This is the seventh in a nine part series entitled “Overcoming Depression-Anxiety: A Suffering Paradigm.” For the various counseling options available from this material visit www.summitrdu.com/counseling.
The complementing studies are also available in a video and podcast formats at the links below:
- “Overcoming Depression-Anxiety: A Responsibility Paradigm”// video and podcast
- “Overcoming Depression-Anxiety: A Suffering Paradigm” // video and podcast
- “Towards a Christian Perspective of Mental Illness” // video and podcast
“Reclaiming My Life from Depression-Anxiety”
IDENTIFY GOALS that allow me to combat the impact of my suffering.
“I can now see that innocence and powerlessness are not the same thing. I used to think ‘it was not my fault;’ was the same as ‘there is nothing I can do.’ My old suffering story came with an unhealthy way of life. The new story, identity, and beliefs that come with the Gospel allow me to live differently without giving into the old, false shame. I can change [describe how] without a sense of condemnation [describe why].”
Memorize: I Peter 3:14-15 (ESV), “But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” As you memorize this passage reflect upon these key points:
- “Suffer” – This passage is about responding to suffering in a way that puts our righteousness in Christ on display.
- “Have no fear” – This is not stoicism, but a caution not to let the experience of suffering unsettle us.
- “Honor Christ” – Our ultimate objective in life is still available to us in every situation. We are not powerless.
- “Hope that is in you” – The presence of fear-despair does not mean the absence of hope. Faith is best revealed within the context of fear-despair; just as light is most clearly revealed in the context of darkness.
- “With gentleness and respect” – Often when battling powerful emotions our tone can get away from us.
“At times the medicine feels less like weapons against depression and mania and more like Saul’s heavy armor on the young David (p. 69)… Hope. When we are in a state of severe mental illness, hope is far from us. This is why we need the scriptures and the community of faith. They contribute faith and hope to us as from a well we cannot now reach (p. 124).” Kathryn Greene-McCreight in Darkness Is My Only Companion
“True inner happiness doesn’t involve the absence of pain (p. 10)… We can’t control what happens to us… We must decide what we do with what happens to us. This is the most important part of our story. How we choose to respond to our adversity not only reveals our character, it shapes it (p. 200)… Unhappy people are often living in yesterday or wishing for tomorrow (p. 191).” Leslie Vernick in Lord, I Just Want to Be Happy
“We’re not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; were wondering how painful the best will turn out to be (p. 91).” C.S. Lewis in a letter as quoted by Charles Hodges, M.D. in Good Mood Bad Mood
“The rule of thumb is that when we find ourselves stuck, we enlarge the circle and include others who can help. This is a way of relying on God and following his means of growth and change (p. 227)… Beauty is just what worrying needs. Worry’s magnetic attraction can only be broken by a stronger attraction (p. 154).” Ed Welch in Running Scared
“Hope is both a gift from God and a skill he enables us to attain (p. 79).” Ed Welch in Depression, A Stubborn Darkness
“You cannot read Matthew 26:36-39 and come away saying, ‘Despondency’s not so bad, because Jesus had it in Gethsemane and he’s sinless.’ Instead, what you come away with is an impression of how earnestly he fought off the unbelief of despondency. How much more should we (p. 306)!” John Piper in Future Grace
Other podcasts on emotions are available at: