without spirituality and prayers, few of us could ever get through this vale of tears. I know for certain that I could not possibly get through this period of time in my life without my faith. People say that i am strong...that I am a huge optimist. It’s one thing for people to say they’re optimists, but I believe that God loves and endears us complicated souls who, through suffering, become so much closer to him than the cockeyed optimists!

Where is God when it hurts?

Chronic illness is difficult. There is no question that whether you have a deep relationship with God or are just beginning to search for answers from Him, chronic illness can send you reeling into asking "Where is God when it hurts?" and "Why do I have this illness?"

Are you wondering, why God allows good people to suffer? Or why God causes pain?" You aren't alone.

I tell God and Jesus everyday that I’m sick of it all and ask them to help me. So far no resolutions, but it doesn’t stop me from praying everyday, not just for me, hardly, but for all those who suffer with so many ills and maladies. And they are legions!

Where is God when it hurts? He promises this!

Lord, I don't understand!

What am I supposed to be learning from this? Our sadness is a reminder that pain and suffering are not what God intended for us. We were created for intimacy with our Creator and with one another. All of creation instinctively knows that something is wrong…and our emotions confirm it. As believers, we ought to acknowledge this even more than others. All of creation groans and longs for the return of our Savior.


I say....God says....

The exhaustion is taking over!

When these feeling of exhaustion occur, we feel frustrated, unproductive and useless. Can God really use us when we can barely get out of bed and if so, how?

I am so scared about the future!

You may hear, "The Bible tells us to never worry about anything," or "'Real' Christians always trust the Lord knows best so you need to pray harder." But when your health is falling apart around you, how do you trust God?

God knows your needs!

My friends just don't understand!

"You look so good!" Surely you've heard this on more than one occasion and you may not know if you should take is as a compliment or as someone misunderstanding the seriousness of your chronic illness. How do you get passed friends who just don't seem to get how much your life has changed since becoming ill.

When my friends just don't understand, I know that Jesus does.

I can't just snap out of it!

Christians, of all people, born again with a new life in Christ, shouldn’t get depressed, should they?

Christians often feel tremendous guilt over feeling or being depressed. They feel they have let down both God and their family. They feel they should "know better." The secrecy of being depressed becomes a priority for them since they do not want other Christians to know they do not feel joyful. This leads to denial, which only makes matters worse. Well-meaning friends, and even pastors, who don’t understand what is going on, encourage them to "snap out of it," and offer advice on "getting their Christian act back together."It is time to end the guilt feelings and deal with the depression.

Realize that depression isn’t something a person can "snap out of."

We all accept the fact that our bodies wear out and run down and are susceptible to disease. We can even accept the fact that our brains can be ravaged by diseases such as Alzheimer’s. But some Christians will not accept the fact that clinical depression also has specific biological causes. They’d rather categorize depression as a "bad attitude" or "lack of faith."


What is depression?

So what is Depression??

Depression is a widespread condition, affecting millions of people, Christians and non-Christians alike. Those suffering from depression can experience intense feelings of sadness, anger, hopelessness, fatigue, and a variety of other symptoms. They may begin to feel useless and even suicidal, losing interest in things and people that they once enjoyed. Depression is often triggered by life circumstances, such as a loss of job, death of a loved one, divorce, or psychological problems such as abuse or low self-esteem.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression is a disorder of the brain that can be treated with medication and/or psychotherapy. Symptoms of depression include:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Overeating, or appetite loss
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment.


How to win over depression by Tim LaHaye

How to Win Over Depression
How to Win Over Depression

Depression is today's leading emotional problem, with a skyrocketing number of reported cases. But there's much hope for those who suffer. If you or a loved one struggle with depression, whether mild or sever, Dr. Tim LaHaye assures you that there is a way to overcome those dark, hopeless feelings--even if previous counseling hasn't helped. With over one million copies sold since its first printing in 1974, How to Win Over Depression has made a life-changing difference for countless people worldwide. Now completely revised to incorporate the latest research, this book outlines principles from the Bible that can help you put depression behind you and keep it there, regardless of your circumstances. Dr. LaHaye examines the causes and treatments of depression, including physical imbalances and the therapeutic use of anti-depressants. Then, in simple language, he describes his own approach--one that's proved successful time and again for over twenty years. Digging beyond the physical and emotional components of depression, Dr. LaHaye takes you to its spiritual root and provides a means for eradicating it from your life. So whether it's just a case of the blues or a serious overwhelming sense of despair, depression doesn’t have to master you. Learn how you can master it with How to Win Over Depression.

