Melancholy, sadness, depression—have you experienced these on a regular basis? I have wrestled with these things for much of my life. There are many different reasons that people struggle with depression, but I want to tell you three threads that are true in my story, and maybe you will find some commonality and hope there.
Throughout my life, I have often felt “out of place.” I didn’t realize this most fully until a few years back when I went to a creative conference in Nashville. It was a small conference of about two hundred people, and so I got to know quite a few people who were there. The unique thing that I experienced with those people was something that C.S. Lewis described in his book, The Four Loves. “Friendship…is born at the moment when one man says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought that no one but myself…” We get glimpses of being known in this life, but those glimpses also remind us of the alienation that we often feel as well. This has been part of my struggle with depression.
Most of us have experienced the disappointment of unfulfilled dreams. I had a dream to be a full-time traveling singer/songwriter, and when that didn’t happen, I have wrestled for years with the sadness of that.
I have often realized that my depression most often stems from my own selfishness. When I regularly get wrapped up in myself, my desires, etc., the result is bitterness, anger, and depression.
THERE IS HOPE
We do experience alienation in this life, but we also experience glimpses of community. Those glimpses point forward to heaven, where we will know and be known (1 Corinthians 13:12).
We do experience shattered dreams in this life. I believe God works through those shattered dreams to help us find our fulfillment and contentment in Him. (And then He often gives those dreams back to us in another form!)
We do struggle with selfishness…but we can experience freedom in Christ if we surrender to Him each day.
These are not magic formulas to take away depression in a moment, but they are true things that we can experience through faith in Jesus. He knows us. He is our ultimate dream. He was completely unselfish for us.
If you’ve felt this way, you are not alone. Living Hope is a care group at PCC that starts on March 11. It is designed to offer support to people who struggle with depression and anxiety, as well as to help those who care for people with these struggles. Check it out at mypcc.info.