Around this time last year I made a commitment to learn all I can about fighting depression. It’s not a glamorous subject and not one I would have chosen. (I still find myself asking God “Are you sure?”) But this is the road I’m on. I have to do what I can to learn to navigate this road and learn to not just survive, but to thrive.
In my research, I’ve come across a thought that at first struck me as rather uninformed. Nobody who understands depression would ever say this. Then I saw it as just plain heartless. Nobody who has ever been depressed could ever say this. Now I see it as truth.
Depression can be a road to great blessings.
If you’re depressed you’re probably a little bit mad at me right now.
You’re thinking I can’t possibly know what depression is if I can see any good in it.
Let me assure you that depression and I are well acquainted. I don’t mind telling you that I fight depression on a very conscious level, on a fairly regular basis. That doesn’t mean I feel the effects of depression every day. It means I’m susceptible to it, and if I don’t want to be overcome by it, I have to fight.
I do know the darkness of depression. And I have come to see how God can and does redeem even something so dark, something that was intended to destroy. (<–tweet this)
Let me share some of the blessing I can see from where I stand.
It can force you to live more proactively:
Every single thing I’ve learned so far about fighting depression is something that everyone needs to be practicing, not just those who are depressed.
Here are just a few:
- Eating well–depression and food are powerfully connected.
- Exercise–research shows it to be as effective as, or even more effective than, prescription drugs.
- Cultivating a living, working faith in God. This is not to say if you’re depressed you’re not faithful.
- Maintaining a healthy social life.
- Taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ.
It’s easy to get complacent and miss out on the blessing that come with living well. Depression can be that motivator that gets you living well again.
It can teach you empathy:
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
It’s pretty clear that God wants us to comfort each other with the comfort he gives us. We couldn’t really do that had we never suffered.
It can give you a living testimony of God’s grace:
I know you may not feel like it now, but you have been made more than conquerer. God didn’t just keep Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego alive in that furnace. He was in the furnace with them The people around you need to see God’s faithfulness not only when he delivers you from this struggle but also while you’re in the midst of it.
It can draw you closer to God:
Even though there are things you can do to get healthier, it’s not a formula. You can’t do it by yourself. He is the only one who really knows what you’re feeling. He is the one who knows what you need and has the power and desire to provide it. When you abide in him, putting it all in his hands, you can truly learn to say “It is well with my soul.”
It can wipe out those self-dependent tendencies of yours:
You are going to have to learn to accept help from those around you. There’s no getting around it. And when you learn that, you’ll be much closer to abundant life, because God designed us to live in community.
I’m sure you can think of more that I haven’t mentioned here. What are some of the ways God is using your present darkness to surprise you with his grace, help those around you, and bring you closer to himself?
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