Many Christians have battled depression, but few feel comfortable talking about this all-too-common problem. It’s often too deep for words, the darkness and sadness we feel. It can be caused by a clinical disorder that requires medical intervention. For many of us, though, depression is a complicated experience often having to do with our delayed response to stress, grief or an earlier trauma in our lives that we never dealt with.
These dark places in our past leave memories we often don’t want to deal with or speak of, and that’s understandable. Unexpressed grief and sorrow, though, will only resurface in one way or another, often ushering in waves of depression. But there’s much healing and freedom when we bring these past painful experiences to the light.
Turn The Light On
Scripture tells us that in bringing our sorrows and grief to Christ, we can be comforted in knowing He understands our pain as he was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). There’s no judgment when we come to God in prayer about our weakness or pain. God has a way to bring light into our dark situation, and it begins with a simple but powerful word: confession.
Confession isn’t just about the admission of sin or mistakes we’ve made. It’s also about an admission of our own need, our own pain, and the truth of our painful experiences. Confession is part of the labor of love that is necessary for proper self-love or self-care. It is also part of the work we must do of grappling with grief – not ignoring it, not stuffing it down, not denying it. It’s got to be done. And when you do, you turn the lights on inside you, and find that there is nothing hidden there that God can’t heal.
Confess Your Pain
When you’re battling depression, it’s important to confess what’s going on inside you. The following three statements can help you shed light on the darkness you’re facing:
- “I need help.” – For many of us, it’s so hard to simply say, “I’m overwhelmed; I can’t do this all by myself.” Many times, friends and family don’t recognize the inner turmoil you’re experiencing. They can’t always tell that the weight of your emotional burdens have you hurtling towards a breakdown. Sometimes, we just need to take a deep breath of courage and admit that we need help. It’s best to not wait till the situation has us completely overwhelmed.
- “I was hurt.” – Often, many of us have experienced past childhood traumas or abuse. These underlying experiences can lay deep below the surface of our personality, but can be suddenly brought to mind when triggered by a hurtful event. When we admit the pain of our previous experiences, whether to a trained counselor or to a trusted, loving friend, we bring our past into the light. Bringing painful things to the light takes away their power over us. It’s time to begin the conversation about your past and invite your loved one into your pain.
- “I need rest.” – Everyone needs physical and emotional rest. When our second child was eight months old, she still was not sleeping through the night, and I was hit hard with sleep deprivation and exhaustion. My husband was trying to encourage me one day when I suddenly burst into tears and cried out, “Now I’ll never sleep through the night ever again!” My perspective was completely off due to my exhaustion, and I was heading for depression. Fortunately, my husband saw the warning signs and quickly sent me to bed and helped with a plan for getting me more naps during the day. When we confess our need for physical strength and refreshment, we are simply admitting that we are not superhuman. Having a healthy sense of what we can and cannot do is part of establishing a sound mind and a rested soul.
The next time you feel that dark, overwhelming feeling start to hover over you, ask yourself if there is something you need to confess. Begin by bringing all you’re experiencing to the Lord in prayer. Confess what you’re battling and what you need to those who love you and care about your well-being. It’ll be a journey of learning to trust God as you talk about your past and your pain. But you’ll soon experience the warmth of God’s love soothing and healing your soul. His light shines in the darkness when we turn and open our hearts to Him.
You may also be interested in 4 Ways To Find Faith Again When You’re Feeling Hopeless