My spirit was grieved heavily the other day by depression. I grappled to understand why I was feeling disconnected from God, and I felt very peculiar. When I started to generate ideas for this article, I wasn’t quite sure where my thoughts would take me. Should I write about suffering and examine Bible verses from Hebrews? Or should I try to address the myriad of Biblical characters who have all been subjected to feelings of despair?
It seemed to be that I was trying to make a connection between human suffering and mental illness. Or was I trying to understand how some Christian leaders view depression as a consequence of unconfessed sin?
You see, I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for many years. Admittedly, my conditions are relatively manageable. I hold down a full-time job and take care of my family. I have never been so inclined to abuse drugs, although I used to binge drink. Sometimes I drink too much coffee- I do this to help restrict my calories (I have struggled with anorexia and bulimia). Other than that, I manage well without prescription medications. I don’t wish to take psychotropic drugs. Not only have I experienced a plethora of unsettling side effects, but I just lost faith in antidepressants. Even the few that seemed to temporarily lift my mood, gave me inauthentic happiness. “Happiness” that was manufactured by man, corporate entities.
Just as I’m certain that events and images from our lives are captured and stored in our psyche, I also believe that any of those “screenshots” from our sin and disobedience can manifest in a dream. They manifest to the believer, perhaps, if that part of yourself hasn’t been fully surrendered to God.
Not in every situation, but on this particular day, over the course of several hours of personal reflection, I came to realize what I hadn’t surrendered. Does this occurrence alone lead me to believe that all depression comes from unconfessed sin? The Bible directs us towards examples of people who sinned, were separated by God, they didn’t seek his restoration, and thus, were alone to fend for themselves. Had they confessed their sins (which some of them did confess), they would have known the power of His grace. It’s something we all can experience!
In my own life, I can remember wanting to not carry on. I was 17 at the time. My beloved grandparents had passed away and I wasn’t prepared to face their death. In our family, we didn’t see death as a process, we didn’t explore grief, let alone talk about it. The way we observed death was immature. Some in my family turned to alcohol…instead of God. Nobody besides my grandparents seemed to know of God. Alcohol was the way to handle uncomfortable emotions. It was used to enliven bitter souls. In the end, those raw emotions were left untouched. Those emotions demanded more attention- Godly attention, but I turned away, just as many around me at the time did as well.
As I have stated before, I believe depression can be the result of spiritual attacks and physical vulnerability. There seems to be strong Biblical evidence pointing to unconfessed sin and disobedience too. Now when I feel depression creeps up on me, instead of turning away from God, I tune in and try to hear His wisdom on the matter.
In just the passage of a few days, I’ve gone from feeling heavily burdened and peculiar, to feeling content. I’m neither too elevated, nor too depressed. I wish I could feel this balanced all the time. But, I’m also glad that when I need to examine my heart, God cares enough to allow my heart to feel burdened.
My inspiration for this subject came from my dreams and personal reflection. Prompting by the Holy Spirit lead me to search for truth. One website I discovered for enlightenment is the Biblical Counseling Institute.