Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a “there’s demons in the rock music” type of post… just some random reflections and what’s been rolling around in my head lately.
Just within this past week or so I have been coming to grips with the fact that I have depression. I think I’ve always put my depression in the context of “overcoming” just because that’s how I’m wired. I’m an INFJ and part of that I am always aggressively looking for ways to improve myself, including my mental health.
“Feeling sad? Feeling down? Nothing a good workout and chocolate protein shake can’t fix!!”
Recent events have brought it more clearly into focus. I have depression. I’ve probably had it since I was 13. I usually manage it well enough through healthy coping mechanisms (and let’s face it, sometimes unhealthy ones). I’m a sensitive person, I think and feel very deeply. I naturally tend towards melancholy. Out of all 4 of my siblings and I, I think it is safe to say we all struggle with some degree of depression and anxiety every single day.
There is certainly a genetic component as well as a very real spiritual one. I do struggle with depression however I do still hear from God, I do still feel a great deal of happiness in my life- because of my relationship with Him and all the gifts he has showered down onto my life.
I can honestly say I don’t think I would have survived my depression without God breaking through into my life. “the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Matthew 4:16
With the passing of Chris Cornell I can’t help but reflect on my past and the impact depression has had. I was only a kid when the grunge movement was big but my older siblings were really into it. When I got into my teenage years the angst and authenticity of the music really spoke to me. My favorite band was Soundgarden…and then of course, Audioslave.
Chris Cornell was, like many artists, a sensitive soul that battled his own demons and dealt with depression. We don’t know for sure if his death was a suicide, but it seems likely. He likely fought the depression and the darkness the best he could, until he couldn’t.
I’ve gone through major crisis’ in my faith. When I came to God I knew I had major issues, deep pain in my heart. I knew I needed healing. I knew I carried a shame around in my soul that tainted every part of my life. I sought God with everything, I sought healing. I prayed, I fasted, I wept…. for years. Yet I still feel such angst in my soul. I still wake up everyday and feel the need to prove my worth. I still fight to keep the depression at bay.
I really don’t like offering up “untidy” blog posts. I really like to post when I’m pumped up on a spiritual high with God and feel like I can offer inspiration. Those times are true and genuine but they certainly don’t capture the whole story.
I feel like I want to be a little more real in my writing. Because, well…there are no “successful Christian makeover!” stories, at least not in the sense that we get so healed and delivered that we live in a sort of spiritual reverie, immune to the flesh nature, with a perfect grin and perfect family until Kingdom come.
It just isn’t reality.
In being thrust into a caretaker care for my son, a lot of the self-medicating (or coping, tomato-tomato!) tactics I’ve used have been really messed with. The things I use to prop myself up (don’t we all have them?) where suddenly taken or just not enough. I’ve realized my motivation for serving God is actually very little when I am really hurting and my prayers seem to go nowhere. “If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is.” 2 Timothy 2:13
Just today I was feeling down about something when I heard God speak to my heart about how He loves me. He loves the “hot mess” me. I remembered a time, when I was in my early 20’s and seriously depressed. I couldn’t love myself and couldn’t imagine God could either. I stopped praying. I remember sitting on the dusty carpet in my bedroom near tears when this song came on the radio… https://youtu.be/Ek4I6BeMQIs
I just knew that song, at that moment, was for Me- from God. I bawled and bawled. It was a real moment in my life where his light burst forth into the deep darkness I found myself lost in.
I struggle with wanting to wrap everything up into a neat little Christian bow but I really can’t. As my 8 year old was asking me why God has allowed him to go through these years of suffering, there really aren’t any easy answers.
I think in this life the pain is real. The hurts are real. Especially the hurt we all carry around in our hearts. So much of life seems random, chaotic even- but for the moments that the light of God breaks in. Somehow we survive and come out a little softer, a little stronger.
It’s ok to be hurting. It’s ok to have questions. As long as those pangs and hurts ultimately lead us to our Healer, into a deeper relationship with Him, as he slowly unravels the hurts and shines his light into our deep darkness. And if we take a detour, He will come and rescue us when we are ready.