- Being dejected, having prolonged sadness, gloom, withdrawal, feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy. Not always logical.
- Clinical—severe, disrupts daily routines, causes constant sense of hopelessness, and can be generational.
- Seasonal—also called the winter blues, can be caused by lack of sunlight and vitamin D.
- Manic (aka Bipolar Disorder)—severe changes in affect, moods swing from extreme elation to deep depression.
- Dysthymic disorder—chronic, but not severe. Also called low-level.
- Can be reactive/situational.
(This information was mainly gathered from The Quick Reference Guide to Biblical Counseling by Dr. Tim Clinton and Dr. Ron Hawkins, but I some of the information I gathered as a Psychology student at Liberty.)
When I started going to counseling, which I was afraid to admit due to my being a Christian and, worse, a pastor’s daughter, my counselor said something that really stuck with me. And that’s where we’ll start tonight.
She said, “Stephanie, I’d like to see you get angry.”
I looked at her like she was crazy. I thought, Wait… the Bible says something about anger … something like … don’t be. She must have read the confusion in my expression because she chuckled a little and said, “I’m not telling you to get angry at people or even situations; I want you to get mad at satan and the lies he’s put in front of you.”
So let’s talk about depression. We’ll start with some lies surrounding the topic, particularly in Christian circles.
- A Christian cannot be depressed, and she definitely can’t have clinical or chronic depression
- If a Christian is depressed, it’s because of some un-confessed sin in her life.
- Jesus should be all the healing you need; you don’t need to see a counselor.
- Depression is unbeatable.
- If you struggle/struggled with depression, God can’t use you to show His love.
Now, let’s disprove those lies with scripture.
- A Christian can be depressed. Here are some Bible people who experienced depression.
- David–Ps. 13:1-4; 42:3-5a, 7; 55:4-5
- Elijah–1 Kings 19, focus on v 4. This happened after Elijah called down fire, asking God to show His power. Then he had all the prophets of Baal killed. Jezebel, the King’s wife, didn’t like that very much and Elijah feared for His life. So he ran to the wilderness. Jeremiah
- Lamentations (a lament is a passionate expression of grief or sorrow). The name itself is pretty self-explanatory.
- Job–Job 1-3, focus on Ch. 3:1-7, 11-12–Job lost pretty much everything, and cursed the day he was born. However, He did find hope in the Lord.
- Sometimes, depression is due to un-confessed sin, but not always.
- 38 (the whole chapter, but focus on verses 4-8,10), Ps. 51:2-5,8,10-12,17. Here, David had committed adultery with Bathsheba. We’re not told whether he realized his sin before Nathan (the prophet) approached him, but when Nathan confronted Him, David said something to the effect of, “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Samuel 12:13).
- Yes, Jesus is the root of all healing. But He had disciples. God uses ordinary people to carry out His mission. He uses missionaries, lawyers, teachers, and doctors to reach people and bring healing. Why could He not use a counselor to help bring healing to a wounded soul? Check out 2 Cor. 12:7-10 (His grace strengthens you), Ephesians 4:11-16 (not everyone has the same calling, God uses us each as He sees fit).
- Depression does not mean defeat.
- Luke 1:78-79, 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
- God may allow you to go through some pretty tough stuff, but He won’t let you be crushed.
- Luke 1:78-79, 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
- God can use whomever He wants to use. Paraphrasing what a friend of mine said, “I love that God uses the most broken parts of me to be the brightest spots of my testimony.”
- 1 Corinthians 15:10
There are a few things I want to leave with you:
Every battle leaves scars, and your battle with depression is no different. But those scars are beautiful because they represent the places that were once open wounds. Those wounds are no longer bleeding; they’re healing. So, I want you to know that there’s a difference between depression and being defeated. Living defeated means you let depression run your life. So fight it. The power of your God and His heart fight with you. He gave you a spirit of power, love, and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7). There is always, always hope.
A letter to those who battle or have struggled with depression:
Every battle leaves scars; your battle with depression is no different. Don’t let your fear, your doubt, or even your church tell you that depression cannot happen to believers. Don’t let them tell you that your relationship with Jesus isn’t strong because you struggle with feeling dejected, sad, or inadequate.
There’s a difference between being depressed and being defeated.
Living defeated means you let depression run your life. Yes, fighting depression means you have some scars. Sometimes, scars still hurt; sometimes they show; sometimes they make you feel weak. But scars are beautiful because they are no longer open wounds. They were treated by grace, the love of your Savior, and maybe at the hands of a professional counselor. But please know that you are not “less than” because of your battle. There is hope for you, dear soul.
There is always hope.