Depression affects all of us.
It doesn’t matter if you personally aren’t diagnosed with clinical depression. It doesn’t matter if you personally don’t suffer from anxiety or other mental conditions. It doesn’t even matter if you don’t have someone in your immediately family with depression.
Depression still affects all of us.
Because we were made to live in community.
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” – Ephesians 4:2-6 (NIV)
We were made to support and wear each other’s burdens.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ … Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” – Galatians 6:2, 9-10 (NIV)
And what happens with one part of the community affects the rest of it.
“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ … If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” – 1 Corinthians 12:12, 26 (NIV)
What Community Does
I’m going to echo what Ali said at the beginning of this month: “As Christians, we should know that depression is not a result of lacking faith.”
For many who suffer from any sort of mental or emotional challenge/disability, I think it’s easy to feel that one has to hide it or can’t go to someone for help because of fear of being a burden, fear of judgment, exclusion.
But community doesn’t exclude.
Community welcomes. Community celebrates. Community guides. Community holds with comforting arms and helping hands.
We as a Christ-following community can do as Christ exemplified and wrap our arms around the hurting among us and say, You are seen. You are heard. We are here, together.
Why We Need Community
I’ve been a big fan of To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) for a few years now. Last year, for National Suicide Prevention Week, they launched a campaign called “No One Else Can Play Your Part.” I’ve been wearing the bracelet nearly every day since.
Today is #WorldSuicidePreventionDay. I love supporting @twloha — an awesome organization giving everyone hope — today and throughout the year. While I couldn’t purchase the #Tomorrow15 pack this year, I did wear my #NoOneElse14 shirt and bracelet today. I’ve worn this bracelet nearly every day since September 2014 and plan to continue doing so. Because, depression or not, anxiety or not, we ALL need to remember that No One Else Can Play Your Part. God created each of us uniquely and loves us wholly so we can spread that love and that hope in so many amazing ways. There’s always hope. If you ever need support, check out TWLOHA and *ask* someone for help. We’re made for community, and *you* matter. #WellSeeYouTomorrow
We each have a part.
A quiet part. A loud part. A leadership part. A behind-the-scenes part. A comforting part. A get-the-project-done part. All are valuable parts. And God created you (you!) to be your part.
Community helps us remember all of this.
I’m still trying to figure out community. How different communities work. How each part fits. How all of that naturally (and sometimes unnaturally) changes as people, events, and needs change.
But the important truth to remember when we’re not sure if we should seek community is that we each have a part in a community. That shows our necessity. We are needed.
But community also reminds us that other parts exist too, and we all exist to work together for our common goal. We are here to help each other succeed in sharing God’s Word and God’s love. It’s okay to ask for help. (Which doesn’t make asking for help easy, and we still have to ask for help with discernment. But we can ask.)
We’re here to care for each other and fight for each other. Because we love and are loved.
“But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.” – 1 Corinthians 12:18-20 (NIV)
Within the post above are multiple links to blog posts from the TWLOHA site. Read those posts. Share those posts. Share the verses shared in this post and more. Share hope and love, and please ask for help.