Depression: Don't Waste It

Christians get depressed. The causes are varied. But God is always purposeful which means our depression is not meaningless.
Depression should not be wasted. As a teenager I was morose and deeply depressed. I wrote morose things and believed that if the world knew the real me I would be even more lonely than I was. The depressed teen years were followed by the depressed twenties. It went away for quite a while in my thirties, a combination of a great family life and a fresh calling as a pastor.

I have been pastoring for almost thirty four years and one of the chief temptations of the work is the incessant pressure to give the impression that one is always in control. I may preach against sin, but I am not tempted like other men. That of course is not true and I have no idea how many people knew it. More than I think. Some people I have pastored really did grow to hate me, and that increased the depression. Some really loved me and that increased it too. A series of events beginning in 2003 brought the depression back. I have confessed it to some and gotten horrible responses. When the pastor says he gets depressed people all of a sudden notice things about their shoes that they never noticed before.

Depression makes people run away. That is why it is so easily wasted and so cleverly hidden from great minds and friends who can become very stupid when reacting against what they perceive to be character flaws or sins. Not that depression isn’t accompanied by sin. It can be selfish and self righteous. It focusses on oneself and thinks the world owes it something or doesn’t understand the one who needs so desperately to be understood. It thinks it is loveless and then complains when love is perceived to be absent. It treats as insignificant the love that others show and therefore diminishes them. It sends a message that their love is powerless, that it is not what is needed. It blames others for the state of one’s world. It clings to physical darkness, blinds shut, curtains drawn, but this is only a picture of the state of the soul.
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