A Comment From a Reader

The following email conversation took place recently. The topic was the post, entitled, “Loneliness and Depression are Best Friends.” I offer it to you today as an encouragement to you.

A Comment to BrokenBelievers Post,

Submitted on 2012/02/10 at 2: 59 a comment,

“I totally agree to that title and most of the content. But in fact, my conclusion is that it might be the best to die”.

Cause not only oneself isolates from the others, the others do the same with oneself. And among the worst “helpers” are people from churches.
(Still) being a believer, I asked for support in my church. Nothing happend. I asked at other Christian places. Guess what happend. Nothing.
In a real psychic crisis (not a physical one), even christian people tend to let you alone. It is better to face that and commit suicide.”

***************

 

Submitted on 2012/02/10 at 8:19 am | In reply to w******.

Oh dear one, three things…
1) You are in the cross hairs of the enemy. Satan is getting into your head, and it is vicious isn’t it? He isn’t fair or truthful in his efforts. Satan and God are opposites, just as God loves you intensely…Satan hates you passionately.

2) Even in Church we need to build our friendships. They are not automatic, even with so much commonality between saints. There’s a proverb that talks about if you want friends you need to be friendly. That requires that you “double” your efforts. By the way, everyone loves a servant. Often friendship will develop out of your servanthood. I know this is not what you signed up for.

3) The majority of church people haven’t a clue about mental illness, depression or anxiety. They often don’t truly understand how disabling our illness is, even as a believer. It’s a good thing to read, talk, and drink coffee with the few that seem “to get it,” or almost get it.

I believe you will walk through this season of conflict. You will make it through. One of my favorite verses,

“Who is that coming up from the wilderness,
leaning on her beloved?” Song of Sol. 8:5

The world is a wilderness, the presence of Jesus is so close, but we must lean! We have to take His grace as far as we can.

Praying today,
Bryan


There is so much in that first initial comment from the reader. I certainly know that they are not unique, nor are they alone. It is a heated battle, and sometimes it seems we have one hand tied behind our back. Endurance only comes by enduring, unfortunately. Phil. 1:6 has kept me personally from much frustration and given me confidence through my hard times.

6 “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”

Phil. 1:6, NLT

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The Hours

When clinical depression is “on-the-clock” it can be sheer agony. It resists and lingers, sometimes for days and days. (It can last for months if untreated.) But it seems that it is these “hours” that are scarcely endurable. It’s truly all this “wasted” time that can seem most unbearable to the afflicted.

“I was mute and silent,
I refrained even from good,
And my sorrow grew worse.”

–Psalm 39:2, NASB

Depressed people tend to suffer in silence and isolate themselves from the outside world. When you’re depressed, you feel less motivated to go out, make contact, socialize or participate in activities, or doing anything at all. It’s all you can do just to get out of bed.

Days, even weeks can go by without wanting to see anyone or talk to anyone. This aggravates feelings of isolation. Often depressed people do not want to talk about their problem or simply feel misunderstood.

Similarly, prolonged and intense feelings of depression can lead to loneliness. Treating the symptoms of depression may help resolve the problem but it isn’t a sure thing. Finding good relationships can push you out of a depression. Loneliness often fuels my depression. Find understanding friends that you can talk with.

unbelieving-believersBeating depression or loneliness does not start with having more friends, or a relationship, although it can help. It really starts from within and is a process that takes time and care. We can be tempted to scrap friendships because they’re a lot of work. But they maybe one of the keys to healing. Experience has taught me that humans go through life in patterns. (We ‘ll do the same thing over and over again.) Even in different situations, these patterns will be repeated and simply generate the same results. A friend can be a new and strategic solution to breaking free.

It is a good thing to know that Jesus Christ sees and understands. 

But it’s also good to have someone with “skin on.”  Someone you can see and touch.  That’s precisely why we have the Church.  People who believe and touch each other deeply, helping each other up.  Depression does not do very well in the true Body of Christ.

“Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.”

Galatians 6:1-2

Dear broken believer, take solace in the people in the church. Learn to confide with those who understand. Sometimes I wonder if God has arranged my mental illness so that I will reach out to others. Perhaps He allows it to bless His Church?

“The church is not a select circle of the immaculate, but a home where the outcast may come in. It is not a palace with gate attendants and challenging sentinels along the entrance-ways holding off at arm’s-length the stranger, but rather a hospital where the broken-hearted may be healed, and where all the weary and troubled may find rest and take counsel together.” 

–James H. Aughey

aabryplain

 

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The Ultimate Loneliness

 

“I lie awake.
I am like a lonely bird on a housetop.” 

Psalm 102:7, NCV 

 “The first time I defended myself, no one helped me; everyone left me. May they be forgiven.”  

   2 Timothy 4:16, NCV

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The Bible is very sensitive and aware of the difficulties of loneliness.  Many in its pages, must deal with the sense of being left alone.  It will never be a dunk shot.  We will encounter this awful thing before our day is done.  To be alone, isolated and separated brings us to a ‘solitary confinement‘ of our heart.  That difficult confinement will never be easy.

There can often be an element of appreciation.  Many of us would love time to be alone.  But to be lonely is another matter.  I don’t think we are ready to be truly lonely; perhaps solitude is something desired and craved.  But never its stark and pale cousin of loneliness.

Both David and Paul were lonely.  David looked around and found nobody that he could be with.  He felt like a solitary bird, when all had flown.  Paul knew true abandonment.  Everyone had left him by himself in a very vulnerable spot. The reality is, we need others.  And often, too often, this is withheld from us.

Jesus knew what it was like to be terribly lonely.  “You will leave me alone, but I am never really alone, because the Father is with me”  (John 16.)  I often think He spent all that time in prayer, to somehow connect with His father because of loneliness.  It seems He had a deep need to be understood and accepted by someone.

Loneliness can be redeemed.  It very often can spur us into a deeper awareness of the Spirit.  As a point of bruised weakness, it can (not will) bring us to a sense of His deep love.  It will probably not change the situation, but it can change our hearts.

Loneliness is one of our Lord’s favorite tools in restoring our hard hearts.  It has a wonderful capacity to do things in us, that none of  His other ways would work.  It can be the perfect mechanism for Him to deeply touch us.  And He will not hesitate to use it.

Often there can be a severe loneliness as we move toward Him.  This is an acquired loneliness that comes when we start separating ourselves from the World.  Few or any will understand you, or why you are doing this.  To follow Jesus, is to become like Him.  If He struggled at times with loneliness, so will you.

I have nothing at all to say to those who want to escape this fate.  I can say no ‘magic words’ that will lift you out of this pain.  I do understand, I really do.  All I can tell you is that He is wildly and passionately in love with you.  If everyone forsakes you, and leaves you standing alone in a tight spot, He will be there.

“For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”   Hebrews 13:5

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