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Featured Is it Normal to be Depressed and Unhappy in the Christian Walk?

Discussion in 'Christian Advice' started by DM25, Mar 20, 2019.

  1. Ing Bee

    Ing Bee Son of Encouragement Supporter

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    Hi there,

    Thanks for sharing your situation. I can tell that you have a lot going on in your mind, the tension between what you want and what you are experiencing.

    I'd enjoy hearing from you what you mean by taking your "walk with God more serious". What was it that drew you to the good news in the first place? How did God draw you to himself? How would you articulate what the good news is and what you think is the core of the Christian experience? You might have some misconceptions that are inhibiting you from experiencing the contentment Paul talks about...from a prison cell! (Philippians 4) Can you describe how you "enjoyed life" before? Part of the transformation that the Holy Spirit works is to change our desires and perceptions.

    A few other things to know about suffering, pain, and sorrow in the Christian life:
    • Jesus promised suffering and persecution for all of his followers, but he has overcome for us (John 16:33)
    • We live in a sin and death cursed world. As such we are in tension. (1 John 2:17)
    • We have an inner battle between our new self and our old self (Eph. 4:20-24)
    • Righteous people have always suffered (see David in the Psalms)
    • "Feelings" are not the focus of the New Testament writers, at least not as the top-most issue. Instead, the consistent focus is on personal trust in who Yahweh has revealed himself to be through the Son (Romans 5:8). Trust is not a feeling, it is an act of your will based on your perception of someone's trustworthiness. Jesus has done for us what no one else has, can or will.
    • Our minds are transformed when we start thinking God's way (Romans 12:2) which results in our will/desires changing to want the things God wants (self-giving, other-focused living=agape love). When we get what we want, we are happy. If we want what God wants and act to achieve that will, we will be content, like Paul in Phil. 4., regardless of our circumstances.
    • God delights in hearing our pain, anxieties and fear. He is a GOOD Father. (1 Peter 5:7, Phil. 4:6)
    • He always responds when we draw near to Him. (Hebrews 11:6)
    • Jesus is our model for suffering well and remaining connected to the Father.
    Alright! A fellow musician. Everything is worth singing about. The only difference between a Christian songwriter and a songwriter who doesn't yet know the love of God in Christ is a transformed view of reality. Paul tells Timothy that everything God made is good and nothing is to be rejected when it is received as a good gift from a loving Father (1 Tim. 4:4). How does knowing the Father's love because Jesus gave himself gor you on the cross change your views on life, love, relationships, etc.?

    I write all kinds of songs:
    • Silly songs
    • Songs about my wife
    • Story songs
    • Songs for my kids
    • Songs about writer's block
    • Songs about taking a walk with a friend
    • Scripture memory songs
    • Songs about a stage magician down on his luck
    • Songs about a boxer
    • Songs about how hard life is
    • Songs about migraines
    • Even the odd worship song
    A small percentage of my songs explicitly mention gospel themes, but, in the words of Flannery O'Connor, EVERYTHING I write is "Christ-haunted".

    Don't stress out about writing Christian songs, write songs out of your life in Christ as a human being.

    Sounds like you have a lot you are dealing with. The gospel is transformative, but God is patient and he is the one who completes the work he has begun in your life. (Phil. 1:6) Trusting him is not a one time thing, but a daily commitment, similar to a marriage or a job. Everyday you choose to engage.

    "First love" (e.g. in Revelation 2:4) is not about a "feeling " of love, like you might have in a romantic relationship. The word is "agapen", self-given-other-benefitting-action. Jesus was cautioning the Ephesian church that they were no longer acting out of deep care for one another. They had become self-centered and likely there were factions and in-fighting. "Treat each other as I have treated you", is the point, not a return to a loving mood.

    He's got you, don't worry. He who did not spare his Son will not be stingy toward you.
     
  2. derpytia

    derpytia Compassion. Supporter

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    I say, if you're always happy and never sorrowful or sad in your Christian walk then you are either not doing it right or your time of sorrow has not come yet.
     
  3. Phoebe Ann

    Phoebe Ann From Mormonism to Christ Supporter

    +7,228
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    Widowed
    Those are great verses but I wouldn't call it a spiritual illness. Saying that implies a lack of faith.

    I agree. And, we, as Christians are obligated to build each other up.
     
  4. Joined2krist

    Joined2krist Active Member

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    Rejoice in the Lord always again I say Rejoice.

    Delight in Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart

    Brethren, it's up to us to enjoy our Christian life. How do we do it? By letting go and letting God reign in your life. It shouldn't be forced, it's you opening up and allowing God reign. God isn't stopping you from watching TV, you shouldn't watch porn and other things that will corrupt your mind, but you can watch wholesome programmes that you can learn from or simply entertain yourself with. You said you're not good at gospel music but you can write inspirational songs and anything wholesome. If you truly love God, you will enjoy serving and obeying Him
     
  5. Josephus

    Josephus <b>Co-Founder Christian Forums</b> Supporter

    +229
    Messianic
    The root cause of depression and sadness is a lack of emunah, or faith in G-d's sovereignty over everything. Faith that G-d rules the world, that nothing happens apart from Him, that everything happens for the very best, because he is a good G-d. This might help:



    Start at 4:45. This is a direct link to the very words you probably need to hear.

