God’s Not Done with Me Yet: When Faith-Filled People Battle Depression
It all started with a blog entry. I love Christ, why am I still depressed? started a conversation with a number of people – most especially Christians. Apparently, this topic doesn’t receive much recognition from the Church. People shy away from discussing mental health issues because, supposedly, it presents a weak kind of faith. I entertained earnest e-mails from strangers, I “counselled” young girls that experience depression and anxiety, and I even published an article on it. Well, to be completely honest, I felt like such a fraud.
I wrote this unexpected piece at a season of my life when I was going through a whirlwind of joyous emotions. I was treading on high places. An hour after I published the entry, I arrived at the airport for my first (and only) international trip of the year. A month after that, I was a speaker at a prestigious Blog Conference and shared my journey as a blogger – 7 years of being one. On the same day, I relaunched my blog after 2 years of arduous planning. A month after, I got baptized on my very first retreat – after five years of surrendering my life to Christ. That was my life, and I experienced one dizzying activity after the other. I (secretly) questioned the authenticity of my depression since I didn’t experience an episode for a while. I also understood how more people suffer from depression and anxiety but with a deeper severity than I do. I felt that invalidated my past. But now, now I am at a very different season. I am still, I am waiting, and I am paralyzed.
These days, I catch myself innocently asking why God still wakes me up every morning. I’m not suicidal – not anymore – but I feel these occasional, unexplainable bouts of hopelessness caused by the simplest of things: a sudden thought about the future, a fight, even a Facebook post. These can’t seem to be cured by consistent Bible reading, devotionals, and worship. I question, again and again, how this is possible considering I lead a very good life. My God, He gives me more than I deserve. I can’t fathom how a girl who could have the audacity to entitle her blog She Makes Him Known would want to stop existing because she suffers from anxiety – for moments, days, weeks, and even months.
I ask God to take this away. Don’t get me wrong, I do. I tell myself, maybe if I pray harder, if I could be more diligent with my Bible reading, if I could attend Sunday service every week, it would be completely gone. Then, I wouldn’t have to keep doubting this sovereign God I serve whose promises I know prove true and victorious for all my days. Maybe, if I just lift this weight I can no longer carry, I would have the boldness to carry the weight of other people who depend so much on me. Maybe, then, I would have a faith that I could be proud of. Now, I am just ashamed of who I am, of how much time and energy I waste on things I cannot control because I can’t seem to find – not even from God – the strength to fill the space of who I am at this moment to get me to who I want to be.
I get nothing but silence. And, I plead with Him, “God, why won’t you take this away? Why is this heart still so heavy and stubborn?”
Well, I’ve learned to trust – even with hands that don’t want to grasp Eternity and a heart that is so hardened – that in this season of uncertainty, lacking, and fear, somewhere in the crevices of my weak, frail heart, there is growth. Somewhere, I trust that there is a shattering of pride and expectations that can only offer me even further suffering in the end. I learn to accept this deafening silence from God because He is still speaking to the depths of my soul with these unfathomable words I will make sense of when the time is right.
I know victory is for me, even when I am depressed and anxious for I am given a new day, a new morning to grasp His mercy, His grace. And, I trust Him. I trust that He is not done with me yet.
You shall remember all the ways which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart. (Deuteronomy 8:2)
I struggled to write about anything for months. I started writing about love, about dreams and goals but never seemed to finish it. But, tonight, words were breathed. Many thanks to Jessica Gimeno’s How to Get Stuff Done When You Are Depressed (TEDx), Zen Pencils’s Shonda Rhimes: A Screenswriter’s Advice, Claire Marshall’s Vlogmas Day 4, and Coffee Break with Dani’s GRWM: I’m Divorced – all God’s ways of speaking to me.
P.S. Read: 5 Things Christians Should Know About Depression and Anxiety via Relevant Magazine