I heard today that 10% of 5-16 years olds in the UK suffer from mental health issues. It is well known that depression affects many church ministers, and that Christians suffer from anxiety issues as much as any people group. Some doctors say up to 75% of cases in their surgeries are stress related.
Without a doubt we live in a day when poor mental health is at epidemic levels.
But if you suffer from stress, anxiety and even life debilitating depression you are in good company. Spiritual leaders from King David to Elijah seemed to suffer. Elijah wanted to take his own life, while the warrior King David talked of crying all night! These are tough men in extreme mental anguish.
Many great leaders from Churchill to Abraham Lincoln also suffered from the pain of enduring too much emotional and mental pressure, leaving them depressed.
If you are suffering from irrational fears, irritability, a sense of being overwhelmed all the time, an inability to make decisions, dark hopelessness or constant tearfulness, perhaps chronic anxiety has led you to depression. Even “good” Christians (in fact it’s more likely that “good” Christians!) go there.
You see depression is often the disease of the strong.
It’s those who have tried to keep it all together for others who eventually break under the strain. Trying to be selfless for years, desiring to be “excellent”, attempting to please too many people, or pretending to be the strong one for the sake of the needy around you – this is who is most commonly impacted by depression.
Thankfully, though we the Church have much to learn about ministering to the depressed, both the bible and God fully understand. His word is full of ways to walk back out of depression, change focus, rest wisely and find a better way to live.
In 3 talks, spread over 2 hours of teaching, I talk about my own battles with stress, how God teaches us to overcome, and how we can return to the peace He promised. I talk about the taboo of depression, how the Bible teaches we can overcome, and how the grace of God is there to help us. This has been one of our most requested teaching series to date.
Check it out in itunes today. I pray it blesses you richly…