Depression and resurrection

These words — depression and resurrection — appear almost jarring when put together in a sentence, seeming to not relate to one another at all. Let me explain.

The last few weeks have been difficult ones, mainly because of depression and some anxiety. I won’t go into all of the influences and reasons why, but there are many. I have missed several days of work as a result, and also I am way behind in my coursework. During this time, I have primarily felt overwhelmed, unable to cope properly, unable to think clearly or to focus.

Depression and/or anxiety are conditions that carry a significant stigma. There are millions of people who struggle with them, yet openly admitting to having depression and/or anxiety is still rather dodgy. We are somehow conditioned to think less of a person who has these conditions. As a result, I’ve thought long and hard about whether to even write this blog post, although I’ve written about it once before.

At the same time, I admit to feeling guilty, selfish, for struggling in this way. I have a strong sense of letting other people down.

One approach to help alleviate depression is to figure out ways to look outward, beyond oneself, to focus on other people. There are always those whose lives are much worse than my own. This is true, and worth remembering, especially because when I am struggling with depression and/or anxiety, I tend to be more inwardly focused. Another aspect to feeling guilty about it is if/whether/how it is a reflection of my own spiritual state. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not suggesting that depression and anxiety are purely spiritual issues at all — but for me, there is sometimes an important component of faith involved.

As I drove my kids to church early this morning and listened to music on the car radio, the lyrics of a song by Tenth Avenue North jumped out at me:

I've had plans
Shattered and broken
Things I have hoped in
Fall through my hands
You have plans
To redeem and restore me
You're behind and before me
Oh help me believe
God You don't need me
But somehow You want me
Oh how You love me
Somehow that frees me
To take my hands off of my life
And the way it should go, oh
 God You don't need me
But somehow You want me
Oh how You love me
Somehow that frees me
To open my hands up
And give You control

It is tremendously comforting to contemplate Jesus, the sinless one who suffered more in this way than any other as He approached the cross and then endured such an awful death of abandonment and physical torture. I recall, for example, that He was in such agony in the garden of Gethsemane that his sweat became as great drops of blood (Luke 22:44 NLT).

Today, the majority of Western Christians celebrate the wonderful outcome of that blessed story, the biggest event in human history: Jesus rose from the dead. Hallelujah!

Whatever your situation, may you be reminded of the fact that Jesus is victorious over death and the grave. Know that God is in control, that He has plans for you that are beyond your ability to comprehend. Take comfort and joy from that, if nothing else.

Happy Easter.

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