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   Dawn Wilson

 

Tuesday
Sep172019

Three Truths Depression Taught Me

Dr. Michelle Bengtson, a neuropsychologist, speaks and writes with authenticity and hope, because she has walked through some of the tough issues she works with in others. In this Biblical Thinking UPGRADE, she addresses the struggle with depression.

“Most people receive from their family certain genetic predispositions: blond hair, blue eyes, an artistic bent, or an engineering mind,” Michelle says.

“My family ‘passed down’ anxiety from one side and depression from the other.”

I (Dawn) do understand “predispositions.” I was an anxious “worry wort” like my dad. But I learned the biblical truth necessary to overcome the pit of worry, just as Michelle has learned how to cope with the valley of depression.

Michelle continues . . . 

Depression is a cruel invisible disease—one that we can’t see but can have devastating effects that hurt not just those who suffer but their families and future generations as well.

As a neuropsychologist, I’ve diagnosed and treated thousands who suffered from the invisible yet devastating effects of depression. My heart goes out to them because I remember the pain, the despair, the wondering if it wouldn’t be better just not to be.

In my darkest times, desperation drew me closest to God.

Desperation made me willing.

I see this same dynamic in my patients and in others as well.

In “Secrets of the Secret Place,” Bob Sorge says,

“While none of us asks God for hardship, we can’t deny the fact that hardship produces desperation, which in turn produces intense intimacy… the wise will seek Him with desperate longing.”

I remain grateful God gives beauty for ashes, and the oil of gladness for mourning (Isaiah 61).

No one wants to endure depression, but I’m honored God used such a dark time in my life to be a light in others’ darkness. 

While I hope I never experience such dark days again, depression taught me three things that I hope will comfort others also.

Scripture says we need faith only the size of a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20), and what’s more, Romans 12:3 tells us that God has given each of us a measure of faith.

It’s His gift to us. Yet we can choose what to do with it.

There will always be things competing for our attention and our beliefs.

We must choose whom we will serve, what we will pay attention to, and what we will believe.

When I was deep in the valley of depression, I was quick to believe the lies of the enemy, who Scripture refers to as “the accuser of the brethren.”

He delighted in repeatedly telling me:

  • I wasn’t as good as others,
  • I was unworthy of a life of joy,
  • I didn’t have enough faith, and
  • I was destined to always feel that way.

Maybe you’ve heard those same lies too.

As long as I listened to the lies of the enemy, I let depression define me.

As long as I listened to the lies of the enemy, I ignored what God had already said about me.

God was faithful to remind me that:

1. Depression doesn’t determine our worth—God did when Christ died on the cross for us.

2. Depression doesn’t dictate our destiny—when we become Christ-followers and receive Him into our lives as Savior, that secures our destiny.

3. Nothing, not even depression, can separate us from God’s love.

Once I began to recognize the enemy’s lies operating in my thoughts, my circumstances may not have changed, but I could exercise greater gratitude for the truth: Depression didn’t define me, God did.

God declared me redeemed, beloved, esteemed, renewed, adored and healed. Knowing that and believing that brought inner joy despite the sorrow of my circumstances.

I have seen God heal people of conditions instantaneously. Other times it’s a process. Sometimes He heals through prayer and laying on of hands or anointing of oil. Other times it’s through medicine, counseling, or the daily renewing and transforming of our minds.

Yet God always desires for us to seek Him in all our ways and let Him direct our paths.

In my darkest days, I clung to the promise in James 4:8—

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”

That’s how we grow closer to Him, and He gets all the glory.

The truth is, I think situations, like depression, often drive us to a strengthening of our faith and a richer testimony of His faithfulness

And in that, there is beauty for ashes.

Have you ever gone through such trials that made you desperate? Trials that strengthened your faith? Hold on to truth!

Dr. Michelle Bengtson studied neuroscience and is board certified in clinical neuropsychology with over 20 years in private practice. She recognized a deep lack of understanding of the call to “renew our minds,” and the transformational effects a renewed mind has on one’s physical and mental health and outlook. Michelle authored Hope Prevails: Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression and the Hope Prevails Bible Study; and Breaking Anxiety’s Grip: How to Reclaim the Peace God Promises (released September 2019, Revell). She blogs, maintains a Monday morning radio show, podcasts at GraceandTruthRadio.world, is a frequent guest on Fox News Radio, and speaks at conferences and churches internationally. Visit her website.

Graphic adapted, Pile of Ash from VermontWoodPellet.com.

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Reader Comments (1)

So blessed by what Dr. Michelle shared. I have walked the path of depression. My mom was depressed all my life but I didn't know it. I realize now that my grandmother suffered with anxiety, getting so fearful when storms came, so I also had these issues from both sides of my family. I appreciate these 3 truths Dr. Michelle has shared for I continue to need reminded that depression or anxiety do not define me, my destiny is secure in Jesus and God's love is always mine. Thanks for sharing! I remember the song that says, "I am desperate for YOU Lord!!" Yes, I am!

September 28, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKaren Tackett

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