Thursday, September 25, 2014

mindfulness: depression, suicide, and the Christian life.

Something valuable that I have taken away from chapel this week is the *reminder* that being a Christian, believing in Christ as my salvation, means that my weakness is not taken away but is used to bring God glory. Depression is a darkness that plagues everybody. Regardless. For the Christian it is hard to accept and admit that depression is a normality of the human life, and often times attempts to remedy depression come in forms of, "Have you been spending time in the Word? Have you been spending time with God? Have you been praying?" As if these things alone ward off the darkness of depression. The thing to realize is that God's grace is sufficient; His glory is FOUND in our weakness - He does not take it away from us or keep us from ever experiencing it. Recognize the words of Paul when he says, "So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I [cried out intensely] to the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. The advantage, I would say, in being a Christian in this life is that we have a hope that is not easily found elsewhere, and therefore have a way to cope, showing the grace that God has given us, and boasting in the strength God - and God alone - gives us to go on.

One thing to remember from Scripture about depression and suicide is that you are not alone. Authors all throughout Scripture have been present in your feelings.  The Psalmist for example: "All my longings lie open before you, Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart pounds, my strength fails me; even the light has gone from my eyes. My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds; my neighbors stay far away." (Psalm 38:9-11); "Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God." (Psalm 69:1-3). Depression and thoughts of suicide are not "un-Christian" - they are anything but. However, allowing those thoughts and feelings to overwhelm until the point of a demise that extends pain to those beyond your own skin is not the path intended (for anyone) but especially not for one who finds their hope in the Lord.  If you know you struggle with thoughts of worthlessness and the idea of your life ending in your own hands; if you find yourself in desperation; if you have overwhelming feelings of helplessness and hopelessness: tell someone you trust.  Let yourself be helped.  Let yourself be encouraged.  For those who have someone to come to them with these painful thoughts: do not ignore! Do not take for granted! Do not ask them about their spiritual life! Be a person to talk to; to listen.  Help them find the help they need.  If you feel like you have no one around you to talk to, or no one you can trust, or need someone to talk to at 2 in the morning, you have a resource available to you: call the suicide hotline (1-800-273-8255) where are someone will always be available to talk to who will listen to you and help you in whatever way you need. Depression (especially as a Christian) is a part of being an incomplete human; but find your hope in the Lord, even in your circumstance and be reminded that your pain is not for naught.  It is hard; your pain is valid; but you are not hopeless. God's strength is enough to help you continue; you have worth.

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