    Shalom
     
  6. RDKirk

    RDKirk Alien, Pilgrim, and Sojourner Supporter

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    For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

    Being a member of the Body of Christ doesn't mean casting off all yokes and burdents. Christ does have a yoke and burden for each of us--that burden is each other.

    From a popular song of the 70s:

    [​IMG]

    The road is long
    With many a winding turn
    That leads us to who knows where?
    Who knows where?
    But I'm strong
    Strong enough to carry him
    He ain't heavy, he's my brother

    So on we go
    His welfare is my concern
    No burden is he to bear
    We'll get there
    For I know
    He would not encumber me
    He ain't heavy, he's my brother

    If I'm laden at all
    I'm laden with sadness
    That everyone's heart
    Isn't filled with the gladness
    Of love for one another

    It's a long, long road
    From which there is no return
    While we're on the way to there
    Why not share?
    And the load
    Doesn't weigh me down at all
    He ain't heavy, he's my brother
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2019
  7. RDKirk

    RDKirk Alien, Pilgrim, and Sojourner Supporter

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    Very true, and a very good point.
     
  8. timothyu

    timothyu Well-Known Member

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    As you showed with your post above.
     
  9. Celticroots

    Celticroots Newbie

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    The root cause of depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain. Ignorance like this regarding mental illness is what discouraged people from seeking help.
     
  10. Josephus

    Josephus <b>Co-Founder Christian Forums</b> Supporter

    +229
    Messianic
    All calamaties, as well as miracles, have natural causes and explanations, but the root is always spiritually linked. Not until the root is dealt with, is there a permanent fix. Until then, chemical solutions will only be a band-aid until the real root is dealt with. I've never met anyone who is praising and worshiping G-d with joy, as someone suffering depression at that very instant.

    I guarantee that once any depressed persons starts to thank G-d for their situation, believe that what G-d does is for the very best, and starts praising G-d with joy, that not only will their depression be completely reversed, it will also immediately cause that person to start thinking clearer and start receiving or thinking about permanent solutions that will better their lives overall.

    Of course there's always a band-aid. But if you want a permanent solution to life's troubles, start with praying and thanking G-d for them, and trusting that He has a way to make even the most terrible of situations turn out for the good.
     
  11. Ching Ching

    Ching Ching New Member

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    Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint - It means It is your whole life, to run consistently. It is not about happiness but JOY. I guess It is pretty easy to get happiness and joy mixed up, but remember happiness are temporary and Joy is long lasting. You were happy when you first got saved, but that was temporary because of the instant excitement. But the longer term JOY can only come when you start developing a more intimate relationship with Christ - by praying, studying his word, and submitting to him and his will (not by your own effort). Paul says in Philippians 4:

    "Not that I amspeaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be acontent. 12 Iknow how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, Ihave learned the secret of facing plenty and bhunger, abundance and cneed. 13 I can do allthings dthrough him who strengthens me."

    I think being content of your current situation will eventually bring joy to your life. And eventually, you will find out how "freeing" It is! When you become a Christian you are FREED from the yoke of SLAVERY, even though the things of the world seems fun, they actually entrap you and you said It yourself that you do not want to go back, which is awesome.

    Regarding music, you can still enjoy making music! There are plenty of room for making clean secular music that can still glorify him with your talent! I would not be legalistic about It and play nothing but gospel music. God does not call everyone to be a pastor or missionary, but call us to do our best in whatever job he has given us. IF your gift is music, use It! There may be people you can touch through music that would want to grow closer to Christ because they saw the JOY in your life!
     
  12. Sketcher

    Sketcher Born Imperishable

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    Secular music isn't bad in and of itself. If it's clean secular, it's fine. I would advise allowing yourself to enjoy clean secular music again, and see if that gets your creative juices flowing.

    Another thing you might try is just composing instrumentals, and don't worry about writing lyrics to them. Save that for another time, or collaborate with someone who is gifted to write Biblically accurate worship songs. Do this in absolutely any genre you want.
     
  13. aiki

    aiki Regular Member

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    Sadly, your experience is not uncommon among people professing to be Christians. Mainly this is so because of a misunderstanding about what God wants from His children. God intends that all the changes you are making to your life come out of your love for Him. Forsaking worldly pleasures, avoiding sinful temptations, reorienting your skills and gifts toward glorifying God, centering your life on your Maker - all these things are supposed to arise out of a love for your Heavenly Father and your Saviour. The First and Great Commandment isn't to give up all your secular music, or never watch YouTube again, or forsake all video games. No, the First and Great Commandment is to love God with all of your being (Matthew 22:36-38) Until you do love God, the life of self-denial to which He calls all of His children will seem just a burdensome, joy-sucking, boring labour. Only when you love God will giving up all the things that hinder and corrupt your fellowship with Him be a joy.

    Many Christians resort to fear, or duty, or guilt, or pious pride as motives for walking with God. But God rejects all such motives for living the holy, Christ-centered life He has called them to live. Only love will do.

