I take comfort in this verse. You might be thinking that’s a weird comment for me to make about that verse. I take comfort in it because it is in the Bible. And since it is in the Bible this verse and many others like it are a way of validating grief and depression. I’m not talking about validating in a let me wallow in sorrow and tear soaked blankets for forever. No it validates that those feeling are important; they are part of being human.
I also love that all through out Psalms we see a model of how to handle our emotions. You constantly see a verse of complete despair, where the author pours his heart out to God. It gets messy. He asks God why, shows frustration and anger, he can even be over dramatic from a sometimes drama queen’s perspective. But the point is he gets it out and leaves it in God’s hands. Then he remembers God’s promises and thanks Him for those promises and praises Him.
Maybe you’re like me. You kinda grew up with this image that every time you talked to God (prayer) it had to be like you were in speech class trying to get an “A”. That intimidated you. It was especially intimidating even completely blood boiling to be all proper and PTLing (Praise the Lord “ing”) when you’re filled with hurt and questions. Times when your heart was really screaming “why?! I don’t know how you can exist and all this still happen? How can you be loving and let this happen?” And in those moments maybe you were like me, and you decided to stop praying because you felt too much like the hypocrite you claimed Christians all were.
That was me for most of high school. Even after I came back to Christ and started living my life to reflect Him and His word, I still struggled with talking to Him. We still had so much unfinished business in my mind. I started reading the Psalms. I’ve always loved poetry. Psalms is set up like poetry and got my attention right away. I started noticing how the author talked to God. How he wasn’t always all thankful and praising God. He was going through hard things in his life and the author was processing that out with God. I started to do that. At first I struggled a lot with feeling guilty about sobbing out my “whys” and “where were you?” to God. Then one summer, I heard a speaker who shared about his prayer life and how he processes life and his emotions with God. He was basically describing what I had been doing and what the Psalmist had done. I realized how important this process is, and how much God wants to know our hearts. And even though He is God and knows them; He wants to have us communicate what’s on them to Him.
Reading that verse the other day reminded me of all this again. It also helped me realize that for some reason I had fallen into believing a lie that I shouldn’t have depression any more. More than that, that I shouldn’t have to talk it out with God. I had been wrestling with shame for having to fight this depression once again. And instead of acknowledging the feelings, pouring them out to God, and working them out with Him, and/or going to my counselor for some Godly help and encouragement, I was just trying to ignore them and press on like everything is fine.
Between that verse and some things I haven’t been able to stop thinking about that I heard at my church conference a couple weeks ago, I was reminded that feelings are part of being human. They are part of how God made us. Depression is no different. But just like in the Psalms, He doesn’t want us to just throw up our hands and stop believing that He will rescue us from our depression or sorrow. He wants us to get help. He wants us to run to Him, talk to Him, and pour our hearts out to Him.
Having to fight depression doesn’t mean you’re a bad Christian. It doesn’t mean you’re not reading enough or praying enough or even serving enough. Yes, it’s good to take a look at those things because maybe something has fallen to the way side-depression is good at making us forget things like that. But in my experience, it’s not the main cause. Sometimes I immediately know my reasons for why I’m feeling they way I do. Sometimes I have to process things out with God and/or a counselor to figure it out. But none of that influences my standing before my Father in Heaven(God).
Going to a counselor doesn’t make you disqualified for being used by God. Fighting depression doesn’t either.
Going to a counselor doesn’t make you disqualified for being used by God. Fighting depression doesn’t either. And if you find yourself believing the lie that those things do change your ability to be used by God, dig into Psalms. As you do so, remember the Psalms were most likely written by David who God called a man after His own heart.
*Note: If you are struggling with depression, don’t fight alone. That’s not Biblical either. Yes, pour your heart out to God, but there is no shame in going to a Christian counselor. Also, if you’re not involved in a community of other Christians in your local church, please do so. My brothers and sisters in Christ have and are a huge part in my fight with depression. God created us to communicate with Him and to live in community and communicate with other Christians as well.