I hear from many people, including Christians, about how much they’re struggling with depression and anxiety, especially during the holidays.
And it saddens me that they feel they have to confess it in a whisper.
Their whispered confession is less due to the embarrassment of not being a stronger person, and more because they fear judgment from “stronger” Christians.
Satan works diligently to keep their shame of hopelessness and fear alive. And unfortunately, sometimes we, as the church, follow suit. When we don’t allow ourselves to become more transparent with our own struggles, we feel isolated and miss out on one another’s prayer and support.
Sometimes when I read the story about Peter sinking while trying to walk on water, I see myself many years ago, especially in the days immediately following my discharge from the hospital after another nervous breakdown.
I was so afraid. I prayed for confidence to step out of my comfortable, safe “boat” in order to walk and live in the stable world. Most days, anxiety overwhelmed me. But I thought about when Peter began to sink how “Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”’ (Matthew 14:31 ESV).
For a long time, I skipped over the last part of that verse because I hated the thought of Jesus reprimanding my lack of faith. But eventually, I was able to hear Him speak to my heart in a different tone: “Sheryl, why do you doubt? Don’t you know how much I love you? I will help you walk through this.”
I am thankful for God bringing people into my life during those times. Through them, I felt God’s hand reaching out and taking hold of me. Every time someone encouraged me and prayed with me, I was able to believe God wasn’t abandoning or giving up on me.
So, if you’re sinking into depression or anxiety, I hope you will let us know. Whether you reach out with a whisper or a loud cry, it’s my hope that we, as the church, will be the hands, ears and heart of Christ for you.
Sheryl H. Boldt lives in Alligator Point, and is the author of www.TodayCanBeDifferent.net. You can email Sheryl at firstname.lastname@example.org