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  • Writer's pictureRenikko Bivens

Christians Can Experience Depression, Too

Updated: Nov 19, 2023

While skimming through Reddit posts, I was searching for something else when I unexpectedly came across this post.

I had to pause for a minute because some people may look at this post and think, "How ridiculous! Why would someone feel guilty about being a depressed Christian?" But as a fellow believer, I understand. This post resonates deeply with me.

If you've never battled with depression as a believer, you won't understand what it's like to live with this ‘thing', this dark meager place of existence. Where you feel like if you just had enough faith, if you prayed a little longer, believed a little harder, and made enough positive confessions and declarations you would get better. Only to discover that once you've failed at all of these tasks, you're left feeling defeated and unworthy. You may also feel defective because not only are you battling depression, but you also believe that there is something inadequate and flawed with your faith. Why can't you seem to muster up the correct level of faith that would make all of these problems disappear?

This cycle of insanity is often the reason why so many believers have suffered in silence instead of seeking the help they need. Who wants to struggle with depression, only to be told that it's still lurking because of a lack of faith or insufficient belief? It's like kicking someone when they're already down.

For the believer who finds themselves in this situation, can I encourage you for a moment with three scriptures?

"I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world." - John 16:33 CSB

This is Jesus talking to his disciples and encouraging them prior to his crucifixion. One of the things He made sure to let them know is that in this world, times of suffering are inevitable. He told them to have courage because he had conquered the world. What does that mean for us? As children of Christ, if Christ has conquered the world, we are also conquerors through Him. So, no matter what we go through or experience, we can never be defeated in Christ Jesus.

Does depression sometimes feel like defeat? Absolutely. As someone who has experienced depressive episodes before, I can honestly say that those periods do not last forever. Depression will make you believe that it will never go away that it is always present, and life will never be any different. However, it does get better. Life does improve, and things change.

"Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." - Matthew 11:28-30 CSB

Maybe you're in need of rest? No, I'm not talking about taking a nap or going to bed early. For some people who battle depression, one of the signs that they are struggling is their inability to get out of bed and engage in activities. Therefore, I'm definitely not referring to that type of rest. But I'm talking about finding rest in your soul.

I'm not quite sure who the originator of this quote is, but it says: "Sleep doesn't work when it's not your body but your soul is tired." These are definitely true words.

But right there, in Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus is speaking to a crowd of people. Part of his speech was a word of encouragement, invitation, and instruction for those who may be feeling weary and burdened. Jesus didn't heap a pile of condemnation and guilt on people, but he acknowledged the condition of some of those in the crowd and invited them to come to Him. In the same way, believers who are battling depression have the same opportunity to find their rest in Christ. There is no guilt, only rest.

"If I say, 'My foot is slipping,' your faithful love will support me, Lord. When I am filled with care, your comfort brings me joy." - Psalm 94:18-19 CSB

While there are different writers within the book of Psalms, Psalm 94 is attributed to King David. Even as a king, this Psalm shows the need for comfort, as King David openly expressed his vulnerable state. There was no need for David to feel guilt or shame; he only needed to recognize who the provider of the help and comfort he needed was. Depression can make us feel as if our foot is slipping and as if we're losing control over our situation. However, even as believers, when we experience these things, it presents an opportunity to embrace the comfort of Christ.

I would like to close with this: if you are struggling, please, please, please don't try to overcome this situation with sheer willpower. Be honest with yourself and recognize if you need help. There are mental health professionals available, and some pastors have training in counseling. Additionally, there is a growing number of Christian Counselors. If you are someone who is skeptical about counseling, do not underestimate the power of confiding in another sister or brother in Christ and letting them know about your struggles.

"Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens another." -Proverbs 27:17 CSB


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