Over at How to Talk Evangelical, Addie Zierman shares about a time when she needed the Christians around her to truly care about her welfare.
“In those hard days when my Depression collided with the Church, and I felt so lonely…I wanted someone to notice it. Sometimes I think it only would have taken one person to look me straight in the eye and to say with gentleness, humility, love – Are you doing okay? Really?”
She writes about growing up with an independent mindset, an “all-you-need-is-Jesus kind of faith,” checklists, and quiet times. But somewhere along the way she realized that life is more complicated than that, and God formed us to need community too.
“I’m at a healthier place in my life now. The Depression is regulated now with medicine and with the light box on my kitchen table. We’ve found a church that we love, and it never stops feeling like a kind of grace – to wake up on a Sunday morning and to want to be there.
Yet, even now, I find it almost impossible to volunteer my struggles – to open my hands up and offer them matter-of-factly as an acceptable part of who I am. I still find myself waiting to be asked, and only then, do I feel the permission and the safety I need to open myself up wide.”
The iBelieve.com daily devotional “Girlfriends in God” addresses the struggle of depression in “Coming Out of the Dark (Part 2)”.
“1 Thessalonians 5:11 instructs us to ‘encourage each other and give each other strength.’ I would never have survived the pit of clinical depression without the help and encouragement of family and friends. Members of our church brought meals, cleaned house and helped take care of our kids. The deacons were guardian angels at church and other women took my place in leadership. I would still be in that pit if it were not for these people who helped rescue me. Has it affected their opinion of me? Yes! It has shown them that I am just like them and has given them permission to face their own weaknesses. You may be thinking, ‘I have no one in my life that will help me.’ If you cry out to God, He will bring you help.”
In a Crosswalk.com article, Cliff Young also discusses the importance of honesty and transparency, especially in a world where people often use social media to present photo-shopped façades of their lives.
“Our lesson is not to necessarily post our ‘garbage’ or misgivings to the world in order to be more ‘real’ and transparent, however if we are claiming to be followers of Christ we are held to a higher standard to be honest with ourselves and about ourselves as we are to the Lord himself.”
Have you ever dealt with depression? What helped you? Are you willing to be bold enough to look your friends in the eyes, and ask, as Addie says,
“Are you doing okay? Really?”
Debbie Holloway is the Family Life Editor for Crosswalk.com
Publication date: November 27, 2013