Christians living with depression
I am a spirit filled born again christian, I have a hope, a faith and know that I am accepted and loved. Yet, I also have a mental health illness. I have had depression, stress and anxiety on and off for almost 15 years now. There are times I'm on medication and treatment, and times when I'm not. There are good days and bad days but I am loved and accepted by God whatever day/season I face.
I do not have depression because of unbelief, lack of faith or lack of understanding of who God is. It is a chemical imbalance in my body. It is a physical illness that impacts my everyday life. I cannot just get over it, positively think or pray it away. The same when you have a stomach bug, pretending you don't have it doesn't work, carrying on as normal - will not be pretty.
Whilst I believe God does heal and indeed I have had emotional healing, I am not free from this illness (yet). It is not because I have not yet earned my healing, worked hard enough or completed my lessons of 'living with depression'. God does not work like that - He is a good, gracious and loving God. He does not work in human logic - He is not human. I therefore can trust Him to help me through each season, knowing He will never leave me. I believe that the bible is Gods word and what He says/promises is true.
'being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus' Phil 1:6
'So also will be the word that I speak--it will not fail to do what I plan for it; it will do everything I send it to do' Isaiah 55:11
'It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed' Deut 31:8
Depressive illness is not a punishment. There are different factors which has caused my depression and I am learning to live within my capabilities to remain healthy. It is not easy and can be so frustrating as I get worn out and tire quickly. I'm not happy to have depression - I do not like it, at all. Pain is still painful, being a christian it does not make me immune to the effects. I have a stress-filled life and I have lived like I was born to be on top speed all the time, incorrectly believing this is what God wanted or intended for me, but its not. I was created for God, to live in community with Him - it is not okay to put myself last on the list of daily demands. Inevitably, burn out/illness occurs.
I am Gods creation and He loves me, He wants me to depend on Him to meet my needs. Jesus had time out - He went away to pray and was refreshed by that time. He did not ridicule/shame Himself, He knew His limits and He looked after Himself whilst doing all that He did on Earth. I hold onto the truth, fighting with both hands to keep the peace God has given me whilst 'We' battle through this illness together. And some days it really is a battle to believe God is Good.
There can be stigma towards depression and christianity but it needs to be broken. The 2 can go side by side just like any other illness. There needs to be understanding over what depression is and acceptance that when someone has the courage to speak up, to listen.