Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ (ESV).
I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed when I saw an article that caught my attention. It was titled 15 Habits of People With Concealed Depression. Having battled with depression and post partum depression before, I related. But there’s something in particular that caught my attention and deeply grieved me. The word “concealed”. Many hide their pain. I’ve found believers especially do.
There’s a woman I have been friends with for over two years now. We pray together regularly. I do my best to be a support. My life doesn’t allow me much time to connect with others. She’s a very outgoing bubbly person. I noticed a while ago she wasn’t reaching out as much. Various reasons were given. To most she seemed OK, but knowing her fairly well, I could sense something was wrong. I finally just bluntly asked if she was all right. I got a voicemail full of pain and tears. She had been in a deep depression and had even felt she’d be better off dead. Her children are why she doesn’t entertain that thought more or act on it.
My friend is a very solid believer. The shame and rejection she’d faced from other so called believers in the face of her depression kept her withdrawn. My heart nearly broke. This is the state of the Body (church, believers) as a whole. Many are desperately hurting. They do not feel safe (sometimes rightfully so) to seek support. In her case, she’s disabled. Her physical pain becomes unbearable at times. Pain is isolating. Most won’t take a few minutes to reach out. I’m not trying to elevate myself or seem condemning, but that is just terrible to me. We make time for trivial things yet overlook a hurting person. God forbid. Lord have mercy.
I get quite a few messages from people in response to my posts on Facebook and my blogs. I believe it’s because they sense the Ruach (Spirit) and how He uses me and sadly, because many have nowhere or no one to turn to. Churches are often places that cause more injury. People who are depressed or who struggle in some way get coldly judged (not righteously so as in John 7:24), avoided, or told they need more faith. Some are even rebuked, putting them in even greater pain. Yes, depression does involve doing your part to heal. But sometimes saying “shape up” or “just smile and let it go” is nowhere near enough.
Today, I want to leave you with two points and a challenge. First, know that God is love and we love Him because He first loved us (see 1 John 4:19). Second, in response to receiving His love we must love one another as this sums up the law. Galatians 5:14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (ESV). This means we take the time to care about others in actions. Help someone in need. Offer a kind word. Be the hands and feet of Yeshua (Jesus).
I am transparent because I hid my pain for many years. I know firsthand what it’s like to be shunned or misunderstood. I want others to know they are not alone. If I can help someone know God’s love and show it to someone else, that is the greatest gift and joy I can receive. It makes all the praying, writing and pouring out I do worth it. For the whole point of living is to emulate and honor Him.
Prayer: Father, lead me to someone today that needs You and help me to love them. May my thoughts, words, and actions glorify You. Thank you for the blessings You’ve given me.
Psalm 61:1-3 ESV Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.
John 13:35 ESV By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
Romans 12:10 ESV Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
1 John 4:11 ESV Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.