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?