I am a Christian and I battle depression
My battle doesn’t go away because I am a Christian.
But I was kinda taught to think it should …
Like somehow if people knew I was depressed and fighting off the next bout of anxiety or wave of unreasonable sadness, it would mean that God wasn’t good. That I had somehow let Him down or that He had let me down. That I wasn’t being attractive as a Christian.
You see I really, truly believe that life is better with Jesus than it could ever be without. I have a comforter, a saving grace. I believe that God gives me wisdom and grace to help me in every aspect of my life. Including depression. But I don’t want other people to get the wrong idea. I mean as a Christian I have the promises of God! I have a prosperous future. I am loved. So there would be no need for depression (if that was how depression actually worked). I was convinced that I needed to be strong in order to be a light to the world. This, my friends, was a lie. A lie I held true for so many years.
God uses depressed people… Moses, David, Elijah, Jeremiah
These are all great men of the Bible, Heroes of the faith and they each struggled with depression too. And it is not for lack of knowing their promises.
It is Jeremiah whom God actually tells “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 upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” - But that didn’t stop him from feeling alone and “lamenting”.
Moses dealt with a million complainers, he definitely had just caused to be overwhelmed.
David made many beautiful psalms but he also sang a sad tune from time to time - to time. He was hunted by the king, board with his palace, suffered the loss of a child and eventually, his own son sought to overthrow him. He had some rough times and he wasn’t always strong in joy and confidence.
There are many people in the Bible who struggled with their emotions. Even when things were going well, even when they personally heard the promises of God they struggled to find their joy. I guess that gives me hope.
I hate the bad days, I absolutely hate feeling so down and out. So I have made up a battle plan that, for now, helps me. I am sharing in hopes it will help you too. you too. David had bad days and he didn’t hide them. He wrote about them. He had great days too and he shared them also. He had a lot of emotions and feelings. He had challenges externally and internally. And that didn’t stop him from sharing it all. And it shouldn’t stop us either. I don’t get things right all the time. I mess up a lot. On my darkest saddest days when I feel alone in the world, that I have wasted my life, missed opportunities and there is just no point, I fight! These stories remind me to do just that. Which is why I am sharing my story. It is beyond hard to be so raw and exposed. But if I can be honest, I can help myself and maybe someone else battling too.
Tomorrow is another day. There are good days and there are bad days. It doesn’t mean I have lost my faith. It may mean I have forgotten my purpose. It may mean my heart hurts because of disappointment. But it does not mean I give up.
While I hate the bad days, I absolutely hate feeling so down and out. I have made up a battle plan that, for now, helps me. I am sharing in hopes it will help you too.
Often my feelings of sorrow and sadness are enhanced because of the express train of attacks happening in my mind. All the mistakes I have made. All the people who have let me down. All the shoulda coulda wouldas. And if I indulge in these thoughts - it deepens.
As my dad always says, the Word works. Philippians 4:8
“Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
Look, I know how hard it is to pull away for the negative thoughts express brain train. I also know it is key to helping me find my way back to myself - my true self. So I have found it helpful to have a battle plan.
Truth talk ->
I do indulge in these mindful attacks. I know better and yet sometimes it just happens. Some Days I don’t win. Some days I lose. Some days I let myself cry for the mistakes I have made and the people I have lost and the life I didn’t get. But tomorrow is another day. I believe joy will come in the morning and I go back to my battle plan. I am not strong enough to always start out fighting this mind train. But eventually, I get there. I curl up in a ball, I cry, I ask God for his peace, forgiveness, strength, and joy. And I wait for it to come. I can’t will it to come. It isn’t usually instant. But it comes.
So here is my battle plan. I hope it helps you too.
Memorize 3 - 5 scriptures that really mean something to you. That reminds you of the love and promises of God. Everyone is going to have different scriptures that mean the most or help with their direct battle. But I have added a list to the bottom of this page.
Print these babies out. Don’t rely solely on your memory. When the time comes you will need to see them and say them out loud.
Speak Life! This is so important. When my mind is racing and I am done letting it, I will verbally, loudly announce “STOP”. Verbally speak the scriptures that mean so much to you. There is power in your words. Use it.
Then I fix my thoughts just like it says in Philippians. I have some different scenarios pre-planned to dwell on. I may not be able to shut my mind off but I can redirect it. This can be about anything that is lovely, excellent, true.
Sometimes I focus on a really happy memory.
Sometimes I plan a trip to Europe that I have been dreaming about.
Sometimes I focus on something ahead on our calendar. Something to look forward to.
But there are some pitfalls.
Be careful not to think about what might have been.
Be careful not to think about what to expect from others (this rarely plays out favorably).
Pick your battle plan strategy now.
What are your scriptures?
Type them - print them - tape them to your walls, mirrors, inside cupboards, Refrigerator.
Find your happy thought. (No this cannot make you fly, you are not Peter Pan.) But you will need your happy thoughts to train your brain to focus on the good.
Yes, I am a Christian and I battle depression.
Some days I win. Some days I whine. Some days I battle and some days I just cry. And the most important thing to know is that it does not mean God loves me any less. My life is better because of my faith. I know He loves me. He has not let me down. And my deep sadness on dark days does not mean I have let Him down either. It does not mean I love Him any less - Just that I need Him more. I know He will help me through it. He always does. And He will do the same for you.