 

You won't find the term "Depression in the Bible.

The term "depression" may not be in the Bible, but there are references to women and men experienced some kind of sadness or sorrow…what we might call depression.
The term "depression" may not be in the Bible, but there are references to women and men experienced some kind of sadness or sorrow…what we might call depression.

You won't find the term "depression" in the Bible!

What do Job, David, Elijah, Jeremiah, and the apostle Paul all have in common? Well, the Bible says that each of these men experienced some kind of sadness or sorrow…what we might call depression.

  • Job suffered from physical pain and devastating loss. (Book of Job) He questioned his existence, even though the scriptures tell us he was "blameless, upright, feared God, and turning away from evil (Job 1:1). Job quickly moves from stability and community acceptance to bitter self-loathing and accusations of God’s evil intentions toward him. He sounds very unstable. His “confessional” speeches reveal a man whose world has come apart, and he has lost his anchor of clarity. Early on he states "Why did I not die at birth...(3:11)?" "..My soul would choose suffocation, Death rather than my pains (7:15).
  • Jeremiah was crushed by the sufferings of his people. (Book of Jeremiah) The prophet-who was so esteemed that people even thought Jesus was him (Matthew 16:14) was so despondent at one time that he wanted to die. "My sorrow is beyond healing, My heart is faint within me (Jer.8:18)." AND-"Why did I ever come forth from the womb to look on trouble and sorrow (Jer.20:18)?"
  • David was called a "man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22), yet David languished in despair through various Psalms. "My soul is in anguish...The troubles of my heart have multiplied...My eyes grow weak with sorrow...My life is consumed with anguish...My soul is downcast within me...My heart is wounded within me...I was overcome by trouble and sorrow...My spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed (Various Psalms)
  • Elijah was exhausted from ministry and experienced loneliness. (1 Kings 19)
  • King Saul (1 Samuel 16: 14-23)
  • Jonah cried out to God, saying, "O Lord, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life." (Jonah 4:3).
  • Abraham (Genesis 15)

You will find many other Bible people showing the symptoms of this disease:

  • Hagar
  • Moses said "I alone am not able to carry all this people, because it is too burdensome for me. So if You are going to deal thus with me, please kill me at once..." (Numbers 11:15).
  • Naomi
  • Hannah
  • Solomon
  • Nehemiah
  • John The Baptist
  • Judas Iscariot
  • Paul
  • Jesus, yes, even Jesus who was like us in all things but sin, may have suffered depression. Messengers came to him, reporting that Herod Antipas had beheaded Jesus' beloved friend John the Baptist:

    When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. (Matthew 14:13, NIV)

    You won't find the term "depression" in the Bible, except in the New Living Translation. Instead, the Bible uses words such as downcast, sad, forlorn, discouraged, downhearted, mourning, troubled, miserable, despairing, and brokenhearted.

Here, we see evidence that these wonderful men and women of faith and commitment were so depressed that some even welcomed death. You can't get much more "blue" than that. Yet, they were loved and praised by God. WHY?

The Indisputable Value of Hurting

What does the Bible say about depression? What truths can we glean from God's Word about this condition?

I do believe that God intends for us to all live joyful lives, as The Bible tells us to be filled with joy and praise (Philippians 4:4; Romans 15:11)

I have known believers who think that being too happy in this life is a bad sign. This is not true! As long as that happiness is not an attempt to deny the realities of a broken world, our joy is a necessary gift from Him. The joy of the Lord is our strength and His promises should create an exuberant hope in us.

However, one benefit of sadness is that it often motivates us to work for change in this world. When our hearts are touched by stories of poverty, human trafficking, and sin’s other enslavements, we can choose to direct our emotions toward Kingdom work. Information is helpful, but emotion motivates.


God Is Not Angry About Our Depression

Somehow, it still feels wrong to be sad as a Christian. After all, the Bible also says to be joyful in everything and to count it all joy when you experience trials. Does the power of the resurrected Messiah provide an escape from depression? Truly, death has lost its sting and our Lord came to proclaim freedom and release for the captives. He is our comfort, so why do we still feel sad? Shouldn’t we expect happiness in this life?

