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Depression And Faith

Updated on February 2, 2014

Last night, as I searched the internet for depression resources for another article, I came across a rather interesting question:

What really scares us most? Are we truly afraid that we are weak and inadequate, beaten and unable to go on, or could it be that the thing we fear most is that we are powerful beyond measure?

Now that's a question I can sink my teeth into! It got me thinking about depression in a whole new light.

What is it that actually causes depression, that unbearably lonely feeling of utter defeat? What is the source of that crushing heartache we feel when we've exhausted every last bit of our strength and nothing seems to give us joy any more? Is it the thought that we can't go on, that our problems have reached proportions we cannot hope to manage, much less overcome, or the thought that we COULD go on, but would first need to make some drastic and probably scary changes to the way we approach life in order to free ourselves from fear and finally find true peace and tranquility?

When we feel deeply depressed, is it about a lack of courage, or about the nagging feeling that we have all the courage we need, only we're afraid of where that courage might take us should we find the stones to pull it out of the attic?

And is God really not listening to us when we pray late at night, or does he know that we already have everything we need to overcome our inner demons and is patiently waiting for us to discover that we're not nearly the weenies we think we are?

This line of thinking leads us to the true nature of the problem: What we're afraid of is not being afraid. Not being afraid would mean to test our own limits, rather than having the world test them for us. Not being afraid would mean to assume responsibility for our own happiness instead of entrusting someone else with the job of giving us everything we've ever wanted. Not being afraid would mean to draw our swords, charge into the darkness, and trust that we can beat whatever comes at us even if considering some of the scarier possibilities makes our knees feel like so much butter.

Besides, what if there's nothing bad hiding IN the darkness (the future)? When we enter a dark room, the Ghost of Bad Experiences Past leads us to assume there's something sinister lurking in the shadows - but what if there's nothing to fear at all? What if there isn't a demon cat just waiting to scratch our eyes out, a dresser with our baby toe's name on it, or a rabid raccoon chewing through our secret stash of retirement bonds? What if this time, what lay out there in the darkness is a wide open meadow filled with birds, flowers, and gentle animals, and all we have to do to see it is throw away the dollar store flashlight we've relied on all our lives and replace it with the light of a soul ignited by faith?

Ah, good! Perhaps now we've arrived at the root, the truth that might just hold the key to our liberation: The depressed heart's weak spot, the one real chink in its armor, is lack of faith. That, and nothing else.

We all need more faith. A LOT more faith, in fact - in God, in ourselves, in life. In angels all around us and the people we love the most. Maybe even in humanity and kindness and the possibility that there are still a few good people left on this planet.

Faith is the plank to clutch when we're afloat in a sea of sadness, the one thing that can truly erase our fears and heal the wounds left by every demon that's ever laid hand upon our spirits. Worry will not save us from drowning. Stress won't keep us alive. Weeping over what might have been only makes the waters colder. But faith...faith has the power to see us safely back to shore.

If we fill our hearts with the light of faith, there's not much room left for shadows. With faith, we can, one by one, reclaim all the little pieces of our souls that got left behind somewhere in the past, and all the ones we lost worrying about a thousand possible futures. And should we occasionally still find ourselves a little afraid along the way, we must remind ourselves that, hidden from view though it may be, the sun shines even in the night - and so does the light inside of us. It was put there by God. Only God can put it out. Have FAITH that He loves us enough to keep it burning.

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