Hey, I was curious if you have any advise for me? For the last year my depression has returned and I didn’t know if there was any christian advise so that I can funnel this into more of a healthy route than holding it in.
I am sorry to hear about your depression. I know how that feels, and how disconnecting and frustrating it can be. The good news is that you seem to have this thing mostly figured out. You are absolutely correct that holding this in is not the way to go. That goes for just about any problem that you want to get past; be it depression, or self image issues, or lust, or whatever. So if holding it in isn’t going to work, the answer is you need to let it out.
That is not a difficult conclusion to come to, but so many people stay mired in their secrets. What we need to do is identify the lies that keep someone from asking for the help they know they need, and then break them down.
Lie 1: I am the only one who has these kinds of problems. “Everybody else in church seems squared away, their biggest spiritual problem is that they missed their quiet time once last year.” You know how walking with Jesus is so difficult that you barely make it to the end of the day and aren’t sue where you are going to get the strength to do it again tomorrow? That’s the case for everyone. Walking with Jesus is hard. It’s supposed to be something you can’t do on your own. Don’t be fooled by appearances.
Lie 2: Nobody cares about my problem. There are people in your church who’s job it is to care: pastors, youth pastors, small group leaders, elders. There are also christian counselors who chose a career path based on helping people talk about their problems. You are also shortchanging your friends and the people who care about you. You are probably thinking that they like the carefully constructed facade of having it all together, and getting to know the real you would send them running. That isn’t true, and even if it was, who wants friendships so paper thin? The things people like about their friends are the real parts of them, so the more real you get, the better off you will be.
Lie 3: Even if someone does talk to me about it, I will just annoy them. Someone whining about their problems non stop is does get old quick, but that is not what you are doing. The difference between whining and asking for advice is whether or not you want to start making changes. You sound like you are ready to do the work, that separates you from someone just yapping about drama. People in ministry (and in general) love giving advice to someone who actually takes it and puts it into action.
The last obstacle is fear. Deep down you know that once you start talking about this thing, something will have to change. You can’t get it back once you’ve let it out. That is a scary thing, because it feels like a loss of control. The truth is we do not control our secrets, they control us. Your secrets dictate what you can say, when you can move on, what relationships you can let into your life. The truth is scary and unwieldy but, as Jesus said: it will set you free.
-Matt from The Bridge
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