“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
~ 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NIV)
Since starting this blog last year, one thing I have always strived for is to “keep it real.” I put myself out there because I believe that God wants to use my life experiences to help and bless those that he leads to this blog.
In the spirit of keeping it real, I want to talk this week about depression and anxiety. There are numerous biblical references to depression and anxiety, with the most prevalent being King David. It only takes reading a few passages from Psalms to see that he struggled greatly with these issues.
I, too, struggle with both of these afflictions and at times they impact my life more than others. The irony in all of it is that I am a joyful person by nature. You may ask, how can a person be depressed or anxious and joyful at the same time?
Because of my relationship with Jesus Christ, I have joy in my heart, even on days when I struggle in my head. Depression and anxiety cannot change the core of who I am as long as I keep my eyes fixed on Him and not my struggles in this world. Peter was doing just fine walking on water while he kept his eyes fixed on Jesus. It was when he shifted his focus to the storm around him that he began to drown. (Matthew 14:22-33 NIV)
In my own experience, I can say that clinical depression is not at all the same as sadness. For me, depression and anxiety, when not treated effectively, manifest in several ways. I lose interest in things that I once looked forward to, I struggle to get out of bed in the morning, I get anxious to be around crowds of people. I am not sad or anxious about something specific.
It’s not the same as being sad because of losing a loved one or being anxious over a test. It is more of a general state of being. Depression and anxiety are not character defects or the result of not having enough faith. Most of all, they are not a choice. Telling a friend or loved one struggling with depression to “snap out of it” is like telling a person who was shot to stop bleeding.
In the age of social media that we live in, we are bombarded with the “highlight reels” of people’s lives. Most often, they choose to exclude the struggles. Some of the most godly people in history suffered with depression. Elijah, Job and David were all faithful servants of God, yet their bouts with depression and anxiety are openly recorded in Scripture.
The Bible is “God-breathed” and He could have chosen to limit their stories to the “highlight reels,” but He did not. He shared their struggles in His Word to let us know that He sees the battles we are fighting today.
If you are someone who deals with depression and anxiety, please know that even if the people around you don’t understand, God does. Don’t suffer in silence. Seek medical attention and keep your eyes fixed on Him. You are not alone.