This is the sixth in a nine part series entitled “Overcoming Depression-Anxiety: A Suffering Paradigm.” For the various counseling options available from this material visit

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

“Hard Emotions in a Redemptive Story”
LEARN MY GOSPEL STORY by which God gives meaning to my experience.

“I have already told you how my depression-anxiety has shaped my life [review step 4]. Letting go of that story, identity, and set of beliefs left me with only God. It was good to begin rebuilding my life from that solid foundation. Now I am beginning to understand my life with God and the Gospel at the center [examples from previous list reinterpreted].”

Memorize: Psalm 30:8-12 (ESV), “To you, O Lord, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy: ‘What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness? Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me! O Lord, be my helper!’ // You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!” As you memorize this passage reflect upon these key points:

  • “I cry… I plead” – This psalm does not begin “neatly.” The emotions are raw and desperate.
  • “What profit” – This reveals a battle with a destructive suffering story – Is God trying to turn a profit on my life?
  • “My helper” – Yet even in this false narrative the psalmist is fighting to maintain an accurate view of God.
  • “You have turned” – The negative circumstances were not erased but transformed in a new narrative.
  • “You have loosed” – The result was the removal of sackcloth, a cultural emblem of depressed-anxious emotions.

Teaching Notes

“When we let go of our internal stories and unrealistic expectations about how things should go, we will experience life’s disappointments in a more peaceful way. In other words, choppy waves on the surface of the ocean don’t necessarily disturb the calm below (p. 93).” Leslie Vernick in Lord, I Just Want to Be Happy

“For the Christian, who believes in the crucified and risen Messiah, suffering is always meaningful. It is meaningful because of the one in whose suffering we participate, Jesus… The personal suffering of the Christian finds a correlate in Christ’s suffering, which gathers up our tears, calms our sorrows, and points us toward his resurrection (p. 37).” Kathryn Greene-McCreight in Darkness Is My Only Companion

“I would come to refuse the self-pity and blaming of others. I learned to remind myself of my belief that life is a gift (p. 27).” Kathryn Greene-McCreight in Darkness Is My Only Companion

“Optimism is not about providing a recipe for self-deception. The world can be a horrible, cruel place, and at the same time it can be wonderful and abundant. These are both truths. There is not a halfway point; there is only choosing which truth to put in your personal foreground (p. 205).” Lee Ross, Professor at Stanford University, as quoted by Leslie Vernick in Lord, I Just Want to Be Happy

“Hope is the opposite of fear. Hope is a prediction that God will be good (p. 49)… ‘Be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:9).’ A phrase like that, just dangling on its own, doesn’t work. You can’t simply command a frightened person to be strong and courageous, and expect a transformation. What makes the command work is this part: ‘God will be with you wherever you go’ (p. 66).” Ed Welch in When I Am Afraid

“Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?… You must take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, you have to preach to yourself, question yourself… Then you must go on to remind yourself of God, who God is, and what God is and what God has done in what God has pledged himself to do (p. 20-21).” D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in Spiritual Depression

Other podcasts on emotions are available at:


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