I recently got an email from a subscriber that tugged on my heartstrings. It read, in part:
“What can I do about being depressed? I feel like I have fallen away from God and His grace and I don’t know my way back.”
To this person, I want you to know that I know that feeling.
A few years ago, when I was going through one of my darkest struggles with depression, I remember spending about two hours furiously scribbling over and over and over again, the phrase, “God Hates Me” in a notebook.
My experiences with depression made me feel as though all of my hopes and dreams had turned to ashes. The heavens seemed silent. And every night when I prayed it seemed like the floor would open up underneath me, and drop me even deeper into the pit of depression.
I was exhausted and felt defeated. I felt broken—that I was figuratively washing my hands over and over, but still couldn’t rid myself of the dirt that came from inside.
This is when I started to believe God hated me, that He was refusing to fix me because He didn’t love me. I believed that God was perfect except for one mistake—me.
I was ashamed to be alive.
But then I had a number of deeply personal experiences that changed my whole perception of God. I realized that many of the things I believed about myself and God, while I was depressed, were lies I told myself to make sense of my painful feelings. What I came to understand through my experiences, was that God loves us with an infinite, eternal love that is difficult for the finite, mortal mind to comprehend. The fact that God’s love is unconditional automatically makes it nearly impossible to understand. How could someone love us unconditionally? What about all of our mistakes? What if we’re broken beyond repair?
During my recovery, I remember being impressed with this spiritual impression: “Seth, do you really think that you could do anything—or that anything could be done to you—that is beyond my ability to repair? Do you really think that you could somehow exempt yourself from my all-encompassing love?”
If you are suffering with depression, please know that you are not broken. You’re an eternal being, taking part in a mortal experience. Yes, you might stumble, make mistakes, and feel inadequate—that’s okay. Because deep down, you are a person of inestimable worth and value. Your value is both divine and static; it does not change as a result of your actions or circumstances. Yes, you can feel guilt for mistakes you’ve made, and you should do your best to correct those mistakes. But God’s love is always there for us—even if we may not feel it.
I’ve come to think of my life as comparable to a garden. There may be times when all is sunny and happy, and other times when it’s rainy and depressing. But even when it’s cold and gloomy, the sun (God) is just behind the clouds, giving us just enough light and hope to keep moving forward—into the promise of more light and warmth.
Please understand that God is a perfect being with an infinite love for each of us. He asks us to keep moving forward because He loves us and believes in us. And if God, an infinite being, loves us and believes in us, shouldn’t we love and believe in ourselves?
So what can we do about being depressed and disconnected from God? First off, you must believe that you are a person of worth, that God loves you no matter what and that you always have a purpose on this earth—a reason for living.
I once believed the lie that God hated me, and it nearly destroyed me. Since learning the truth, my life has been more joyous and fulfilling. I know that God loves you, and that you always have a reason for living and moving forward.
If you would like some more practical steps to overcome depression, please read 5 Ways to Fight Depression and/or watch the video below.