“And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord” Psalms 35:9
Talkin’ to myself and feelin’ old
Sometimes I’d like to quit
Nothin’ ever seems to fit
Nothin’ to do but frown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down
Funny, but it seems I always wind up here with you
Nice to know somebody loves me
Funny, but it seems that it’s the only thing to do
Run and find the one who loves me (the one who loves me)
©Roger Nicholas & Paul Williams
Do any of you remember this Carpenter’s hit from 1971? Its melancholy tune and heartfelt lyrics could fuel what was already of dreary day. I’d play that single over and over in some sort of “hurts so good” despair. I was depressed when I didn’t even know it was depression.
I’ve endured many seasons of depression. Years ago these were debilitating and my Christian community didn’t know how to help me. For years it was only addressed as a spiritual battle. Circumstances fueled the flames of my bitter despair and hopelessness. With this genuine clinical affliction, low doses of anti-depressants were necessary to help me navigate the murky waters.
Most of the time however, my depression has been a low-grade affliction. My melancholy temperament is definitely affected during times of low sunshine, and long stretches of rainy days can put me in a funk that’s hard to shake. But even this low grade depression hurts.
I’ve got my “joy” verses standing by my side and I am battle-ready with “The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.” Psalm 28:7. I repeat to myself “happiness is based on happenings, but joy is a fruit of the spirit.” I am aware that many great men from Charles Spurgeon to Winston Churchill have experienced depression of some kind. I recognize this emotional fog is stubbornly clouding my hope. I get this is a part of everyday life in a fallen world. But I still suffer with this “anti-faith”, “if-you-really-believed” disease.
The stigma and shame in the Christian community can prevent me from total transparency when I am in a particular season (or even day) of struggle. I can fake a “yellow” temperament and muscle my way through my days for the most part. Isaiah even tells us, “He was…a man of sorrows… acquainted with grief”, but we despise this very sorrowful attitude within a believers life. We want to exclusively spiritualize the battle of depression with a false sense that we can pray our way “out.”
I don’t have “the” cure for Christian’s with depression. But, I can also say with confidence that my depression has caused me to desperately pursue God. I know that even my regenerated heart is not immune from my desperate need for grace in this area. The realization that I am “fearfully and wonderfully made” with a bent towards cheerlessness only enlightens my senses that God alone can revive and comfort my soul. “Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles.” Psalms 119:50 Some of the greatest works of God in my life were born of some of my greatest bouts of depression.
Depression is complex and can manifest not only in our emotions, but physically as well. Add a spiritual aspect and it becomes impossible to separate every nuance of depression into neat categories. No, I don’t have “the” cure for Christian’s with depression. But I know the One who sustains us in any season.
I want my struggle to reveal how God is working in my life. I want my friends to recognize the sustaining character of God reflected in how I walk “in” the storms. I need His transforming work. I need His daily bread. I need to apply the theology of my weakness and combat my fears with the theology of His power. This is the beautiful gospel! Even so, Ray Ortland reminds me “this beauty-talk doesn’t immunize Christians from sorrow and depression”. So each day I run and find the One who loves me!
“What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity.
There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God” Ecclesiastes 2:22-24
Don’t forget today starts our five weeks of Monday giveaways. Subscribe to the BLOG or Share or Like on Facebook and enter to win. Winners will be announce every Friday.
The first giveaway is a handmade quilted wallet from Counting Treasures etsy.com/shop/stitchinghook. My friend Wendie does amazing work and not only is it beautiful, there are 8 credit cards slots, 2 large cash/receipt pockets and a zippered coin pouch. It has a sturdy snap and a quick grab-and-go strap for when you don’t want to mess with a purse.