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Overcoming Depression As a Christian

CoilyFields

Well-Known Member
Selfishness...hm, I guess it's part of the human experience. I just don't want people thinking that depression is a sin or something. If someone lost a child and got depressed, they are being selfish? Grief and trauma can cause chemical imbalances. Tragedy can cause extreme suffering, like war. IMHO, to suggest that someone who hadn't found a way to deal with their tragedy could be selfish is kinda harsh. I understand about individual experiences and all. I'd say, the average person who is depressed is not selfish but is suffering to find a way OUT of their situation and have not yet found it.

I believe there are legitimate situations that cause hurt and grief but can develop into selfishness that may lead to depression. Kind of like how anger can develop into bitterness when not checked at the door.


1. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. So when you sin as a christian that does not mean you are hellbound. This includes unintentional sins. A lot of our actions may be rooted in sins and we dont even realize it. Thats where grace and mercy come in. God knows our hearts so even when hurt causes us to sin unintentionally...God is a loving father that is looking to restore us not to condemn us.

2. Having said that, Im not sure that I would label all selfishness a sin. (Yall know how I am about calling stuff a sin when its not lol). I believe (personal belief) that there are times where selfishness could be a sin, where selfishness is not a sin but may be "inappropriate", and times where selfishness could be an appropriate choice.

Examples: Sin: If I see someone laid out in the middle of the street with no one else around and I simply pass them by without seeing if they need help or dialing 911 etc. cause I didnt feel like it. I think that would classify as having sinned. (It also happens to be against the law).

Inappropriate but not a sin: You want a snack. I have one but choose not to share it with you. (I probebly should share with you but I wouldn't label it a sin if I didnt)

Appropriate choice: I choose to give $35 to a charity a month even though I could afford to give $100. (And no God hasn't lead me to give anything...this was my choice). I have nothing in particular that I spend the other $65 on. Just because I haven't given ALL of my money to the poor doesn't mean I have sinned.

So when we go through traumatic situations we do have a right to mourn, cry, whatever and it doesn't necessarily mean we are being selfish. But when we fall into depression because of it we have become consumed by it and God doesnt want that for us. When we become consumed by situations we have taken our focus off of God and put it on our situation. Its not usually a conscious choice...its often gradual...but that doesnt make it any less selfish. It doesn't mean that you want to be depressed...doesnt mean that you're not trying to find a way out. Its just helpful to know the/a source.

Though I dont think all cases of depression are caused by an initial act of selfishness, I do believe that most likely all have a thread of selfishness running somewhere in them.

I know OP said she was not talking about chemical imbalances but since they were mentioned, I dont have a clear understanding of how they all work and therefore am not sure if the above applies to them. I do know this though...those of us who have experienced PMS, a chemical/hormonal imbalance, are not exempt from exhibiting self-control. We dont get a pass to wild out and have an attitude, God still expects us to be temperate (it just may take more effort and diligence at these times). So we do have power over (at least some) mental/hormonal issues, and therefore dont have to be victims of those strongholds.
 

sidney

New Member
There will be something in here for everyone. I am sure your post about selfishness may be just the post that someone here will need. I also like daydreem's testimony. I suppose there is no cookie cutter cure for everyone. I appreciate all that you and the other ladies have said so far and I hope and pray that as the other testimonies come in everyone people may be able to relate to what someone else may have posted in here. Thank you ladies for being candid and for actually having advice to help others navigate their situation.

I believe there are legitimate situations that cause hurt and grief but can develop into selfishness that may lead to depression. Kind of like how anger can develop into bitterness when not checked at the door.


1. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. So when you sin as a christian that does not mean you are hellbound. This includes unintentional sins. A lot of our actions may be rooted in sins and we dont even realize it. Thats where grace and mercy come in. God knows our hearts so even when hurt causes us to sin unintentionally...God is a loving father that is looking to restore us not to condemn us.

2. Having said that, Im not sure that I would label all selfishness a sin. (Yall know how I am about calling stuff a sin when its not lol). I believe (personal belief) that there are times where selfishness could be a sin, where selfishness is not a sin but may be "inappropriate", and times where selfishness could be an appropriate choice.

