Are you sinking into depression or anxiety? Are you feeling guilty or ashamed because of it?
Christians often share with me how much they struggle with depression and anxiety, especially because of COVID and other unsettling current events. It saddens me that they confess their depression in a whisper because they fear of being judged by “stronger” Christians.
Satan works diligently to keep the shame of hopelessness and fear alive. Unfortunately, we, the church, often fall prey to his tactics. When we feel intimidated about sharing our struggles, we emotionally isolate ourselves from each other and miss out on each other’s prayers and support.
Sometimes when I read the story about Peter sinking while trying to walk on water (Matthew 14), I see myself. Peter’s experience reminds me of the days immediately following my discharge from the hospital after another nervous breakdown.
I was so scared.
I could barely get out of bed most mornings. I prayed for confidence to step out of my comfortable, safe “boat” in order to walk and live in the stable world. Most days, anxiety overwhelmed me.
When Peter began to sink, “Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”’ (Matthew 14:31 ESV).
For a long time, I skipped over the last part of this verse because I hated the thought of Jesus reprimanding my lack of faith. Eventually, I was able to hear Him speak to my heart in an entirely different manner: “Sheryl, why do you doubt? Don’t you know how much I love you? I will help you walk through this.” Sensing His tenderness meant everything to me.
Thankfully, God brought people into my life. Through them, I felt God’s hand reaching out and taking hold of me. Every time someone encouraged me and prayed with me, I was able to believe God wasn’t abandoning or giving up on me.
If you’re sinking into depression or anxiety, I hope you’ll tell someone. Whether you reach out with a whisper or a loud cry, it’s my hope that you’ll find us, the church, willing to be the hands, ears and heart of Christ for you.
What about you?
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this post. (Others might also benefit from your comment.)
- If you’re sinking into depression, how can we, the church, be there for you?
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