Grunge and Depression

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.

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Copper the dog looks sad for Gabe too~

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.

Our Only Hope

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/healthy-24-year-old-granted-right-to-die-in-belgium/ar-AAckxLg?ocid=iehp

I remember watching a video clip of a prison in South America that would take and rehabilitate the worst prisoners- the ones that no one else wanted.  The prison was completely Gospel-centered.  A sign over the entrance read, in Spanish- “Jesus Christ Our Only Hope”.

That saying has stuck with me.  Jesus is our only hope.  Nothing else can suffice, nothing else can save.  When every other option fails, when the anti-depressants don’t work, when life is just too much, when you want to go to sleep and not wake up… Jesus Christ is our only hope.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13

We serve the God of HOPE. 

I know what it is like to be horribly depressed.  I know what it is like to be suicidal.  I also know that the Gospel is real and it is possible to trade in sorrow for JOY.

“Though you have not seen him, you love him. And even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy…” 1 Peter 1:8

I really believe sorrow, heart ache, and life’s difficulties can be a gift leads us to finding Jesus and everlasting life.

In Godless Europe, specifically Belgium, when people lose hope the best the government/health care system can offer is- the right to die.  People have tried to take God out of the equation and replace him with government, science, psychology, etc.  But the human soul still has this gaping (God-sized) emptiness that refuses to be filled or satisfied with anything but the living God himself.  When we try to fix depression as a mental, physical, or emotional problem we fall short.  We are not animals.  We are spiritual beings that happen to reside in a body.  Spiritual beings that were created for experiencing love and fellowship with our creator.  It makes sense that if we are completely missing the point of our existence that a deep depression would result.

Not only are we spiritual (even the staunchest atheist) but we are eternal beings.  When the body dies the soul leaves and goes to it’s eternal destination.  “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” Rev. 20:15  I don’t want to flippant or callous.  The tragedy is that people think their suffering is going to end by choosing ‘the right to die’.  It is beyond tragic.  It is completely unnecessary.

Putting your trust in Jesus does not ‘fix’ all your problems.  But the peace and joy is real.  You can know where you are going after death.  You can know there is nothing to fear.  You can know you are loved. god-of-hope

I see my depression as a parameter around my life, it is a safeguard.  When I start to drift away from God or allow something to come between us, the depression starts creeping back in.  When I am living for Him, in close fellowship, I am being continuously filled with joy.

“You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” Psalm 16:11

“Lord Jesus, my prayer is that when people come to the end of themselves that they would find you.  When people find that nothing on Earth can help, let them turn to you.  I pray that you would reveal yourself to those contemplating suicide.  I pray that you would deliver with your mighty out-stretched arm.  I pray for a revival of faith in Europe.  Amen.”