Since posting about my struggle with depression, I have been astounded by the number of people who have contacted me. I have listened to all kinds of stories, had many conversations, and added many to my prayer list. I now see that depression is a large-scale problem within our society. People of every walk of life, every socio-economic group, and age are affected by depression. I have spoken with teenagers, college students, young professionals, young parents, older parents, even some that are much older who deal with this silent assassin.
I use the term assassin here, because an assassin's job is to destroy life, and is usually sent for a specific reason. I firmly believe that depression is a tool that the devil uses in an attempt to draw our gaze away from Jesus, and focus our attention on an internal crisis. If you have ever dealt with depression, or anxiety, then you understand what I mean by the term, "internal crisis." When in the midst of this type of crisis, it is hard to know which end is up, and where to turn next. Seemingly common tasks become massive hills to climb. Going to work, the store, or even to church can be a battle. In my own life, in the midst of these attacks, I find myself having to quote a lot of scripture. Many times, I do not feel like I even have the strength to do that, and end up reading quotes from the Bible app on my smartphone. There is such power in the words of God...that the enemy has to leave. It is a relentless battle... the devil retreats, but often comes back quickly, and with more ferocity. It really IS a battle... one that is waged on the grounds of your very heart. Often, these attacks come without warning, and at inopportune times. My attacks seem to come most often at night. It may be something very emotional, or a thought that does not allow me to sleep. Whatever the intensity, or the emotion... in the middle of the night, it is easy to feel very alone.
The stories of those I have talked to are all very similar to mine. The devil wants us to feel alone, to feel unable to make a stand, to be unable to be used by God. If he can convince us with this lie, he will keep pounding that message home, again... and again. I spoke with one man, in particular, that shared his obviously deeply painful struggle with depression. I hurt for him, as I could hear in his voice the longing to be free from this pain. I pray for him every time I think about him. I pray that he, and the others I have talked to, will be able to see through the lie of being "on our own" in this fight. I fall for this lie, and I understand how convincing it is. You know the saying, "If you hear a lie enough times, it starts to sound like the truth"? This is exactly what is going on here. On a side note, please do not take this paragraph to mean that I think that depression is only spiritual. There are many components to depression, which is why it is such a difficult thing to deal with. Medicine, counseling, prayer, all have their place in treating this.
Why am I writing this tonight? I know how easy it is to simply write depression off as a "small" problem. I have heard people say that we should be able to "just get over it," or "if you had more faith in God, you could whip this." My reason for writing this blog tonight is to ask you to stop and pray for someone you know that fights depression each day. I cannot tell you how amazing it is to know that someone is praying for you. Send them a note, an email, or a text letting them know that you love them, and are praying for them today. Everyone can use encouragement like that! God often uses His people to be his hands and feet here on earth. Please do not ever think that you are bothering someone by letting them know that you are thinking and praying for them. Depressed or not, everyone needs friends like that! It is hard to feel alone when you are surrounded by friends that are lifting you up in prayer!
Thank you to all of you (many I know, and some that I do not know) that have sent me encouraging emails and texts. Thank you to those of you who have come by and asked me to hang out. It means so much! I have decided to be open, and public in this struggle. However, there are MANY out there that are trying to walk this road on their own. Ask the Lord to show you which of your friends or acquaintances might need some encouragement and prayer. What a way to show the love of God to those in your life!