Christians and Depression
Depression… A Familiar Foe
Unfortunately, I think most all of us know what depression feels like. Depression, in America, is on the rise in an abundance of the likes we have never seen before. It is hitting harder, younger, and more swiftly each passing year. We have lost many friends, family members, and church friends to the fight of their life over depression. The concern for the topic of Christians and Depression grows more as time goes on.
I hate it.
I hate that it even exists. To be honest, until I faced a bout of it myself, I was a good bit unsympathetic towards those who suffered from it. It can come in several deceptive forms but it is an ugly demon awaiting attachment to your life.
No motivation, no smiling, hard to get out of bed, terrible nutrition habits, anger, massive mood swings, fighting with spouse, not seeing the light of day, no empathy for others etc. are just a few simple fruits of depression in your life.
Being that it is such a nasty entity most of us have faced (increasingly so) I have asked myself the questions, “why does it exist?” “why do we suffer from it?” “how do you climb out of the pit we call depression?”
As a disclaimer: I am not a doctor or certified counselor, I am only speaking from what little I have been able to study, and what little I have learned from first hand experience. I also will hopefully be walking through this on my Youtube Channel.
One of the most fundamental reasons Americans in particular struggle from depression at a high degree is because our modern western diet is ATROCIOUS. Depression effects us just as much in the physical that it does in the spiritual.
Twinkies, Doritos, Snickers, Cookie Dough Ice Cream, Pasta, fried chicken… Sounds amazing right?
On the surface, all of these foods taste divine, but I would suggest they have a direct impact on your mood over long periods of time. These foods cause weight gain which then reflects directly on the chemical balance of your stomach and brain.
Most of the dopamine and serotonin in the body is released from your gut. As you put on excess weight your testosterone/estrogen levels go haywire which have a direct effect on your overall mood. If your test. levels are low you don’t feel like doing anything…
You want to know another reason this effects your overall well being?
More Key Factors
You hate the way you look…
Let’s get super real. I hate to be blunt, but truthfully the self-conscience struggles I have had from being overweight hinge heavily upon my over-all mood and long term mentality, due to excess fat that I carry.
Let’s be honest, if you are overweight you struggle with some negative thoughts towards yourself about it. I know from experience, because I am. I’ve struggled with the infatuation of food for as long as I can remember. Burgers, ice cream, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, (I’m not bias, I like it all) have always been one of my biggest weaknesses. Sadly when I go into a restaurant I’m not even looking at the price nor am I looking for what sounds the best, but rather I am scrounging around looking for what is going to fill me up.
The way we look at food is often what causes us to have low energy levels, added stress due to weight gain, frustration, even feelings of loneliness and self worthlessness. That’s how strong of a hold food has on us. What seems glorious and incredible when it comes out of the oven turns into a never-ending abyss of depression.
Information from a Medical Profession
A Nurse Practitioner told me one time studies show people who suffer from depression are more commonly depleted in Vitamin D. When the good hormones in the body plummet due to a bad diet and lack of exercise your body can no longer produce the energy you need to feel awake and alert. Your body is constantly failing to process these high carbs and sugars that it spends all its energy on digestion alone, there’s no good energy left to give.
I am not a dietician or an expert on weight loss but I do know your overall physical well-being has a massive impact on your feelings, emotions, and mood. With that being said, most people know the practical steps to take to become more healthy.
I promise if you will implement these changes you will see a drastic shift in your energy and the way you feel about yourself. Pray for the strength of God to help you overcome this continual cycle of overeating. I am praying this prayer for you and myself.
Another Critical Component
Another physical, but also massively spiritual factor, in our discussion on Christians and Depression is a cycle that MANY are dealing with.
…and that is pornography.
Consistent porn addiction can also cause depression for a number of reasons. It lowers self worth in both males and females, it reduces motivation and drive to do anything else but nap and lust, it contorts the mind into vain imaginations which most assuredly leads to the enemy stealing, killing, and destroying the joy of your salvation.
Porn aides in depression because this specific sin keeps you in a state of what I call “la la land.” It’s not real life, it isn’t true sexual intimacy the way God designed it at all. In fact it is such a false and deceptive form of a selfish fleshly desire it intends on robbing every bit of light out of you.
To be clear I am not shaming you for having been a victim of porn and or overeating. I can only say any of this due to my own personal experiences. I am here to fight the battle with you. In a practical sense, the reason I bring these issues up is because in order to overcome the enemy of depression we must know what is causing it.
The Solution for Physical Depression
These fundamental two aides in depression were defeated at Calvary’s cross 2,000 years ago. Christ won the battle against lust, gluttony, and depression by overcoming it with His resurrection seal when He defeated death, hell, and the grave.
I know this almost sounds too simple, but it’s not. What I am about to tell you is the contending gospel truth for our lives in Christ… we overcome ALL sin by faith in Christ Jesus and what He accomplished on the cross.
Romans 12:1-2 so wonderfully depicts what it means to live free from sin.
Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Paul writes that it is ONLY by the mercies of God that we are to be a living sacrifice. What does that mean for us in terms of our fight with depression?
That means every single day when we wake up, before we even get out of bed, we make a single-minded decision to anchor our faith directly into Christ Jesus and His sacrifice for man-kind. The same way we became saved is the same way we overcome sin every single day.
Colossians 2:6 states “The same way you have received Christ Jesus; walk you therefore in Him.”
The Simplicity of Christ
It’s simple, the hard part is remaining to keep the gospel simple. The great news is Christ died for depression, he died to set those who were bruised to be liberated. It literally is the will of God to heal you from depression, in a physical and spiritual way. It is God’s will that you are sustained by the joy of the Lord.
Furthermore, it is POSSIBLE to remain in that joy. Think about what Paul says here in the latter part of Romans 6:4 “that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in the newness of life.”
Let that sink in…
Since Christ was raised from the dead, we are ALSO to walk in the NEWNESS of life. That is the promise of God, thank Jesus for that! Makes me want to do a praise break dance.
Facts and Feelings
Something to consider when dealing with the onslaught of being a Christian and dealing with depression are the catered triggers that pull you into a place of feeling hopelessly numb. What I mean by that is we all fight off depression for different reasons. Loss of a loved one, sickness, finances, failed relationships, etc. The list grows on and on in this ever failing world. The good news for us is Christ is still the never-changing complete and total answer.
He took care and continually takes care of all our problems. Jesus is the one that pulls us out of the miry clay of depression; not ourselves, we have to believe that He is able and that He is willing to do so.
I want to leave you with two final scriptures.
1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for us.”
And my personal favorite for combatting depression.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
What and who only fits this description perfectly?
Christ Jesus only.
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