    1 Corinthians 13:1-3
    1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
    2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
    3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.


    1 John 4:16
    16 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

    That you feel as you do about your Christian life reveals how little you actually love God. It is so easy to go through the motions, to appear on the outside to be "living right," and yet have a heart that is far from God. But the whole thing with God starts with knowing and loving Him.

    How do you come to love God as you ought? There are three things that are required:

    Knowledge of God and His love. (1 John 4:16-19; Ephesians 3:17-19)
    Surrender to the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:22; Romans 5:5; Romans 8:14)
    Time. (1 Peter 5:10)
     
  14. RDKirk

    RDKirk Alien, Pilgrim, and Sojourner Supporter

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    The Philippian Prescription:

    "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."

    By saying "whatever" and "anything" Paul expands beyond scripture to all arts, and tells us that if they are reflective of what is reflective of the goodness that is God's creation, then such things are worthy for a Christian to enjoy.

    For the director of music. To the tune of “Lilies.” -- Psalm 45

    What was "Lilies?" It was a melody that evidently had stood by itself and was popular enough to expect musicians to know how to play it when the words of Psalm 45 were written.

    It means you can also create such things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy if that is a gift that God has given you. I personally think such artistic talents are manifestations of the gift of exhortation, intended by the Lord to lift the hearts of the saints.
     
  15. Mountainmanbob

    Mountainmanbob Goat Whisperer Supporter

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    Many that I know fight that same battle at times. And as Christians we know we should not be anxious for nothing for Jesus said his yoke is light. And then he also said that we would have many troubles here?

    As I get older I'm starting to think that it's just not going to be all that great until we get to heaven. Although grateful I have been blessed in many ways. But, still the battles come at times. The Bible tells us to put up the good fight and finish the good race.

    Bottom line is we will get there if we have faith in Christ alone.

    M-Bob
     
  16. DM25

    DM25 Active Member

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    I'm gonna have to stop you right there... I do love God, a lot. And he knows that. What I am experiencing is NOT because I don't love him, I can tell you that right now. In fact if I had little love for God, I wouldn't even be on this website nor would I make a post like this. Those who don't love God don't worry about this and go do whatever they feel like. Job also complained about his life and wish he wasn't born, did he have little love for God? I'm not doing anything out of fear or obligation, I KNOW I am saved by grace through faith alone, not my works. Everything I do I would like to think is because I love him, and he is sanctifying me. All glory to JESUS not me for any sanctification, change in my life. and good works. Many Christians face seasons of depression, and carrying the cross shouldn't be a burden but it's not easy either... Look at the book of Job. I know the devil likes to attack people who try to get close to God. And plus you're forgetting chemicals in the brain can also play a role.

    Anyways, I am feeling better now. Not great but I'm gonna fast tomorrow and hopefully that will help. Thank you everyone for your advice.
     
  17. DM25

    DM25 Active Member

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    Not always. It could be spiritual but we live in a fallen world so sometimes it could be physical too or the two go hand in hand. But lack of faith is not always the cause.
     
  18. timothyu

    timothyu Well-Known Member

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    There are days that feel good and days that feel bad, some feel ominous, some feel light and free. We take them as they come not knowing the reason but knowing tomorrow will bring another possibility.
     
  19. Joined2krist

    Joined2krist Active Member

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    Great to hear you're feeling better now. Brethren, you can't compare your situation with Job's. He lost all his kids, his wealth, everything and was also afflicted with sores on his body that made him smell awfully. He was a pitiable sight even his spouse told him to curse God and die instead of live but he said, "although He slay me yet will I still serve the Lord". Job's problem wasn't boredom, he was afflicted by the devil. I'm sure you're not experiencing what Job went through, if Job had to live through boredom alone I'm sure he would have done with wholeheartedly.

    God bless you brethren.
     
  20. aiki

    aiki Regular Member

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    You can lead a horse to water...

    So, describe your love for God. What do you think it means to love Him, exactly?

    As I already pointed out in my last post, people try to live the Christian life for reasons that have nothing to do with loving God. Being concerned about the things you've shared, then, by no means demonstrates that you really do love God. Fear, guilt, religious piety, obligation - these all may subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) usurp the place of love in walking with God.

    Job had far, far greater cause to protest his condition than you do. And even still, his protests were remarkably restrained. Your quickness to complain suggests a significant difference between Job's walk with God and your own. And in any case, Job was roundly rebuked by God for his complaining and questioning of Him.

    Knowing on what basis you're saved is no guarantee against adopting wrong motives for walking with God.

    Many Christians suffer from depression because they don't know how to walk properly with their Maker. The fruit of the Spirit does not include depression. Loving Christ does not make one begrudging and miserable.

    The devil attacks us no more than God permits him to. And even when he does, he cannot cut off the believer from the comfort and joy that comes from knowing and loving
    Christ.

    Sometimes, injury and disease can affect the brain's chemistry, as can the thoughts and attitudes one harbors. I suspect that much of what causes depression among believers is the latter, not the former. The good news is that the brain is incredibly plastic and can be changed toward a positive chemistry just as it can toward a negative chemistry. Loving God has an enormous role to play in this regard.
     
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