depression and faith
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Depression and Faith

Depression and faith… can they even go together? Are you really a Christian if the joy of the Lord that’s supposed to fill your heart and soul is crowded out by feelings of dread and despair? My answer is yes.

Yes, depression and faith can go together.

Yes, you can be a Christian woman and struggle with depression.

One source said that over seven million Christians in the US experience major depression each and every year. Seven million.

It’s kind of ironic that the post I found that statistic in was written on my birthday, because one of those 7,000,000 is me.

I am a Christian woman who struggles with depression.

My Struggle with Depression

It started several years ago. I was already a few years into my struggle with chronic migraines. Everyone was telling me they would be depressed if they had my life. But I wasn’t… not at first.

I started getting depressed when others started taking things away from me to make my life easier. The things that had helped keep me going strong were stripped away one by one. Leaving nothing in my life other than chronic migraines that I was struggling to cope with. And I did get depressed.

And that depression never fully went away.

Not with medication.

Not when they found a patch for my migraines.

Even my faith in Christ hasn’t been able to overcome it.

Ephesians 2:27 in the NIV says, “do not give the devil a foothold.” But that’s what happened. Once depression took hold, it had me.

It still has me.

It’s something I struggle with daily.

I don’t know if you’ve ever struggled with depression, but if so, I want you to know you’re not alone.

Depression and Faith

While seven million Christians suffering with major depression is a heartbreaking statistic, it also gives me peace of mind that depression and faith can go together.

Being Christian doesn’t make us insta-perfect. We still have struggles with all kinds of things – including depression.

Nothing highlights this better than the Psalms of David.

David struggled with depression. However, he didn’t struggle with faith.

When he got depressed, he turned his eyes back to God, calling Him his refuge and strength. Yes, David was depressed, but God was still good.

That’s where I find myself most days. Yes, I’m depressed. I struggle to find joy, energy, and enthusiasm, but I know God is still God and He is still good. I know I am loved and saved and I can take refuge in that in my darkest moments.

Depression in the Bible

One of my favorite Bible stories about depression is found in 1 Kings. It’s the story of Elijah the prophet.

Elijah had done some amazing things for God. That said, in 1 Kings 19, he was depressed. The author of Kings wrote that Elijah sat down under a bush and “prayed that he might die” (vs 4). He prayed, “I have had enough, Lord, Take my life” (vs 4, NIV).

I’d say he was fairly depressed if he wished to die.

And that’s something I can relate to. While I’m not suicidal, I have wished to die. I know the next life is going to be so much better than this one. Don’t get me wrong, I know suicide is not the answer, it’s not an option for me because it violates the commands of God (you shall not murder – Ex. 20:13). And I have a wonderful life. I have an amazing husband and great kids. My life is blessed… But the struggle with depression is real and it doesn’t care how great your life is.

I actually think having a wonderful life makes depression worse because it adds guilt and shame. Like I have no reason to be depressed, so I am ashamed to admit that I do.

Can you relate to that?

Depression and faith can go together. We see it in the statistics, in the Bible, and in real life.

So if you are one of the seven million Christians struggling with depression, know that you are not alone. I hope you know it’s okay to be a Christian and be depressed. It doesn’t make you less than any one else. It doesn’t mean your faith isn’t strong enough. Depression is what it is, it’s not who you are. It’s something you struggle with. And it’s okay to struggle.

Join the Conversation About Depression and Faith

Do you struggle with depression? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. How does your faith help or hinder your struggle. Are you letting Satan tell you your faith is weak?

14 Comments

  1. Thanks for addressing this, Heather. So many of us struggle with depression as believers, and there can be real shame attached to it. Your vulnerability blessed me today! Hugs!

    1. Thanks, Stacey! It’s such an important topic, and it’s not nearly as taboo as it use to be, but you’re right. There’s still so much shame attached to it.

  2. Heather,
    This article is full of much-needed truth for so many that struggle with depression and other mental health issues. Thank you for your vulnerability and for linking up with Grace and Truth.

    I’m praying for you today.

    Tammy

  3. Depression and migraines here too! While I’ve worked to regulate for years, it doesn’t change what is. Great post!

  4. Thanks for addressing this important topic. I was depressed when I was younger due to childhood trauma. I didn’t know how to deal with all this and turned away from God. After years of depression and anxiety, my husband started reading the Bible and then I did. It was Matthew and when I read of Jesus’s miracles of healing, I was astounded that I had forgotten that Jesus was healer. This was my Holy Spirit moment and my life changed. I would and still do have moments of depression and anxiety where it all seems so scary but then I remember my healer and sit with him and it lifts.

  5. This is such an important post, Heather. Too often depression has been linked with lack of faith, but they are two separate things. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Aw, Heather. I know the feeling. Thanks for sharing your scars to give the rest of us the encouragement that we need. Love and light!

  7. Heather, yes. Depression and anxiety and all kinds of brain health issues are present for women of faith. Writing a post like this encourages others and lets them know they’re not alone, that there is hope, that God is very much present in these thorns of our flesh.

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