God is the lover of our souls. He is concerned with how you feel, because He knows that your feelings are a good indicator of the state of your heart, the real you on the inside. This doesn’t mean that your depression is a result of hiding a big sin like David. Your depression may be the result of legitimate painful life circumstances; the death of a loved one, the rebellion of a child, poor health, intense longing, persecution from evil people. But often in life, how you respond to your circumstances reveals what is broken, or sin-warped, in your life. Your feelings are like a painting, displaying the heart of the artist.
For instance, when I was teaching Bible to public school middle-schoolers in a program called Released Time, I got myself into trouble (as usual) by talking before thinking. I used a few four-letter words, not in context, but as example. You know how middle schoolers are obsessed with cussing? Well, these kids were no different. They wanted to know if it was wrong to cuss? I asked them if their parents allowed it, and most said no, so I told them it would be disobeying mom and dad, hence wrong. But to the few who had parents that didn’t care, I had a few more words to say. My intent in using the words wasn’t to shock, after all they hear these words on TV every day, but to clarify. Anyway…the powers that be heard through a parent of one of the kids who was offended, that the Released Time teacher was cussing, blah, blah, blah. This episode, though common to my life experience, sent me to bed in a funk for two days. It would have been longer, but my husband acted the part of the prophet Nathan and told me to quit feeling sorry for myself, and make him dinner. What was happening to me? I was reacting to a circumstance that was not sinful on my part. But, my reaction revealed how much I thought about ME! I thought I was so hip and wise to talk “trash” with the kids and reason with them, that when I was critiqued, I got depressed because others did not view me as brilliant as I viewed myself. My bed-ridden self showed me I had a deep problem. PRIDE. Confession for what my depression revealed, helped me return to my daily responsibilities with a little more humility. And humility is never a bad thing.
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. (James 1:2-4 The Message)
Reflect on your depression. Don’t run from it. Let God use it to reveal your true colors. If you don’t like the picture your depression is painting, let God gently take the brush for a while. Submit to His scrutiny. He knows how to paint a masterpiece!
Depressed people in the Bible: Cain, Hannah, Jesus, Elijah, David, Paul
2 thoughts on “What picture is your depression painting?”
Thank you Cindy. Those are super suggestions!
Wow, great post! And right on about the pride thing. How wise of your husband to know just what you needed. Some other things that have helped me, as I tend toward the depressive, and sometimes for no apparent reason . . .
Many physical pressures (time of month, oncoming storm system, hormonal imbalance, need for sleep, need for exercise, and others) can cause depression. Somehow, just knowing something like this might be the cause helps me to let go of the funk.
Diversion. It’s hard, but stop moping and do something. (Like fixing dinner, for example.)
Contemplate on what the cause might be. Causes aren’t always easy to find. Often I’ve realized that some task I was dreading and putting off was the cause of depression. Do the taxes and you really will feel better.
Remember the suffering of others. Pray for the persecuted church, for people you hear about in the news who have suffered a disaster, for anyone you can think of who needs it. I don’t mean to derive comfort in saying, “well, at least I’m not as badly off as they are”, but rather to get a grip and realize you have it pretty good after all and don’t need to be thinking of yourself all the time.
Finally, if you really do have it as bad or worse than anybody you know of, remember that God is there and He won’t let you fall, nor will He abandon your loved ones though they suffer, too, and that He will reward you so amply that your joy will make the suffering unworthy to compare with it.