Anxiety and depression.
They are two separate sides of the same coin and are very real.
Those who suffer, feel them just as acutely as they would holding that small coin in their hand — if not more so.
For some of us, the root of our emotions and reactions are hard to identify, to name, to call out … until Jesus gives us a little nudge.
Maybe the nudge is a hushed conversation with a friend or a hard shove into a complete breakdown.
Hi, my name is Kristin and I suffer from mental health issues.
Wow — that was hard to write. Truth be told, I deleted it a couple [of] times before finally retyping. Because I just labeled what I thought were simple feelings as an “issue” and did it where the world can see. (Lord, have mercy on my over-sharing soul.) But I’ve had too many private conversations with other women — moms, especially — to know I’m not the only one and sometimes, some things should be thrown out there despite the risk of a label.
For me, it took months to recognize my lack of sleep, racing mind, outbursts of anger, unhealthy impatience and busy-ness were rooted in mental health and hormonal imbalances.
WANT TO KNOW WHEN IT CLICKED? WHEN JESUS NUDGED ME OVER A BOWL OF CHIPS AND SALSA.
About a year ago, a few friends and I sat down for MNO (mom’s night out) at a local Mexican restaurant. The conversation easily flowed to a point where a couple of them said — out loud — they suffered from the same and similar things I secretly battled for months. They told me how they screamed unnecessarily at kids and husbands, how they couldn’t relax or settle down, how they couldn’t sleep and how eventually they reached out for help and haven’t looked back.
And — gasp! — these friends are strong, faithful Christian women. They believe Jesus at His word and know He can heal and works all things for their good — even the hard and emotional stuff.
But they haven’t fallen into a trap of believing they should “just have more faith” or “pray harder” to fix their struggles.
God can and will take even the tiniest bit of faith and move mountains. It says so right there in Matthew 17. It doesn’t take a lot for Jesus to do big things. So we don’t have to have massive amounts of faith to be delivered from anxiety and depression. I believe He offers us some sort of “out” every time we ask.
…For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.
Sometimes, Jesus wants us to trust Him beyond what is comfortable, going farther and deeper than prayer and simple faith.
He wants us to do something about it.
That evening a year ago with my friends, they shared where they were after getting the help needed. They discussed the everyday things that sparked their anxiety and depression, and how seeking help through prayer, medication and professional counseling became daily rocks to steady them.
I felt another nudge when around that same time, I studied the Psalms and came across this verse:
from sinking in the mire;
let me be delivered from my enemies
and from the deep waters.
Let not the flood sweep over me,
or the deep swallow me up,
or the pit close its mouth over me.
The word “mire” in Psalm 69 refers to something sticky — like mud — that’s stuck to us and hard to get off or out of. It’s something that covers, surrounds, and swallows us. It’s not easily or comfortably brushed off.
It is something we cannot get ourselves out of. We must have outside help.
He can deliver us. Whether that’s by providing a profound spiritual revelation, professional counselors or medication, He doesn’t want us stuck in a place of all-consuming unrest, worry, and sadness.
FRIEND, HEAR ME WHEN I SAY, THERE IS NO SHAME IN GETTING OUTSIDE HELP FOR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION.
Sometimes it’s a temporary relief to kickstart our joy again. And sometimes, it’s a more prolonged effort of deliverance through Jesus’ provision of counseling and medication.
If you’ve prayed, sought [B]iblical wisdom, and feel seeking help is the best option for you, then do it.
God isn’t going to let anxiety and depression win if we allow Him to help and provide for us.
But we have to ask Him first. We have to make the step toward relief. Talk to trusted friends and family, then seek professional help. This trusted community of friends and professionals can be a step our health needs.
Most importantly, let’s trust Jesus in His promise of deliverance. He can and will deliver us through opportunities of prayer and trusting Him, providing just the right listening ear and even sometimes the exact combination of medication and counseling needed.
It’s comforting to know we can even find medicinal measure being taken, and blessed, in God’s Word. Take the following example, for instance.
Then Isaiah said, “Make an ointment from figs.” So Hezekiah’s servants spread the ointment over the boil, and Hezekiah recovered! (2 Kings 20:7, NLT)
Since I’ve sought help with my doctor and began taking a low-dosage of antidepressants, life makes more sense and feels better. The fog has cleared and my racing mind has slowed. I let the little things go and have the energy for the important things. I can hug my sweet kiddos without fear of them getting struck by lightning (or some other bizarre and unlikely scenario) and not have a meltdown because I don’t have Pinterest-perfect Halloween goodie bags for the Pre-K party. I fall asleep more easily, don’t restlessly pace my house, and enjoy my husband and kids more.
I don’t know how long I will take them, but for now, I’m closer to feeling like “myself” and farther from feeling myself sink.
Sure, there are still bad days, but the good days outnumber the bad by a long-shot.
So friend, if you suffer from any symptoms of anxiety or depression, don’t hesitate to ask Jesus and your doctor for help.
Your everyday life is waiting for you to get back to yourself.
Jesus, I ask that you deliver us from the sticky mire of anxiety and depression. Hide Your face from our sins, and blot out all iniquities. Create in us clean hearts, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within us. Do not cast us away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from us. Restore to us the joy of Your salvation, and uphold us by Your generous Spirit. Jesus, thank you for your provision of skilled health care professionals and modern medication to help begin a process of healing. Lord, guide us and direct us in the path of deliverance you have laid out for us. We trust You and know You are worthy to be praised. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.