So, let’s talk about the elephant in the room, it’s everywhere and everyone ignores it: depression. I think it’s safe to say that by September 17th 2014, most all of us are back in school. (Unless you’re like me and you graduated this spring and are taking a gap year, hooray for being like me! I kid.) A lot of us are in College for the first time, or second time, or maybe you just live there. Some of us are in highschool or middle school or whatever kind of school you may be in (scuba diving school, awesome beard growing school?) and the thing that keeps coming back to me is how much darkness there is. And honestly, it doesn’t matter what kind of school you’re doing. I was homeschooled my entire scholastic years and still, school is hard and, if you’re not careful, can become a huge point of stress in your life. A 2011 poll found that over 29% of all high school students, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or sex, reported feeling constantly sad, or depressed and some even suicidal.
What I’m saying here is this: there’s a big problem in our schools, even in our own homes, that drives many young people to feeling lost and alone and unable to do what’s expected of them. I think most all of us here at Grafted have felt that feeling at one point or another and me? Well, sometimes I live in that feeling. Even today after graduating highschool, I start each Monday going “OH NO I DON’T KNOW ENOUGH MATH. NO ONE WILL EVER LET ME IN THEIR SCHOOL.” Guys, I literally start sweating when math I don’t know well enough is talked about, it’s a problem.
So what does all of this have to do with light and darkness? A lot, I think.
The verse we picked for September is 1 John 1:5, a personal favorite of mine which says:
“This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.”
If we’re in Him (Acts 17:18 “for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’”) then we can not live in darkness.
That’s an easy thing to say, right? But it’s not so simple. Depression is a disease of the mind, the same as having a bodily injury, it can’t be healed simply by wishing. It is no help to anyone when we simply say “You can overcome depression!!! … With God’s help!!!” to me, that’s the same as saying “You can walk on that broken femur!!! Go on, stand up!!! Don’t you believe in God’s healing touch?”
Depression, for many, is something that never truly leaves your mind, but it doesn’t make you any less loved by God or treasured by Him. As Charles Spurgeon put it:
“The way of sorrow is not the way of sin, but a hallowed road sanctified by the prayers of myriads of pilgrims now with God–pilgrims who, passing through the valley of Baca [lit: of weeping], made it a well, the rain also filled the pools: of such it is written: ‘They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.’
–Charles Haddon Spurgeon: Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, 1881, vol. 27, p. 1595”
Many godly men and women of faith have struggled with depression, C.S. Lewis, Martin Luther, Charles Spurgeon, and King David to name a few. You, sweetheart, are not alone.
God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all.
It’s no secret that our schools are dark, in only the past few months there have been multiple school shootings and not to mention the perverted young people promoting sexual immorality and harm to young students. It’s a dark world, friends, that’s a fact we will never get away from. But there does not have to be darkness in your life. The bible says “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
We pray for the constant renewal of our minds, that the disease that holds our generation will not set its grip into our hearts, knowing that God will overcome in the final hour. It sounds complicated, but we are living in a spiritual battle. It’s a constant fight between what Satan claimed (and Eve and Adam gave up with their rebellion) and what is rightfully God’s creation and claim. Something I am learning is that the wars we see, both in our minds and hearts and physically, for example right now in Gaza and Israel, is just an effect of the war that’s happening not on earth. God’s will for humanity has never been that we’d have sickness and destruction, His greatest desire is to be worshiped by all nations, his desire for us is that we’d be blessed.
What I’m getting at here with all this, is that depression is not simple. It shouldn’t treated simply. It should be said “just do this!” or “get over yourself!” or any of the hundreds of things that are said about depression that is not said about other problems in our lives.
Friends, if you are struggling with depression or anxiety, don’t hide it or be ashamed. The way to dispel darkness is to let in light. Tell someone you know and trust or write to us (firstname.lastname@example.org) here at Grafted and we can talk to you and direct to others with more wisdom (and definitely older wisdom!) who will love you and pray with you. Don’t give in to the lie that you’re abnormal in the kingdom of God. You are unique, yes. But your physical and mental problems and diseases do not define you.
If you’d rather talk to me personally, I check my inbox much more frequently than the Grafted email, email@example.com