Can I Believe in God And Be Depressed?
Today’s post is for #BellLetsTalk day. If you’re a reader from outside of Canada let me explain. Bell Let’s Talk Day is an initiative that Bell Media took on to help de-stigmatize mental health issues.
It is radically changing the climate within our country to help see people with mental health issues like people with any other physical sickness. Not to be pitied, insulted or looked-down on, but to be loved, cared-for and helped. I pray this post helps to initiate conversation, provide resources but most of all set some people free in the body of believers!
Why am I so depressed?
Why this turmoil within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will still praise Him,
my Savior and my God.
~Psalm 42:5, 11 & 43:5 HCSB
When I was a teenager, I was such a happy-go-lucky kind of girl, always seeing the glass half-full. I remember reading through the book of Psalms and thinking
What’s wrong with David? This guy really needs to get himself together. One minute he’s singing God’s praises and the next he wants to die. Doesn’t he believe in God? I mean, his whining is recorded in the Bible? How did this part get in there?
It wasn’t until I experienced a deeply wounding marriage, ending in a bitter divorce with many legal issues that I understood the depths of despair, depression, and anxiety that David faced. I’ve been decimated emotionally, relationally, financially and spiritually countless times.
It sometimes feels like when I finally climb out of one pit there’s a crater waiting around the corner, trying to pull me back down. Add menopause to the mix and you’re walking on thin-ice emotionally! If it weren’t for God’s presence and His Word I really don’t know what I’d do… and I don’t want to find out. I know it wouldn’t be a pretty picture.
Psalm 42 and 43 are taken from the pages of David’s journal but after the last decade or so of my life you could’ve sworn they were stolen from my diary. I feel comforted to know that David is someone God himself describes not once, but twice in His Word as “a man after his own heart”; even with all the whining! This portion of Scripture starts off with a song we often sing in church:
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul longs after You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, the living God. Psalm 42:1-2 NIV
My heart has been crying out this song since it released in the late 1980’s1 but it wasn’t until the latter part of my life (not that I’m near the end yet J ) when I understood David’s back and forth struggle with staying positive. The balance of trusting God as my refuge, redeemer and rescuer when the rough times keep cycling through.
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why the unease within me? Put your hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the salvation of His presence. ~Psalm 42:5 Berean Study Bible
So, if you’re asking the question…
Can I Believe in God And Be Depressed?
Let me answer a resounding, YES!
The phrase ‘depressed believer’ isn’t just a paradox but often a reality
[tweetthis]The phrase ‘depressed believer’ isn’t just a paradox but often a reality. #depression #bellletstalk[/tweetthis]
In case you think maybe just you, me and David were the only people who have ever believed in God and experienced times of being down, discouraged or depressed, let me help you see reality. With just a quick study I found over a dozen people in the Bible alone who struggled with the same feelings we have. Who makes the list a baker’s dozen should really make you feel like you’re in good company.
A Baker’s Dozen of Down, Discouraged or Depressed People In The Bible
- Leah Genesis 29:31-35
- Rachel Genesis 30:1-3, 22-24
- Jonah Jonah 4
- Job Job 1-3; 10:1, 30:15-17
- Naomi Ruth 1-4
- David Psalm 42-43
- Writer of Ecclesiastes Ecclesiastes 1-3, 12
- Hannah 1 Samuel 1
- Jeremiah Jeremiah 20:14-18
- Elijah 1 Kings 19
- Moses Ex 18; Ex 32:32
- Paul 2 Corinthians 4:8-16
- Jesus Isaiah 53:3; Mark 14:34-36; Luke 22:44
All of these people believed in God yet struggled with emotions of being down, discouraged or depressed. Think, even Mother Teresa’s diary revealed times of deep despair.2 I’m NOT saying that God wants you to be depressed or that it’s a good thing. My point is… the enemy wants you to feel like you’re the only one who struggles like this, like you’re weird, have no faith or that maybe you don’t really believe in God. You have to let truth remind you that he’s a liar!
YOU’RE NOT ALONE!
[tweetthis]YOU’RE NOT ALONE! #BellLetsTalk #mentalhealth #depression [/tweetthis]
Let me also tell you that the same God who allowed those people to experience hardship and heartbreak, is the same God who carried them into victory. God has done the same for me and He wants to do the same for you! God doesn’t want to leave you where you are. He has so much more for you! David wrote of his emotional struggles yes, but he also wrote about the joy of the Lord.
weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. ~Psalm 30:5 NIV
God desires to bring us all THROUGH our difficult times and replace them with seasons of happiness. Until then, we have His Word, His presence, and His joy to be our strength!
RESOURCES TO HELP YOU RISE ABOVE
To help you not get stuck in the desert but travel through the feelings of being down, discouraged or depressed I’ve created some resources for you.
Subscribe to receive a printout of Scriptures to soak in your spirit and refresh your soul. These are all verses that God has used to lift me above my circumstances and trust Him for greater days ahead…I mean we are promised heaven, aren’t we folks? 🙂
Since I am often asked for resources to help with depression or other mental health issues, I created a whole page on my site to help you and your loved ones.
Praying 2019 is a Golden Year of new joy and many blessings for you!
WHERE YOU CAN OFTEN FIND ME LINKING UP MY BLOG WITH OR PLACES WHERE MY WRITING HAS BEEN FEATURED
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Here Again (Extended Version) | Live
Makes Me Feel: PEACE, Comforted knowing God is with me
Sung By: Elevation Worship
CD: Live Recording at a Gathering
Written By: Marty Nystrom
Youtube Video – Live Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfLcdBuB7NY
As The Deer
Makes Me Feel: Worshipful, Wanting to get closer to God
Sung By: Marty Nystrom
CD: We Draw Near
Written By: Marty Nystrom
Youtube Video With Lyrics: https://youtu.be/a5pZkLWZv-E
Youtube Video by Marty Nystrom: https://youtu.be/tdY4Nx0EprI
- https://youtu.be/a5pZkLWZv-E Youtube Website Accessed: 2019-01-27
- http://www.mentalhealthjustice.net/blog/2016/3/14/53sdjv7bzb4g3cdwqw2b97mwi2ppls website accessed: 2019-01-30