I’ve struggled with depression for a long time, but this year it got really bad—to the point that I went on medication and have been seeing a counselor for a couple of months. Those two things have been extremely helpful and I have been feeling a lot better. However, it’s been super hard to pick things back up with God. Do you have any advice? I’m trying not to overwhelm myself, but even just going to church has been hard. What are some things I can do that will help?
Hey my friend, depression has been a lifelong struggle for me and it’s absolutely awesome that you sought help for your issue. Very few Christians are willing to do this because of the strange stigma of “Only God should heal you,” which as you know, is only said by people who don’t get it.
Please allow me the grace to first share a few posts with you:
I know there are no magic words to make everything instantly better, but I’ll share a few things that have helped. Please know I love you and God loves you and I’ll be praying.
- The Christian life is a journey, not a light-switch. Please have grace for yourself on that.
- Do NOT pressure yourself into a rockstar faith by setting an impossible standard for yourself. Jesus had some things to say about people who did this to others, and certainly we shouldn’t do it to ourselves. Don’t rush it.
- I totally understand that going to worship service can be uncomfortable and sometimes even harmful to recovering people — but also remember there is so much more to church than Sundays, and that Sundays are really the fulcrum starting point for deeper fellowship. Find a mentor, talk to your pastor, an older mature person, a group of friends, get involved in a team, and keep trying. Persevere with them. God tells us that one of the ways to overcome deep valleys of the soul is to rejoice with our fellow brothers and sisters.
- As simple as this sounds, simply get to know God. Be encouraged by His heart for you. Sometimes the simple act of intimate time with God (for even a car ride or a few moments in the morning) totally recalibrates my orbit back into His mission, and I’m empowered to know that the God of the universe loves me and has my back all the way.
- I have a habit of defining myself by my struggle instead of defining myself as part of God’s story. I’m not saying this is what you’re doing, but your struggle does have a direction and an end goal. Many of us just forget. There’s a time and place to rant, but also a time to regain perspective on what’s next.
- Go have fun. Seriously. When I get depressed, I don’t always need theology and discipleship and long lectures and inspirational speeches. Those are nice, but usually I just want a good burger and ice cream and a walk on the beach and a Netflix marathon and loud laughter about dumb things and cooking a Pinterest recipe for the first time. Don’t ever think this is shallow: this is life too.
- Find a need and serve the need. You are specifically wired by God to do something awesome as His force for good in the universe. You are created to speak something into the world that no one else can. I don’t mean you do anything to earn God, but that God is excited to work through you and is already orchestrating His purposes in you. I don’t mean that being “busy” is some cure for our condition, but that the victory over our struggles must also have a direction towards something better. Find a need, serve the need.