Depression and Matters of Faith

People often overlook this…

There are many underlying causes for depression. However, there is one area that frequently gets overlooked: swallowing religious teachings whole, without question or thought.

Here is the depressive-inducing aspect of this: If you express doubt, question beliefs, or have a different opinion, it is equated to going against God. Who dares do that… especially if you’re taught that God is angry most of the time, with little patience for “sinners”?

When God becomes your enemy, you are doomed. Depression sets in.

Depression is often a matter of false belief… but truth can set you free.

Carrie’s husband, Mike, doesn’t think he should work and refuses to get a job. She works two jobs and gives her paychecks to Mike so that he can spend the money however he chooses, because “women should submit to their husbands in all things.”

Know that men are fallible, too, and submitting in all things is potentially dangerous and dehumanizes the woman.

It’s been nearly two months, and the vision in Tim’s left eye keeps getting worse. At first, things were just blurry, but now he can only make out shapes and shadows. He’s been praying day and night that his vision will get better on its own.

Realize you were created with a brain and know how to make decisions when prayer does not answer them.

Heather tried to find relief from her depression by increased prayer and scripture memorization, but she didn’t find the answers she was looking for.

Expand the world of wisdom, finding beauty and truth in many arenas. God speaks through many avenues, not being limited by the Bible.

Robert was a loner. He didn’t need people; he only needed Jesus. He was taught that if he tried hard enough, he could overcome any obstacle… hurdle any problem. So why could he not kick the alcohol addiction? He felt like such a loser.

Realize we were created for community; you cannot “go it alone” and make lasting changes.

The pastor was pleading again for more volunteers in the church nursery. They desperately needed help, he said. Sacrifices needed to be made. The other volunteers were overworked and needed a break. Guilt and shame tactics were used in desperation to alleviate a problem.

Marty, a foster parent with kids of her own, knew she was capable of stepping up to the need. But she was exhausted and needed a break. She felt depression settling over her. But the church needed her. God needed her.

Saying “no” might be the most spiritual thing you can do.

A church meeting was called to address the abrupt stepping down of the youth pastor. Chris had known for years about the rumors that the youth pastor had been “taking advantage of” young girls. However, the leadership had always preached forgiveness, understanding, and moving forward and not condemning… for “we are all sinners.”

There was also a subtle message to teenage girls to not “be a temptation.” This time, though, a parent had threatened to publicly expose them. They were worried about the fallout and possible media storm.

Chris was confused. What was forgiveness? Or was it divorced of justice? He wondered if all that mattered to the church’s leadership was its image… not the damage being done.

Forgiveness without justice or consequences is enabling.

I’ve been there… and you, too, can be free.

I have walked the path of depression brought on by false beliefs and teaching from the pulpit. Those teachings caused me much anguish in my personal life.

I went on a quest to find truth and to find hope again. Through my own journey in counseling, study, reading and conversations, I have found truth that sets me free – free to be who I am… free to live a life of fulfillment.

I empathize with your pain, and I can help you on that journey to find the “real you” that got lost in all the religious dogma and jargon.

Call me at (720) 201-5030, or email me at judy@youbelongcounseling.com.