But why does depression plague God’s children? Is there a way to healing?
Recently I journaled through some of the seasons of depression I have experienced. I wondered if I could find any common threads.
I discovered two themes that ran through all of my struggles with depression over the years:
- I felt that in some way I had failed
- I felt that I had no control
That itty bitty sentence speaks volumes about the heart of depression.
I – The one thing I am consistently able do when I am depressed is focus on myself. Not in the sense of healthy self-care, alas. More like obsessive dwelling on problems and on my failings. Thinking about me, myself and I.
felt – Oh the feelings, how big they grow. Giant waves of emotion that submerge me with their unhealthy undertow. Feelings based on nothing tangible but the moment.
If I lived life ruled only by feelings? I would never escape the cycle of depression.
Depression is a Liar
Depression tells you that you are a failure. That everything is hopeless. That nothing really matters, especially you.
The father of lies is the enemy of your soul. Jesus Himself said of Satan:
When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44 b
But when you have chosen Jesus, you have become a believer in Truth. He is truth.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
A person with Jesus in her heart can fight the lies in the most powerful way – with the truth of who she is in Christ.
Who You Are in Christ
The lies of depression take your eyes off God and laser-focus them on yourself and your situation. Feelings of failure and hopelessness blind you to truth – the truth of who God sees when He looks at you.
When you accept Jesus Christ as Lord of your life, you become a new creation! (2 Corinthians 5:17) God’s Word is replete with descriptions of who you are in Christ.
Here are just a few verses that describe the spiritual truth of your identity in Christ:
- You are a child of God. John 1:12
- You have peace with God through Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1
- You are free from condemnation. Romans 8:1
- Nothing can separate you from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus! Romans 8:38-39
- Your sins have been forgiven. Ephesians 1:7
- Once you were darkness, but now you are light in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 5:8
Understanding the truth about who you are now that you have been rescued from the dominion of darkness (Colossians 1:13) will transform your worldview (Romans 12:2.)
Print out this extensive list of more than 100 verses that show your true identity in Christ and keep it where you can read it every day. Spend time studying each Scripture, praying that God would reveal His truth to you.
There are no caveats to these truths. The Word does not say “You are a child of God… as long as you are perfect,” or “You have peace with God… on the days you are feeling peaceful.”
Don’t let your emotions alter the truth.
Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. John 17:17
You Are Not in Control
Life is a hard road that sometimes veers through the terrain of depression, grief, and suffering. You can’t control this. It is part of living in a broken world on this side of heaven.
Taking the time to understand who you are in Christ does not place the responsibility for healing from depression on your shoulders. Yes, read the truth! Steep yourself in the Word. Speak Scripture aloud, read it daily, play it instead of music. But beware of subtly shifting the focus back to the wrong place – you and your own efforts.
When depression is profound, you can not be the primary agent in your healing. Jesus Himself is your healer.
Understanding your identity in Christ will help you keep your eyes pointing in the right direction – toward Jesus and truth – and open the way to healing.