I am not a person who battles with depression, but every now and then, I find my self in a funk that seems to overwhelm me. Recently, this cloud of hopelessness and despair has been following me around. The question at hand is, how do I muster the strength and will to press through these times; not letting these dismal feelings cripple me? I should add, this post is not for those whom are clinical diagnosed with depression. I have witnessed first hand the battle that many fight with this crippling emotional struggle. I do believe that the things discussed in this post can help with that fight, I know that they are not a solution in most cases.
The Reasons for my Funk
To sum it up into as few words as possible, the feeling of failure has been the root of my depressed state. I am by nature a risk taker and this often plays out in my faith. When I feel like God is telling me to do something, I am willing to face the fear and mystery to follow His leadings. However, when following the will of God doesn’t necessarily map out the way I expected, I feel like I failed to hear and follow properly. This past year has been filled with these kinds of moments. I sought to risk it all and follow God’s leading only to find myself in divorce, financial hardship, and loneliness. In the eyes if the world, I feel like a total failure at every aspect of my life. In my attempts to change these outcomes, I only found myself in what would seem to be more failure. I find myself asking, “Where did I go wrong God?” on a daily basis.
A Short Tangent On Christian Counsel
In times of despair, seeming failure, and hopelessness you have to make sure that you have the right perspective. When I get in these places, I try my best to align my thoughts and emotions with God. Many will begin to start rattling off scriptures that are filled with the promises of God. Many of which either imply that you are where you are because of some besetting sin or that His lack of abundant provision means you stepped outside of His will some where along the way. This is typical in most Christian circles. When someone is hurting we are quick to throw out these goto verses without knowing if the scripture applies. Sometimes they do, but not always.
We have to remember that God’s ways are not our ways. Defaulting to these goto verses when people are hurting or struggling can put you in the same category as the friends of Job. Think about it! Job’s friends weren’t necessarily wrong in their assumptions. I am certain that in most cases they would be right in their conclusions. However, the story shows us that they were not only wrong, but they were sinful as a result of it. Yikes! Just goes to show that we need to be vigilant with how we handle the Word of God.
Looking at Job and Everyone Else
I can relate with Job. I can empathize with his despair and hopelessness. The truth is, this scenario is not limited to just Job. Almost all the prophets of the Old Testament found themselves in the same boat; feeling like failures and asking God, “Why?” The same is true for the believers of the New Testament and through out the history of the church. So many set out to follow God’s will only to find themselves in prison. Tortured and seemingly abandoned while their families suffered. Not the picture of success that I am certain we all think when we consider doing what God tells us. However, for the majority of the post resurrection believers, this was the norm.
Here’s the Truth
For some reason, I think that God’s promise to provide all I need means that I will not suffer or struggle. The truth is, if I look at the lives of the believers of the past and pair it with the Word of God, I see a picture of God’s perfect provision happening in the midst of what looks like failure. However, through the eyes of God, it is a total success. All the martyrs and all the struggle experienced by His followers is part of His perfect plan.
The pain that you have experienced is part of His perfect provision. All of your seeming failure is part of His perfect provision. Every aspect of your life, both good and bad are part of the beautiful tapestry of God’s kingdom plan. Every thread specifically chosen by God for His greater purpose. Your responsibility in all this is to make sure that you have the right perspective. Do you see your life through the eyes of the world, religion, or through the eyes of God?
Getting Out of the Funk
When I find myself in a funk of depression because I feel like I have failed in my pursuits of God’s will, I seek out the men and women of the Bible and history that found themselves in the same funk. I follow their example.
STEP 1: Lament
The first thing I do is lament. I basically become a whiny child in my prayers to God. Some may have an issue with this, but I firmly believe that this is an important step in the process. All the prophets had their moments of crying out to God and whining about their circumstances. This is where we experience the comfort and care of a loving Father who wants to hear about our raw emotions and pains. God wants us to express these feelings to Him… right, wrong, or indifferent. This opens us up for God to correct and encourage us.
STEP 2: Wait & Listen
This is key! Once you have laid your hurts and struggles before God, you need to wait patiently for His leading. Ready to hear what He has to say. This requires openness to all the ways God can speak to you. From that still small voice in your heart to the circle of friends, family, and mentors you have around you. I have even experienced God’s voice in total strangers and in the most unexpected moments.
STEP 3: Obey & Go
There is always something to learn from God. A new aspect of His character, some Biblical truth, something revealed about you or the people around you. As you learn this new thing, it should change you and they way you are feeling. The funk should begin to lift and is more often than not replaced with purpose and meaning. It is now on you to apply the lesson and share it with the rest of the world. This experience with God is now part of your witness. Go and declare it to all who are in need of the same experience.
It’s Not as Easy as it Sounds
This seems overly simplified, because it is. These steps are guidelines, not the answer. They are simply the things I try to do when I find myself overwhelmed by the waves and storms of this world. To quote the age old adage, “There is more than one way to skin a cat!” This is true in every aspect of our faith, which is what I love most about it. There is many ways to achieve the same result. God’s comfort, grace, and mercy are manifold; meaning it is multifaceted. He accomplishes the same thing in a million different ways. However, the result is always the same. We are changed forever! Thats the Truth!
For further study, read 1 Kings 19