The Depressed Christian.

 

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I’ve been sad for a very long time.

At the height of my struggle with illness and consequent intense decline of my health, I sat numbly in a counselor’s office as I spoke the words, “I don’t know how to not be sad anymore.”

Over the past several years, I would come to describe myself as a very sad person.

I like to write out prayers. I have stacks of journals filled with them. I’ve always processed life better through written words. Which is one of the reasons I feel I have poorly chosen my degree’s intended profession.

I was sitting in the back of the classroom today and began writing out a prayer. And I told God that I was sad. That my heart is tired. That I am worn to my core. That I have nothing left.

I know He was not surprised by these words.

I taught my littlest ones today about the Psalms. I had them write their own. I fought back tears when I heard them read them.

I love the Psalms. The Psalms are God’s way of letting us know that it’s okay to be sad. He looks at the brokenhearted and He says, “I know.” And He doesn’t scorn our tears. Or tell us to feign happiness. The Psalms see this broken world and allow us to weep. They allow us to scream out, “Why?”

The past several years of my life have been really hard. Depression is a common symptom of chronic illness because your body was not designed to be in constant pain. The physical side alone can rob your brain of endorphins–not to mention the emotional toll it takes on your body and mind. There have been days–weeks–months, when I thought I would go insane from being trapped inside the torture chamber that was my own flesh.

There has been much disappointment throughout these past years. Loss and brokenness. The past few months have been hell to process through. Deception and mistreatment of such intensity is impossible to understand. The sadness emanates throughout every crevice. Not wanting to leave. Filling me with more lies–lies like, “Well, you were treated like trash because that’s what you are. And, guess what? No one cares.”

Lies are easier to believe when you are sad. Because lies make more sense with your reality than truth does.

Lies say “I don’t matter.” Truth says “I do.” Life says “You don’t matter.” God says “Yes, you do.”

As a sad Christian, I live in this tension–the tension between lies and truth. The tension between my reality and the hope of the gospel. The tension between everything I feel and everything that is true. And it’s really really hard.

I am afraid to hope because life keeps destroying me. I am afraid to dream because they never come true. I am afraid of receiving gifts because they get ripped away from me.

As they say–it’s okay not to be okay. It’s okay to be sad. But there’s always the added–“Just don’t stay there.” But what happens when you are stuck there? When the sadness will not go away? When you have been sad for years?

You keep going. By His strength. You keep believing. By His grace. You keep walking, or crawling. By His power. You keep choosing Him every day because, despite every sadness you feel, His Word holds true.

I am thankful for the joy the Lord gives me in the midst of my sadness. My joy is not feigned.

But this exhausted heart yearns for relief. I long for the darkness to lift. People tell you it’s only for a season. But when the season is 7 years and counting, I truly empathize with those of you who want to give up. I know I do. I don’t feel like God loves me. I don’t feel like He is with me. I don’t feel like He gives a crap about anything in my life. I feel like He left me a long long time ago. But, as always, feelings do not define truth. None of those things are true.

I pray the Lord gives you joy in the midst of sorrow. I pray He lifts the pain from your chest. I pray He lifts the fog from your eyes. I pray the sadness goes away.

But if not, He is still good.

I will praise Him in the sadness. By His grace, I will keep going.

Eagerly awaiting the day when He will wipe away every tear from my eyes. And sadness will be no more.

 

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