Examples: Sin: If I see someone laid out in the middle of the street with no one else around and I simply pass them by without seeing if they need help or dialing 911 etc. cause I didnt feel like it. I think that would classify as having sinned. (It also happens to be against the law).

Inappropriate but not a sin: You want a snack. I have one but choose not to share it with you. (I probebly should share with you but I wouldn't label it a sin if I didnt)

Appropriate choice: I choose to give $35 to a charity a month even though I could afford to give $100. (And no God hasn't lead me to give anything...this was my choice). I have nothing in particular that I spend the other $65 on. Just because I haven't given ALL of my money to the poor doesn't mean I have sinned.

So when we go through traumatic situations we do have a right to mourn, cry, whatever and it doesn't necessarily mean we are being selfish. But when we fall into depression because of it we have become consumed by it and God doesnt want that for us. When we become consumed by situations we have taken our focus off of God and put it on our situation. Its not usually a conscious choice...its often gradual...but that doesnt make it any less selfish. It doesn't mean that you want to be depressed...doesnt mean that you're not trying to find a way out. Its just helpful to know the/a source.

Though I dont think all cases of depression are caused by an initial act of selfishness, I do believe that most likely all have a thread of selfishness running somewhere in them.

I know OP said she was not talking about chemical imbalances but since they were mentioned, I dont have a clear understanding of how they all work and therefore am not sure if the above applies to them. I do know this though...those of us who have experienced PMS, a chemical/hormonal imbalance, are not exempt from exhibiting self-control. We dont get a pass to wild out and have an attitude, God still expects us to be temperate (it just may take more effort and diligence at these times). So we do have power over (at least some) mental/hormonal issues, and therefore dont have to be victims of those strongholds.
 
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SummerSolstice

New Member
It seems that selfishness can be misconstrued or confused with wanting more for yourself. I don't see what is wrong with that. I do see a problem with obsessing over it though.
 

proudofmynaps

Well-Known Member
Depression is also caused by selfishness

You have made YOUR situation, YOUR problems, YOUR feelings, YOUR desires the center of your life.

God has told us to put HIM first. And to be concerned about others. But instead we are completely focused on ourselves.

We are also not desiring the right things. Our focus is external when the solution is spiritual. God wants to give us HIS peace, joy, contentment etc. We are not supposed to be looking for fulfillment in other things...most especially ourselves.

I went through a bout of depression and I was ME-Focused. It SEEMED like my situation was overtaking me...I just coasted along with "no hope". NOTHING in my life was going right. Why me? It wasn't until I stopped my pity party (after almost 6 months) and turned to God for the answers, that I came out of it. (Oh and for real for real...my situation WAS HORRIBLE so it wasn't my imagination or overreacting, it made grown men cry to see what was happening to me...it was REAL! But my mistake was in letting it DEFINE me and I became my situation)

I had to stop focusing on my problems going away and focus on:

1. What is the purpose of trials? (found in the word)
2. Praying, fasting, studing the Word
3. Asking God to show me where I was weak spiritually and how to improve that
4. Ignoring what the devil said about me (that I was worthless and my situation was hopeless) and finding out what GOD said about me (in the WORD).
5. Get OUT OF THE HOUSE AND MINISTER TO SOMEONE ELSE (stop focusing so much on my problems) and GO HAVE FUN...laugh!!!
6. Definately memorized scriptures that pertained to my issues. Faith comes by hearing the word of God. SO I hid his word in my heart and spoke it to myslef to increase my faith.

Now all of the problems havent even been resolved in my life but I am no longer depressed! I have HOPE! I wont let it defeat me. And even though there are still moments of hurt I let God heal me and continue being about Kingdom business! I was CREATED to OVERCOME...so I stay true to my heritage.

You owe me a new laptop because I kick mines out of the window after reading your testimony. You were speaking to me this morning/:grin:
 

CoilyFields

Well-Known Member
You owe me a new laptop because I kick mines out of the window after reading your testimony. You were speaking to me this morning/:grin:


LOL! Girl you might have to wait until black friday for me to replace it!

Im glad it helped. Thank God that in his omescience he designed my trial not only to make me stronger but so that I could pass that on to someone else so they can get the lessons quicker than I did. LOL. PLEASE...Somebody learn from my mistakes! :lol:
 

CoilyFields

Well-Known Member
It seems that selfishness can be misconstrued or confused with wanting more for yourself. I don't see what is wrong with that. I do see a problem with obsessing over it though.

