- (Photo: NewSpring via The Christian Post)
Depression is a HUGE elephant in the room…
NO ONE wants to talk about it but SO MANY people are affected by it!
It's taking over the lives of people we know and love, but the Church has mostly kept silent about it…
The epidemic of DEPRESSION, anxiety and suicidal thoughts are a part of the daily lives of people inside and outside the Church.
Life is hard. Everyone who lives in real life knows what it feels like to be unhappy and overwhelmed…and sometimes that feeling of sadness turns into hopelessness.
But just because someone is a Christian who's been saved by Jesus doesn't mean they won't face difficult circumstances.
AND Christians are not immune from depression either!
29% of Christians in the United States have struggled with depression at some point in their life* – that's over 45 MILLION CHRISTIANS! That's more people than the population of the state of California and Massachusetts COMBINED!
According to the Numbers…
Out of every 10 Christians you know, 3 of them are depressed.
If you're between 18-34 years old, you're more likely to be depressed than older generations.
If you have lower income, you're more likely to be depressed.
If you're a parent with a child younger than 18 years old, you're more likely to be depressed.
This means A LOT of us wrestle with depression!
This many Christians struggling silent and alone in the Church is a HUGE problem…and we have got to do something about it!
For a long time, Christians have shunned their own people for admitting to being depressed or anxious. Mental illness has often been considered a sign of someone's weak faith…but that is NOT TRUE!
Too many pastors and church people are struggling alone because they're expected to be perfect and have everything together.
I'm tired of church leaders feeling like they can't be honest because they're privately losing a battle with depression. They're too afraid to admit they're hurting from anxiety because their church might ask them to leave…but it doesn't have to be that way!
I was once a depressed Christian…
If you've ever been around NewSpring Church, you've probably heard my story. A few years ago, I realized that I had a great family, a growing church and a lot of amazing things were happening…but I hated my life.
For 3 years, I was publicly working for God in the church while privately I thought about ending it all. Depression and anxiety were taking over on the inside, but I was too worried about what people would think if I told them what was really going on.
It took a lot of changes and a lot of time to get to a place where I could be honest about it. Depression was not just a season I was going through-it was a trap I was stuck in!
Today I believe it's more important than ever to help others see that God can use our pain for our progress!
I preached a message on depression a few years ago because I've never heard the subject addressed in the Church…and we had a HUGE response to that message! It IS an issue many people deal with and it's part of our lives that God wants to work in to bring us through it.
Are You Depressed?
Don't miss this…
Being depressed does NOT mean you're not a Christian!
When God looks at someone that has surrendered their life to Jesus, He doesn't see their struggles…He sees their relationship to Him.
We're not the only ones who deal with this either. Some of the Bible's greatest heroes were far from perfect and they struggled with depression too!
Moses tried to lead the people of Israel in the desert and he wanted to quit because of the overwhelming circumstances.
Elijah was alone, running for his life in the wilderness and almost gave up.
Jonah wanted God to take his life rather than going to a foreign nation as a spokesperson for God.
David felt the sting of people angry with him and wrote songs about his deep sadness.
If God used messed up, depressed people back then, He can use an overwhelmed, depressed person now!
I recently wrote my whole story about how God walked with me through my depression and severe anxiety in my book "Overwhelmed". It was the darkest time in my life, but I am so thankful for how the Lord used my pain to know Him better.
Depression is a REAL struggle that REAL people go through! The answer isn't to pray the sadness away, to be a better Christian or to look like you have everything together. We don't need a temporary fix or to "just be happy" – we need a REAL Savior!
In Christ we are not rejected because of our depression – God rescues us and carries us through it!
* based on Harris Research Analysis, 2014