Anonymous asked: I am suffering from depression, and I don’t understand how God set us free. I feel that I am forced to live on this earth and do the things I have no interest in. I am seeking God’s plan on my life, but, I discover no matter what is his plan, I am forced to follow. How can we experience the satisfaction and joy of doing God’s will? [edited for length]
Unka Glen answered: What you’ve got here is a problem a lot of Christians have. I’m not referring to the struggle to discover God’s plan, though that is a struggle for many. I’m not referring to the struggle to set aside our hopes and dreams (sad and puny as they may be) to live a life of devotion, to be free and yet choose to serve. And I’m not referring to the depression either.
I’m referring to self-sabotage. When we have a big problem that we don’t want to face, or don’t know how to face, we start looking for other problems to take on at the same time. After all, it would be un-christian to run from a spiritual challenge, but it’s probably super-christian to load yourself down with a bunch of challenges all at once.
Pretty soon we’re taking on so many challenges that we get overwhelmed and we backslide. As the old missionary saying goes: “if the devil can’t pull you out, he’ll push you deeper in”. Balance and focus are always key to spiritual growth. When you distract yourself, and overload yourself, deep down you know you’re setting yourself up to fail.
One thing at a time. That’s the right way for you to handle today, and it’s the right way to handle the rest of your life. First, focus everything you have on this depression. Take every depressive thought captive. Develop and refine strategies to beat this thing. When you feel you have your foot on the neck of this depression, you will find that it was necessary to develop a strength and a wisdom to overcome it.
That strength, and that wisdom, will catapult you into the next phase of life. Maybe you learn something about managing depression that you can share with other people. Perhaps you’ll also feel God filling our heart with love for people dealing with depression, and you feel your heart breaking for what breaks their heart. And suddenly you think: I know the way out! I have the map they need to make their way back!
In that moment you won’t be thinking that you’re forced to act, you’ll feel blessed for the chance to act. You’ll feel that all your suffering actually had a purpose, and that by digging out of it, you weren’t just setting yourself free, you were winning the chance to set others free as well. And in all this, you’ll find an immense joy that will seal your heart, and bind you forever away from the clutching hand of depression.
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