Nothing wrong with wanting more for yourself.

When I say selfish I mean being Me-focused when we should be God-focused. (This brought to mind when Peter was walking on water towards Jesus. As long as his focus was Jesus he stayed afloat.).

But as sidney said, everyone may not agree with or undestand what Im saying but Im glad for the ones it may help. And I also appreciate everyone else's contributions.
 

auparavant

New Member
I can comprehend your point of view based upon your experiences, @CoilyFields, but maybe some of the responses questioning yours are based upon seeing so many not seeking therapy and thinking they can cure themselves through scripture. G-d also tells us to seek wise counsel. The state of mental health among Blacks can be abysmal compared to others and one of the reasons is that they do not seek professional help. For major depression, stepping outside of self might not be a choice and is most likely not linked to any selfish tendencies, but to a chemical imbalance caused by many factors.
 

LifeafterLHCF

New Member
Depression can be for many reasons. Some have really hard childhoods and the things from the past can be hard to let go of. At times people feel more comfort of being depressed than trying to be happy.

Some can be for selfish reasons-then pride really is the root cause.

At times depression is coupled with many physical and mental issues that may be caused by a chemical imbalance that is needed to be corrected.

Most times folk who have never really gone through much can't understand depression and feel it's something you can just shake off one day arbitrarily. It takes time,prayer,going through some uncomfy things and having a support system. The daunting task of depression is very bondage like but we are all in the body thus all have our father who can do all and the possibility of a life not plagues and riddled with depression and all that is lost bc of it can be restored.
 

CoilyFields

Well-Known Member
I can comprehend your point of view based upon your experiences, CoilyFields, but maybe some of the responses questioning yours are based upon seeing so many not seeking therapy and thinking they can cure themselves through scripture. G-d also tells us to seek wise counsel. The state of mental health among Blacks can be abysmal compared to others and one of the reasons is that they do not seek professional help. For major depression, stepping outside of self might not be a choice and is most likely not linked to any selfish tendencies, but to a chemical imbalance caused by many factors.



auparavant



I highlighted the bolded because I think its very important for us to do this! Though I didnt put it in my original post I did have counseling with my Pastor and then for a couple of weeks with a professional Christian therepist. My personal victory over depression was definately a combination of their input and my personal meditation.



And dont get me wrong lol...When I walked into these sessions the first thing I heard wasn't "You're being selfish!" lol. A lot of it was discovered in retrospect. Hindsight is 20/20 and after having come out of depression I could look back and see how I got there and that was from being consumed with my problems...being Me-focused.





As for depression caused by chemical imbalances...Im not sure how I feel about this. Do chemical imbalances mean medication is necessary? According to society...Usually. Chemical imbalances as a cause of depression is a hypothesis in the medical field, an imperfect one at that (its accepted because its the only one they have some evidence to go on at the moment-besides social/evironmental factors-but much like evolution its been accepted as fact)...but its one that drug companies pay big bucks to support. As a Christian and a social worker I believe that society has put big names on "normal" problems (with the goal of making money through medication). So a lot of things that should be dealt with socially and spiritually are dealt with medicinally. I don't believe that it is God's will that we be dependant on medicine to make it through the day.

DISCLAIMER: I DO believe that there are mental illnesses that should be diagnosed and treated accordingly. I just dont think its nearly as many as are being touted by society. ( On the flip side, I also do not believe that mental illness equals having a demon as some Christians do.)

I often wonder about other countries...basically poorer ones...why is it that they dont suffer from depression like we do in more affluent countries? I think it has a lot to do with our lifestyles and how we cope with problems. I think there are ways to prevent depression and other illnesses and ways to treat them that do not include medicine.

This is a working hypothesis. I have not thought this completely through from all angles but Im leaning towards it.

So what do you ladies think? (Sorry if Im hijacking your thread op )

If chemical imbalances are a legitimate cause of depression...does that mean that medicine is the solution?

Is there a spiritual aspect to this? If we didnt think there was a "medical" problem introduced...how would we address depression?

