ONE of the most encouraging things any of us can do for another person is to tell the truth about how we feel.
We love it when we can be our real selves, especially regarding the struggles we have. And this applies much more so to the Christian than it does to everyone else, because there is this double-barrelled truth:
Although Christians are commanded and empowered to tell the truth, they’re also more likely to hide their truth, for shame and guilt that perhaps their faith doesn’t work.
We know that depression and other mental illnesses don’t discriminate, and that they’re incredibly complex. Having depression doesn’t whatsoever correlate with weak faith.
In fact, it takes stupendously greater faith to keep stepping with the Lord through the dark nights of the soul. And it’s this faith, if only others knew what we were dealing with, that would inspire others.
It’s good to be real about our depression because an unnecessary burden is immediately relieved; we no longer have to carry the arduous weight of a lie!
When we live openly in the light of the truth — that life is hard, each and every day, or most days — then we stand to be encouraged by others for the courage we’ve shown. This equips others to employ their courage.
Being honest about where our mental health is helps to inspire others to be honest. And when two people can be honest with each other, they give each other permission to be real, and there is no greater gift or blessing.
Perhaps the purpose of your depression is to be real about it, by trusting God; He may have a purpose in it for you. It might help others to their freedom.
Now, I can tell you I’ve been depressed several times, and I doubt whether I’ve had my final bout. Isn’t that encouraging? You and I are not alone.
© 2016 Steve Wickham.