Discouragement and depression are normal parts of being human. They can be triggered by the death of a loved one, illness, loss of a job or status, divorce, leaving home, or many other traumatic events. The Bible does not show God punishing his people for their sadness. Rather, he acts as a loving Father:

David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the LORD his God. (1 Samuel 30:6, NIV)

God Is Our Hope in the Midst of Depression

One of the great truths of the Bible is that God is our hope when we are in trouble, including depression. The message is clear. When depression hits, fix your eyes on God, his power, and his love for you:

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (Deuteronomy 31:8, NIV)

God encourages us to "call upon [Him] in the day of trouble; I will deliver you" (Psalm 50:15).

The grace of God in Jesus Christ is the sum of all hope (Colossians 1:5-6, 23, 27; 1 Timothy 1:1).

God wanted to make known among the Gentiles the glorious wealth of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).

Paul, a man who had more than his share of tribulation and suffering, proclaimed, "We have placed our hope in Him that He will deliver us again" (2 Corinthians 1:10b).

Counter the Stigma! Bring Depression out of the shadows!

We are stuck in the in-between where we feel both the loss of our original purpose and the joy of our present redemption. Ultimately, this lies at the foundation of our depression regardless of how it manifests itself in this life. We do right to seek relief, but never at the cost of asking deeper questions and gaining greater insights from our Wonderful Counselor.

May God give us the wisdom to respond to all of our emotions in a Christ-honoring way, even when that emotion is sadness or depression.

Christians who have committed suicide

Rick Warren’s son took his own life after a lifelong battle with mental illness.

In another church tragedy, Pastor Isaac Hunter, the son of the spiritual adviser to President Obama, took his own life. Hunter’s death made national headlines because of his megachurch father Pastor Joel Hunter’s influence on the White House, his marriage troubles and an undated suicide note found last year, but his death is far from the only pastoral suicide in recent months.

There were also reports of a pastor who was grieving his dead wife, who reportedly shot himself in front of his mother and son, expressing that he was hearing his dead spouse’s voice and footsteps. Pastor Ed Montgomery and his late wife, prophetess Jackie Montgomery, served at the Full Gospel Assemblies International church in Hazel Crest, Ill.

In November, a Georgia pastor killed himself in between Sunday services. Larrinecia Sims Parker, wife of the Rev. Teddy Parker Jr., found the pastor in the driveway of their home with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Houston County coroner Danny Galpin reports.

The list goes on.

Celebrities who made headlines with their suicides

David Carradine

Lee Thomas Young

Robin Williams

...to name a few

What does the Bible have to say about depression?

Millions of people, including Christians, suffer from depression every day. Depression can manifest as sadness, low energy, frustration, and extended misery. Very often, men manifest depression through anger and aggression. There are many different sources of depression and several types.

Situation depression is, as the name implies, brought on by adverse situations. Generally, the depression clears with time, as the situation is resolved or accepted. Situational depression isn't necessarily bad. Often, it's a reasonable and appropriate response to the pain of a fallen world (see Lamentations 3:1-18).

Clinical depression is an ongoing condition that lasts every day for most of the day and for longer than two weeks. Clinical depression interferes with day-to-day life at work, school, and home. Sleep habits are also disturbed. Clinical depression can be triggered by trauma, but it is not caused by medication or a medical condition.

Chronic depression is less intense than clinical depression, but can last much longer—two years at least. It's characterized by fatigue, sadness, and general malaise, and it can be punctuated by bouts of clinical depression. Chronic depression doesn't feel good, but it doesn't typically affect lifestyle or the ability to work.

Before the fall of man, there was no sin, no shame, no fear, and no depression. Depression is a result of the fall, and those who suffer from depression find that it has ramifications in all parts of human life—external, personal, mental, physical, and spiritual.

External
Depression has a strong genetic component; however, many depressive episodes are triggered by an external situation. The death of a loved one is a common trigger. Sustained stress, wintertime, and even a busy life can also lead to depression (Psalm 143:3-4).

Personal
Personal choices play a role in depression. It's been said that depression is sin, but it's more accurate to say that sin leads to and feeds depression. Depression can be caused by alcohol and drug abuse, indulging in anger and self-centeredness, and other self-destructive behaviors. Sin always has negative consequences, and part of any therapy for depression should include an analysis of what sins could be exacerbating the situation (Psalm 32:3-5).

