Let me first preface by saying, if you have noticed me acting differently in the recent past...there's a reason for it.
It is something that has haunted me since some dark days back in 2008. I have tried to put it away, and act like it isn't there, but over the past weeks and months, I have been forced to realize that depression is a real part of my life. That's hard for me to write, as my pride has never wanted to be labeled... knowing what people often think about labels like this. Regardless of what I wanted people to know about me, in the midst exhaustion and stress, I now know that this is a problem I have to face head-on.
As a pastor, we feel that we must have it together 24/7. People look to us for leadership, for stability, and direction. While these things are true, I (and probably most pastors) believed the lie that I could be that person all of the time, and in all circumstances. Masking weakness becomes a skill of the trade, as crazy as that sounds. I want to say it out loud... "It's just NOT possible!" I wish someone would have told me that when I began in the ministry...but they did not.
Why write these things in a public forum? Not for sympathy... Not for publicity... I simply write this note for two reasons: 1) I KNOW there are many of you out there that are silently struggling with this same battle. I want you to know that you're not alone in the fight, even if it feels like it! That's what our enemy, the devil, wants us to believe. One of the most helpful things for me so far, has been to share what's going on with me. Admitting that you don't have it all together is quite freeing. 2) I NEED your prayer, and your support. I am so thankful for my amazing wife and kids, and brothers/sisters in the ministry who understand this fight and have been with me every step of the way. Obviously, the struggle goes on, but I know that one day, I will finally get on top of this. I am confident in my Lord, who says:
"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." -- Isaiah 41:10