2014 September – Unlocking the Prison of Depresssion

Unlocking the Prison of Depression by Kathie Hobson                                               

I meet with all kinds of people every week, and most of them are suffering from a lot of emotional pain.  Some see themselves as depressed.  But even so, emotional pain does not have to lead to depression.  The problem is that people who are depressed typically do not allow themselves to feel their pain.  As a result, they are not able to process the pain they’re going through.  Instead, they tell themselves things that actually shut down their emotions, which either brings on depression or keeps them depressed.

For example, people who are depressed often tell themselves:

  • “I shouldn’t feel this way.”
  • “I should be over this by now.”
  • “Other people have it a lot worse than I do.”
  • “I should be thankful for what I have.”
  • “If I really trusted God, I wouldn’t be feeling this way.”
  • “I have to be strong for other people.”
  • “It is weak to have this emotion.”

If you have a habit of talking to yourself like this when you are hurting, you are upping your chances of experiencing depression. Remember the saying: Feelings are for feeling, not for fixing!

My mom died of cancer when I was 17. The morning she died, I remember walking down the staircase of my home while at the same time a pastor was coming in the front door. When our eyes met, I said to the pastor, “I lost my mom.” He replied, “Do you know where she is?” I said, “Yes, she is in heaven.” He then asked, “How could you lose your mom if you know where she is?” I remember thinking that was such a profound statement, but that one statement from the pastor held up my grieving process for twenty years.

When someone dies, it may be to that person’s gain by going to heaven, but it is most certainly a loss to those who are left behind. A loved one may now be in a better place, but that doesn’t change the loss you feel here and now.

I love the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead (John, chapter 11). Jesus knew when He came to Bethany that Lazarus wouldn’t remain in the grave. But when Mary saw Jesus and came to Him weeping, He didn’t say, “Woman, you shouldn’t be crying. It’s been four days, and you should be over this by now.” Or, “Don’t you trust me?” Or, “Where’s your faith?” No, Jesus wept too. But why would He weep if He knew Lazarus would live again? Jesus wept because that was what Mary needed at the time. Let’s follow the pattern of Jesus and weep with those who weep, even if it means weeping with just ourselves.

We grieve when a loved one dies, but we also grieve when our feelings are hurt, when a friend moves away, when we lose a job, or when we don’t get a particular job. We often give ourselves the wrong message when we are grieving, and our family and friends often do the same. They may be the ones telling you, “Just get over it!”  But since our brains only listen to us, we can comfort ourselves regardless of what others say.

Jesus was giving us the “key” to unlocking the prison of depression: Weep with those who weep! It’s important to understand that grief is a painful yet normal part of life. Whether someone else has been giving you the wrong messages or you have been giving them to yourself, it’s time to use the “key” that Jesus gave you and start giving yourself permission to honestly feel what you’re going through. Then you can walk in the freedom Father God has for you. Remember: FEELINGS ARE FOR FEELING, NOT FOR FIXING!


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