Depression Tries to Keep Me Silent
Do you know of any speakers or writers that CURRENTLY struggle with depression? Most I have heard tell of how God healed them. Talk about "when they were sick," but now they are well. And it breaks my heart to say it, but, the only few Christians that I knew who spoke out about their battle, have now taken their own lives. This world is in DESPERATE need of Christians to speak out about their experience with mental illness. You have a story to share and trust me, people need to hear it.
Depression whispers lies to me that say "you have nothing of value to say." "You are unqualified to speak, you're still sick." "Other people can say the same thing as you but SO much better than you would." "You have nothing new or special to say." "What you want to say is too hard for people too hear." "No one wants to hear about your struggle... it's too...depressing."
Depression led me to compare my worst moments with others' perfectly edited highlight reels. "I'm not as smart as her." "I'm not as popular as her." "I'm not as pretty as her..."
Depression also makes the negative criticism that goes along with sharing on social media very painful. The negative comments feed the lies and seem to confirm just why I shouldn't speak out. I have had kind, well intentioned friends, discourage me from using social media because of how fragile I am. How sensitive I would be to any negativity.
I have listened to those lies for far too long! They still shout at me, but now I am learning how to fight them and win. I'm learning that it's not me who makes my words accomplish anything. It is God alone who can move hearts and encourage souls.
When I was at a very low point in my depression I ordered every book I could find about it written by Christian authors. One book was written about Charles Spurgeon titled "Spurgeon's Sorrow," and it describes his battle with depression. At the time I hated the book. It left me feeling hopeless. He was an amazing man of God who had intense faith. God used him to save many many souls for His Kingdom. BUT Spurgeon struggled with depression on and off his entire life. He was never made completely well.
At the time I could not imagine struggling with depression this heavy my entire life. It felt like a death sentence. It stole my hope. I wanted so desperately to believe that God could heal me and make me truly well. God could make me well, but what if he didn't? Could I endure that?
In 2019 I thought God had healed me. I felt truly, completely, well for the first time since my son was born in 2013 when my depression started. But then COVID hit and... racial injustice, riots, political unrest, homeschooling my children, sickness, death... wow was 2020 hard on my mental health. In fact, I don't think there is a single person who survived this last year without a blow to their mental health. But for me, with a baseline of depression, it knocked me down again. I was so discouraged... hadn't God made me well? Why wasn't I still well?
God has changed my perspective this last year. He can help me feel well and use me for his purposes, in spite of my illness. What I failed to recognize about Charles Spurgeon's story is that despite his constant internal battle with depression, God used him to do great and mighty things. If God could use Spurgeon, even though he was a sinner with depression, than He can use me too!
I don't need to have my act perfectly together to serve God. He can speak through me even though my life is stilly messy at times.
Even when I fight my thoughts and feelings that threaten to beat me up. God does heal, sometimes he doesn't. God can make me, even with depression, feel better. I will NOT live ALL my days in the depths of despair. Christ did come to give me life abundantly here on earth and one day in heaven above. God has taught me healthy coping mechanisms to use that make me feel better.
God can do the same for you! He loves you, mess and all! You don't have to be healed or perfect to bring glory to God. In fact, believe it or not, most of us are struggling in some way, shape, or form and we're just too afraid to share our mess with the world.
Do you struggle with mental illness? Do you struggle with a physical illness? Do you struggle with a sin you think you cannot break free from? God wants your voice! The world NEEDS your message. This world is a dark place, let your light shine for all to see, for the glory of God. What would this world look like if we all let God's light shine through us more?
"In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."