Are You Winning the Battle of Depression?
There is a myth in the minds of many Christians that we should exude joy and live free from the emotional ooze that can wreak havoc on our lives. At the point sin entered the world; we suffered a fracture in our mind, will and emotions. The side effect of life in a fallen world is hijacked emotions—even in Christians. Over the years I’ve counseled with people going through what I like to call a dip in life. We’ve all had periods of time in our lives where things have happened that caused a dip, or a downtime in our lives. The thing about dips is you can’t avoid them. I’ve found its better just to expect them. You can’t go around them; you can’t go over them—you’re going to go through them.
There are a few things you need to know about dips so that you can successfully navigate them in order to avoid hijacked emotions. It’s interesting how some people can face dips and get stuck, while others overcome and press forward to success by allowing God to use those dips in their lives for His good. It seems like some people are wired to fall into dips more easily while others, by disposition or personality, seem to ride right through the dips.
For example, let’s look at the current economic downturn and the dip it’s caused in the lives of many people. Some have experienced dips such as job loss, a cut in pay, or some form of financial insecurity. Dips can lead to hijacked emotions—anger, guilt, fear, disappointment, discouragement, worry, frustration, anxiety and depression. The danger in a dip is the temptation to stay there. If you stay there for very long, depression can become your companion.
It is important to realize that depression is a medical condition and does not serve as an indicator of a person’s level of spirituality. Depression doesn’t make you less of a Christian. Bible greats like Jeremiah, and extremely influential Christian leaders, such as Martin Luther, experienced depression. It is a condition of our fallen state.
If you are experiencing depression, acknowledge the fact that you are depressed. Don’t deny it. Don’t deceive yourself into believing that it will just go away with time. While it may eventually pass with time, you shouldn’t risk it potentially becoming a constant in your life. Emotional responses—including depression—can affect your ability to relate to people, to do your job and make an impact on your quality of life. If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, I encourage you to see a physician and get a psychological evaluation. Your treatment may require medication and therapy. Don’t waste your life in a dip. God has provided a way out.
Over the years as I have provided counsel, I’ve often turned to Psalm 27. It says, The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? The Psalmist David had a lot of dips in his life. David says three significant things here: God is my light, my salvation, and my strength. In terms of living an intentional life in Christ, God wired us for our head, our heart, and our hands to be aligned and balanced. Light takes us out of darkness and provides us with a sense of direction. Light brings out the truth and it is something that we have to know and accept in our head. It’s not an emotion; it’s fact. If I don’t realize that God is the Light of my life, I can lose my grasp on the truth in the dip.