When depression clouds your mind, it’s difficult to find the way, the truth, and the life. In fact, it feels like you’re lost, confused, and preoccupied with death. There is an enemy who deceives even Christians to drift away and get trapped in his stronghold, and mental illness is an easy target.
But it is possible for a mentally ill mind to grasp truth and cling to Jesus who is stronger than depression and the enemy, for Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” John 14:6.
I still cringe at the 17 years that I lived trapped in a stronghold that I didn’t have to be in. You might be wondering how everything changed...
» God allowed me to hit rock bottom in order for me to stop being able to hide what I was dealing with.
» God provided medical intervention and counseling to help me get my head above water.
» God gave me the courage to allow the Body of Christ in on my secrets that shame had kept me silent about. We need each other, church.
» I started reading the Bible faithfully every morning even when I didn’t want to. Medicine stabilized my mind, but only the Bible transformed it.
» I journaled every lesson God taught me while reading the Bible and then invited my mentor into that journal to help me process the lessons and validate that I was hearing truth.
» I began confessing when I was struggling and dwelling on suicidal thoughts with my mentor; she would pray for me; I began repenting and found the ability to walk away from those thoughts when they would pop up. Confession and repentance have been an ongoing, life giving practice I will continue doing forever.
» I decided I was done living in shame and started sharing my struggles with the struggling. This helped me see purpose in my pain and gain acceptance of God’s choice to not heal me yet.
You can live with mental illness and thrive with joy in the Lord, but it does take discipline to do the right things even when emotions feel so dark that they might kill you. Don’t get mad at God when He lets you hit rock bottom, but rather cooperate, trust, and cry out to Him. God has purpose for your pain and is faithful to help you. Don’t let the enemy rob you of the blessed life that you were meant to live. You may be weak with depression and feel like you are wasting away, but we know that no matter what is happening in our body, our spirit can be renewed daily.
“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
2 Corinthians 4:16-18