Mental
Depression is driven by negative feelings, perceptions, and thoughts. Unbiblical beliefs about one's value and ability often contribute to depression. The Bible exhorts us to take thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5), to concentrate on the truth of a situation and not a faulty perception (John 8:32), and to rely on God's Word and not our feelings (Psalm 56:4). What a person thinks, feels, and chooses to believe, true or not, can have physical repercussions. Refusing to believe the power and love of God and concentrating on brokenness and pain would make anyone depressed (Psalm 25:4-5, 16-19).

Spiritual
Depression has a definite spiritual element. It can be one of Satan's tools to take Christians out of the work of the Kingdom. Depression can affect our view of God and sap our joy. It is impossible to live a Spirit-guided life without joy (Galatians 5:22; Philippians 4:4). Sometimes, depression may be caused by direct demonic activity (1 Samuel 16:14), but not always. How we handle depression is a highly spiritual matter. The Bible says to cast all our cares on God (1 Peter 5:7). A remedy for a "downcast soul" is to place one's trust in the God who saves. "Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God" (Psalm 42:11).

Physical
Depression can affect our physical bodies in several ways. An injury or illness can trigger depression and then hinder rehabilitation, causing a vicious cycle. Insomnia can do the same. Depression can also be caused by a simple brain chemical or hormonal imbalance that is easily solved with medication. Treatment may require an attack on several fronts—temporary medication to relax the body and relieve the mind, adjustments to the diet, confession of sin, and spiritual counsel.

Depression is a complicated, multifaceted condition. Being depressed is not inherently sinful, and depression is not always caused by sin, nor does it indicate a lack of faith. When depression strikes, the victim needs to make discovering the cause and treatment of the depression a priority.

Sometimes, the victim of depression can just ride it out, trusting that God will bring comfort and that the situation will change. Other times, counseling and medication are required. God desires His children to know joy. Bouts of depression can serve to bring us closer to Him through our struggles (Romans 5:3-5; 1 Peter 1:6-7). "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever" (Psalm 73:26).


How should a Christian deal with depression?

We live in a fallen world, one in which good things may come to an end. The tragic dimension of life will be present until the kingdom of God comes fully in Jesus' return.

The joy of salvation comes from realizing, again and again, that our sins have been forgiven and that we will live forever with the eternally happy God, who desires that we share in His joy.

We should show active love for God and others.

Love for God and others is essential because we all at some time or another find ourselves sucked into a vortex of morbid self-involvement, which keeps us from following the heavenly prescription given by the Great Physician, the medicine that many need above all else (Matthew 22:36-40).

“Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”
—Matthew 22:36-40

When we begin to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and demonstrate love to others, we find true hope in God's active love.

We should pray.

When you are so down it is sometimes hard to pray but if you can stand on God's word, He will not let you down. Fear could be what you are feeling most also. We fear what might happen, what are we going to do. Faith is hard to have when everything seems impossible but if we can rid our mind of the doubts and fears...the Father knows what ye have need of. That is a firm statement because He has said He would supply "our needs". Bank on that...He does not go back on His word...pray believing...let go of the fear (if you can) and if you can't pray at this point...simply whisper His name.


Remember Romans 8:38-39
FOR I AM PURSUADED THAT NEITHER DEATH NOR LIFE, NOR ANGELS, NOR PRINCIPALITIES, NOR POWERS, NOR THINGS PRESENT, NOR THINGS TO COME, NOR HEIGHT, NOR DEPTH, NOR ANYOTHER CREATURE, SHALL BE ABLE TO SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF GOD WHICH IS IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD.

Also Remember 2 Corinthian 4:8-9
WE ARE TROUBLED ON EVERY SIDE YET NOT DISTRESSED, WE ARE PERPLEXED BUT NOT IN DESPAIR;
PERSECUTED BUT NOT FORSAKEN; CAST DOWN BUT NOT DESTORYED.


Maintain strong faith in God!

There are some things that those who suffer from depression can do to alleviate their anxiety. They should make sure that they are staying in the Word, even when they do not feel like it. Emotions can lead us astray, but God's Word stands firm and unchanging. We must maintain strong faith in God and hold even more tightly to Him when we undergo trials and temptations. The Bible tells us that God will never allow temptations into our lives that are too much for us to handle (1 Corinthians 10:13). Although being depressed is not a sin, one is still accountable for the response to the affliction, including getting the professional help that is needed. “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name” (Hebrews 13:15).

