How many of you struggle with feelings of darkness?
Perhaps it is just a heavy spirit like I woke up with the other morning or it could be a heaviness that is consistently part of your life. Darkness feels like a cloud in the form of melancholy or a pessimistic perspective.
These feelings can be related to a mild form of depression. In a serious form depression can be a clinical mental illness – in a milder form it will suck the life out of you, keep you from living in joy and experiencing victory in Christ.
My journey did not include clinical depression but as I describe in Beyond Head Knowledge ‘In a rather inexplicable way, I felt a dark cloud surrounding my life, confused about my direction, sensing God was distant and far off. Deep inside I questioned if God was even on my side, because so often everything I thought I would do for Him did not happen. At times, I even sensed that perhaps He was purposefully blocking my way. In all my good Christian acts of Bible reading, Scripture memory, and the desire to please God, I still felt a deep darkness surrounding my very soul.” (p32)
In his book, Depression: Looking up from the Stubborn Darkness, Edward Welch describes depression as
- Absence of feeling
- Inability to make decisions because the ‘mind is locked.’
These are the exact feelings that I describe throughout the rest of chapter 2 of Beyond Head Knowledge. Since the time of publication 3 years ago I have done a bit of psychological reading and study through Light University. The more I read and understand the more I recognize the issues I was struggling with were both mental and spiritual. How thankful I am that God prompted me (by His Spirit) to turn to Him rather than a psychiatrist. I believe in psychiatry but I also believe that my own testimony speaks to the fact that God is still at work in our daily lives, He still can heal our minds and bodies when we seek Him.
Welch also writes that ‘depression does not necessarily have a spiritual cause if, by spiritual, we mean that it is caused by our own sin. But there is a broader meaning to the word spiritual, and in this sense, your depression is always and profoundly spiritual. Spiritual can refer to the very center of our being where our basic allegiances are worked out. Who is God? Do we trust him? Why is He allowing this to happen to me? How can I trust him when he seems so remote and unresponsive? There are spiritual questions that, in many ways, identify us as human beings.’Depression affects our spirit man - our deep center which communes with Father God Click To Tweet
I found this description of depression to connect the dots between our spiritual lives and our mental struggles. God is a very present help in trouble – not just physical trouble, but also in the renewing of our minds.
Life Coach Moment
- Do you struggle with any of the characteristics of depression listed above?
- If you don’t struggle with any of those God bless you! I am so thankful that God has given you a peaceful mind.
- For those of you who do struggle with some of the issues listed above, how do those struggles affect your spiritual life? Do they leave you with questions for God? Write your thoughts down in a journal and pray for God to speak to your heart.
- Find someone you can trust to talk to about your struggles.
Renew Your Mind in Truth
I love the passage from Psalm 139
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
In what ways do these verses speak to the darkness of your mind? When you read the Psalms you can find Kind David as a man of great emotion. He brings his struggles to God in the form of writing. David had questions and internal struggles. In the same way David did, you too can go to God in your darkest moments.
God was faithful to help King David and He will be faithful to help me. I am not a victim to darkness, with God I can overcome. Click To Tweet
(Depression causes you to feel alone and cut off from others, as if no one understands you, therefore it is important to remind yourself that other people have made it through this. God is always faithful to help. Sometimes He uses the words of Scripture, the friendships of others, or a doctor’s medicine.
Abba Father, Thank you for your love and care. I feel like you are distant and far away, but I want to believe that you are my very present help in the battle for my mind and emotions. I want to draw close to you. Please shine your light on my darkness so that I might know you more. Amen.
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- How Depression Affects our Spiritual Lives - April 28, 2017