(And yes I have considered physical illnesses and medication and weather this same theory can be applied to it...just haven't worked it through yet)
 

Laela

Sidestepping the "lynch mob"
I'm no expert on depression or mental illness... far from it... but I really...really...really...do believe in whole healing of spirit, body, mind and soul -- no matter the dis-ease or illness. When God heals, He heals. Some believe once an alcoholic, always alcoholic, just a clean, sober one. I tend to disagree... Why call yourself an "alcoholic" if you no longer drink? Speaking life over anything dead, keeps it dead.

Consider the man who was relieved of an unclean spirit that, when it returned, found his temple unoccupied and because it was unoccupied, found a place to dwell again....and his condition was worse than before.

Matthew 12:
43 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”

It's not enough to just be healed, but to remain occupied with the things of God.

 

Laela

Sidestepping the "lynch mob"
Side note: I believe way more of us (people in general) have suffered depression in some form in our life time. There are all types of depressions, from mild to manic. Some can get out of the rut, others can't. It's not as unique/special an experience as some of us would like to believe....

I've gone through a bought of depression before and it took a few years to snap back from it. There is always a way of escape - for any Christian.
 

loolalooh

Well-Known Member
Depression can be exacerbated by isolation or loneliness. This post from a blog arrived in my inbox yesterday. It discusses how to deal with loneliness from a Christian perspective:

Loneliness
by fast. pray.
We are fasting and praying again tomorrow for God-honoring marriages, redeemed men, and rescue from our own sin and brokenness. Over 700 people from around the world are doing this today, a far cry from the band of six that started this five years ago….

Two of the times I felt the loneliest as a single woman were going to parties, and being photographed for the church directory. I dreaded seeing the picture of me, all by myself, sandwiched between happy couples with cute, smiling children. When I was in my early twenties, my roommates and I avoided this by getting our photo taken together; but that started to feel a bit weird when directory time came around again in my later twenties — my roommates weren’t my family, after all. So I dodged the whole deal until my mid-thirties, when I decided to bite the bullet and just have that solo picture taken. Still, I felt sad and alone (and sometimes a bit embarrassed) to have my singleness “immortalized” in such a stand-out way.

And then there were the parties. I never liked walking into parties by myself, especially if I didn’t know whether I’d know many people. It’s always uncomfortable feeling like you don’t have a place to land when you run out of people to talk with. More often than not it turned out fine, but I never looked forward to the awkwardness, and sometimes I’d prolong conversations well past the interesting stage just because I didn’t see anyone else on the horizon I could easily make a move towards. Once I skipped a good friend’s anniversary party because I was in a bit of an emotional pit and couldn’t face going there alone. I just didn’t have the energy to start up conversations with strangers, or to navigate the awkwardness if I found myself alone.

So what do we do with the loneliness? Prior to getting married, my honest (if un-admitted) answer would have been “pray to get married!” But I’ve since learned that isn’t a fix. I married a good man, and yet I still get waves of loneliness. Last night I talked to a long-time friend from the town where I used to live, and I was reminded once again how much I miss my friends. That familiar pit in the stomach returned.

So what’s our strategy for dealing with loneliness? I think it can be particularly acute for those who are single, but I’ve discovered it’s really a human ache, and all of us feel it. How do we cope?

1) Pray. Cry out to God, surrendering it to him a thousand times a day if you have to. God is near, and present. He is Immanuel, God with us. I had to do this again this morning, when I woke up to realize I hadn’t shaken my wave of loneliness.

2) Practice thankfulness. Ask God to show you ways you aren’t alone, and give thanks. I dare to say that few people will claim to have all of their relational “life buckets” filled to satisfaction at the same time. But all of us do have people in our lives — roommates, siblings, friends, co-workers, church communities. Ask God to show you who is with you, and choose gratitude.

3) Put others first. I was wrong to skip my friend’s anniversary party. Sometimes it’s ok to give yourself a break and stay home; this time it wasn’t. I hurt my friend, and I regret my decision. I wish I had chosen to love my friend by being present at her important celebration rather than selfishly sinking into my own pit of sadness. Life and healing come when we choose to love, even in the midst of our own struggle.

The truth is, of all people in the world, we as believers are most fortunate because we are never alone. God is present with us, in us. We have intimacy with him always at our fingertips. May God give us grace to press into his nearness.

Anne
 
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