For years I have struggled with depression. I struggled to reconcile being a Christian and having depression. Why do you have thoughts going against everything you believe? I was diagnosed with depression in 2005. I became a Christian in 2006. The worst years of my depression came after I became a Christian and was established in a church family.
I felt I was a poor Christian because of depression. If you are not aware many Christians face stigma in the church for dealing with mental illness. In the church, many are alienated and treated harshly if they are honest. During the time when you need the most support ever, you will find yourself alone. People who have never been depressed don’t understand the battle it is to get through the day. The misunderstanding is magnified when people blame it on some sin or a failure to believe as you should.
I’ve come out on the other side of my struggles with depression. I am still learning new lessons. As with any other problem you learn habits of coping that serve you well in your depression. They will not be the best habits but they work, until they don’t anymore. Well, having dealt with it for many years I learned lots of habits. And now I am having to learn new habits to replace those non-working habits.
As I continue to grow in my relationship with Jesus I learn new things daily. Part of this season I am in comes with a focus on deceptions I have believed. And a greater awareness of the spiritual battle all around me. When I was in my worst depression I said to myself and to others “I am in the fight of my life and I can’t afford to lose.” Truth then, truer now. God is revealing I am still in the fight of my life and I still can’t afford to lose.
The thing is Jesus has already won the war for us. This doesn’t mean Satan will not still cause battles. We don’t have to fight back as much as stand on the victory Jesus has already handed us. There are casualties all around us. Most of it is because they are unaware of the battle going on in the heavenly realm. Lives are shattered and broken. I know I often feel broken myself. It’s tiring when it seems like you are always under fire. It is also tempting to say I can’t do it anymore I can’t fight another battle.
I’m finding for me this is a sign I have begun trying to fight it on my own. In my own strength, I am nothing. However, if I simply stand on the truth of the scripture than I realize I only need to stand firm. Recently I have realized my life isn’t as ok as I try to think it is. I am more and more aware I am nothing and I have no strength. In Christ, I can do all things.
Recently during an intense period of attack, the enemy presents me with ideas I have not had in years. Not since I have beat the depression. It was such a startling contrast to where I find myself today the hand of the enemy was easily revealed. The enemy wanted me to entertain the thoughts of cutting. I had entertained them before in the worst of my suicidal thoughts…and yet I never acted on them. It was something where the enemy felt like I had almost fallen into it before so why not try it again.
No temptation [regardless of its source] has overtaken or enticed you that is not common to human experience [nor is any temptation unusual or beyond human resistance]; but God is faithful [to His word—He is compassionate and trustworthy], and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability [to resist], but along with the temptation He [has in the past and is now and] will [always] provide the way out as well, so that you will be able to endure it [without yielding, and will overcome temptation with joy]. 1 Corinthians 10:13
God in His great wisdom not only provided me the ability to see the attack for what it was a trick of the enemy. And God also had it come up in Sunday School the week after it was a fleeting thought and before the major attack. You see cutting is as old as from before the bible. You can find it in Mark 5:5. The man with an unclean spirit and filled with demons was cutting. It stuck out to me because I used to entertain the thoughts when I was suicidal. Cutting was clearly an attack of the enemy. And it was as old as getting you to question what God says.
Cutting is popular today. Many people do it, and many do not understand. Having been in a pain I couldn’t handle I realized the benefits of cutting. People are drawn to it because it brings a physical pain and is supposed to bring a temporary relief. A relief to the emotional pain inside you don’t know how to deal with.
As if seeing cutting was an old tactic of the enemy wasn’t enough of a revelation. A wise woman in the class also pointed out that cutting was a false shedding of blood. Only Jesus blood cleanses us. Cutting is a counterfeit of the enemy to do what Jesus has already done.
I realized while depression is a problem that manifests physically in chemical imbalances. Depression is also a multifaceted problem. What we see in the physical is always a result of what is happening in the spiritual. So what we thought was a physical problem is often influenced by spiritual attacks. The problem is real and I can’t put a tidy little bow on it.
Medications are essential for many to fight depression and there is no shame in taking them. However, I am now learning we need not ignore the enemies lies and how they influence our lives.
Will you commit to pray God opens the eyes of those struggling to the spiritual elements of the battle?
I know I am now wondering how much of my fight was with spiritual forces and not just the physical. Please if you take medications, do not feel ashamed, I still take a minimal dose. Let us become more aware of the deceptions of the spiritual attack.
Satan is a liar and no truth is in him and he knows our areas of weakness. Let’s learn to fight back with the truths of God’s Word and wise counsel. Including medical help where necessary. Let us never rely on only what we see in the physical.
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