I’ve been hiding something…
I haven’t told anyone…
Well, because sometimes as a Christian, it is frowned upon.
It’s depression, and it is debilitating.
God is good, all the time.
I totally understand, I was depressed WAY worse before.
God will use this for good.
Maybe you’re starting to go through “the change”.
You should pray more, read more, fast more.
All things I have been told while walking through this time. And all things that I believe from the bottom of my heart (except for the part about me being close to menopause, I refuse to accept that).
People mean well, they’re just trying to help. But when you are drowning, you just need help, you need someone to pull you out. You don’t want them to stand over you looking down and saying “Well, gee whiz! How the heck did you get down there? You probably should’ve planned better.” It takes a whole lot of courage to open up to someone and tell them how you are really doing, and how you are hurting. After being so transparent and vulnerable, you need someone who will (honestly) shut their mouth, reach out their hand and help you. You can discuss ways to avoid drowning in the future, but for the time being rescue is necessary.
“But, you’re a worship leader! How can you be going through depression? I saw you on Sunday morning and you looked just fine!” I know, right, I’m so convincing! HA! The outward appearance rarely gives us a true glimpse into people’s lives and hearts. Generally we have no idea what is going on deep down. It’s not because we don’t care, it’s not because they don’t matter. It’s because we guard ourselves so completely and aggressively because we don’t want to dump on people, and we really don’t feel like dredging up all our emotions and crying off all the makeup we worked so hard to put on.
As a worship leader, I get the opportunity to stand before God and His people and lead them in worship. I don't take that lightly. I understand the great responsibility and privilege it is, and I never feel more complete than when I am in a room full of people pouring their hearts out to God through music. However, I will be brutally honest with you and say that there have been times where I have been standing on stage with my guitar in my hands, the mic at my lips and my heart in my throat. In those moments, I want nothing more than to run off stage and as far away as possible letting the tears flow freely. But, by God’s great grace He gives us strength to stand and walk BOLDLY forward in what He has called us to.
The other day I googled “John Piper depression” and found one of the clearest descriptions of what it’s like to be a Christian struggling with depression. He is one of my favorite pastors. It’s the kind of teaching that you have to rewind again and again because your mind is blown by what you’ve just heard! I find my self shouting “YES! YES! That’s exactly it!” Anyway, I found a 6 minute video where it seemed that he was reading my mind! He was asked the question “How can someone worship God joyfully in the corporate service if he or she is struggling with depression?” It absolutely expressed exactly where my heart was and gave me another ounce of hope to throw on the small pile I have been collecting while I walk through this valley of depression.
I mean….right?! It gives me chills every time. I KNOW God is good, I KNOW He will use this for good, I know that after every valley there is a mountain top. But before every mountain top, there is an uphill hike. Maybe I’m not in the valley anymore, maybe just maybe I’m on the uphill climb! And no, I’m not faking smiles when I am worshipping God. You can’t fake joy, and sometimes in the midst of darkness, the only joy is (and should be) in Jesus, and the hope that is offered. When I stand before you and lead you in worship, I am standing completely transparent before my God and saying “You’re all I’ve got God.” And in that moment, He meets me. It doesn’t always make the depression leave, but I have that glimpse, that moment of peace, that seed of contentment and that hiding place.
Why do I struggle with depression?
Simply put, because the enemy prowls around like a lion wanting to destroy me. Why? Because I believe in Jesus. Because I have memories of times when He delivered me and the sun shined brighter, the birds sang louder, and I smiled more. And, thankfully, those kinds of memories have a habit of repeating themselves, and I look forward to that with great anticipation.
P.S. Just so I'm clear...I don’t write this for sympathy, so please don’t feel that you need to treat me like a fragile flower, or treat me like I am dying. I write this believing full well that I am not alone in this struggle. That being said, I hope this encourages you to be bold, to take heart and grab on to hope. Worship Him whether you’re in the valley or the uphill climb. I love you and I am praying for you my friends.