8 Strategies for dealing with depression

Here are some practical strategies for helping others who are facing depression. However, never assume there are no medical issues that need attention.

  1. Describe the experience. Ask people to describe their experience of depression in vivid detail. People are different, so depression comes in many shapes and sizes.

  2. Identify the causes. Depression often is not just something we have, it is something we do. Invite people to examine their own hearts with this question: If your depression could speak, what would it say? What does it say about you? To others? To God? Depression is an active experience and can result from many sources other than the physiological: guilt due to unconfessed sin, false guilt, misplaced shame, ungodly fears, suppressed bitterness or hatred, hopeless grieving, and unbiblical expectations.

  3. Read and observe Scripture. Ask people with whom you work to study Psalms 42-43. How does the psalmist address God? What does he preach to himself?

  4. Act on the truth. Those who seek help first must accept the challenge of faithful obedience, even though they do not feel like it and are skeptical that anything will make a difference, it's important to have faith. Also, explain to them that progress out of the pit is step-by-step, bit-by-bit. Small, practical, consistent faith-based change occurs in the details.

  5. Look at lifestyle. Evaluate and provide recommendations for lifestyle problems, such as overworking, lack of exercise, sleep difficulties, procrastination, unresolved stressors, absence of spiritual disciplines.

  6. Resolve conflicts. Deal with troubled relationships, past or present.

  7. Get to work. Assign active loving tasks performed for the benefit of others. Helping others can provide a new perspective on life.
  8. See a doctor. Refer depressed persons to a Christian physician to rule out physical causes if a physician has not been contacted already. Persons who are already taking multiple medications may need a physician's care to avoid further complications. Finding a counselor may feel like an overwhelming

Remember that Jesus understands!

  1. Jesus understands our dark feelings, our doubt, our discouragement, and yes, even our depression; and his desire is to help us. Sometimes, the help we need might include professional counseling and antidepressant medication. After all, God created the minds that created these medications, and it is not a sin to take them if you truly need them.

    In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

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Suicidal Christians
Suicidal Christians

This powerful book is like no other. Written by a survivor of rape, abuse, kidnap, chronic illness, poverty and many suicide attempts, it is saving lives across the globe. ‘Suicidal Christians’ is a tapestry of gripping, graphic personal stories, poignant allegories, prayers between God and man and inspired practical advice. It is not only written to those who have lost the will to live, but also for anyone suffering depression, addiction, stress, chronic pain, PTSD, relationship difficulties, phobias and fears, and the aftermath of rape and abuse. It is for heartbroken people everywhere. In this exhilarating, moving and uplifting work, an appraised author lays bare the depths of her struggles.

 

Be an advocate for those suffering from depression!

I believe that we, as a Christian community, have often abandoned people who are in the depths of anxiety and depression. In order to avoid the messiness of it, we throw a Bible verse their way, expecting that to cure everything. In reality, we just don’t want to give the time to be present with people in the parts of their lives that don’t have an easy and quick solution.

In His teaching on the vine and the branches in John 15, Jesus says: "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command."

It’s hard for us to judge others on their use of psychiatric medications when we are loving them and laying down our lives for them as Jesus commanded. My hope and prayer for us today is that, as a Christian community, we can learn to come alongside those suffering from anxiety and depression. And instead of standing in judgment over the variety of ways God has gifted people in treating these issues, we can instead be an advocate in their journey out of them.


He is faithful and true!

I believe that God can and does heal in our current day. I also believe, however, that God offers strength in my weakness and, at times, allows me to grow spiritually, although not always comfortably, by allowing the “thorns” into my life, (2 Cor. 12:9).

The Bible says to consider it joy to endure trials,
I must say that there has been no joy in this trial.
It defies any previous experience known to me.
But I’ve been forced to trust God
when it seems like He has abandoned me.
I have been forced to come to a place
where I have trusted Him without feeling like doing so.
All I want to do is cry out that He had abandoned me,
that He is not faithful.
But He is faithful. And I know that.
He is faithful and true. He is Jesus.

If I'm a Christian, Why Am I Depressed?

God has a plan for our lives and can use our depression to catapult us into greater things.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you." (Jeremiah 29:11-12, NIV)

Christians get depressed, too!

© 2016 Gina Welds Hulse

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