Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Gospel, Discontentment & Depression

I'm taking a gospel counseling class. Usually our get trained classes are on Sundays, which I can't do because I'm usually singing all day. But our elder wives have been going through this class on Thursday mornings and they have graciously allowed me to sit in on their class with them.
The elder wives plus me.
I have LOVED it. These women are amazing.
The last two weeks we have been talking about the topic of depression. Funny right?!
God is funny.
Something that has hit me about struggling with depression is that I've realized that my depression has two parts.
Physical/Chemical/Circumstantial - there is a part of my brain that just doesn't work right. It's in my genes.
Then there is an active sin part - this is the part that has hit me the hardest.
I've battled with depression for a long time. I knew that it ran in my family and I knew that there were significant things in my life that have happened that have been a part of my depression also...a circumstantial depression (my dad dying when I was in high school, an unhealthy broken engagement, other unhealthy relationships that resulted in a multitude of really difficult situations) But the part of my depression that I haven't ever really dealt with is the sin aspect.

  • Discontentment. 
  • Looking to created things to get approval, success and attention. 
  • Unbelief
  • Fear

All of these things trigger depression for me and are a source of sorrow that leave me unsatisfied because they are rooted in wanting satisfaction and contentment in creation and not in my Creator.

I look and yearn for attention in so many ways.

  • Leading worship. 
  • Being on a stage. 
  • People knowing who I am.
  • What I wear. 
  • My mood.
  • I want attention from my roommates...
  • From a boy,
  • From my friends.

And when I don't get it...it ruins my day. My feelings are hurt and I hate life. I'm discontent and unsatisfied.
Ridiculous and dramatic.

I look and yearn for approval in so many ways...

  • In my singing and leading worship...I want people to like what I do
  • From my boss, I want him to offer me a permanent job.
  • I want people to like me and want to be friends with me
  • I want to look a certain way, act a certain way so that people will like me, then I get confused as to who I really am and not being ok with who I really am because it's not what people want or enjoy.
  • I let fear hold me back from doing things because I'm afraid of messing up or looking stupid or doing the wrong thing. 

I just don't believe that God is enough for me and that He is all I need so I search out all of these things...then I am left discontent and unsatisfied. Hating life and feeling sad, because all of the things that I have run to my whole life and all of the things that I want so badly, fail me and are not consistant and leave me feeling empty.

Here is a definition of discontentment that was read in my class
"Discontentment does not hold circumstance with an open hand. It clenches its fist tightly around whatever it feels it needs to truly be happy - immovable and unwavering - persisting until it has what it desires and even then will eventually grow unhappy. Discontentment is sin because it rejects the provision of God and grabs for things not offered by Him in the present - believing they cannot be satisfied by God, but rather in the things of the world."
HE is satisfying. HE is unfailing. HE is faithful. HE is good. HE is glorious. He knows me and loves me and He gives me attention and approval and success and contentment because of Jesus. Nothing that I did, nothing that I am...but all because of Jesus. Complete and perfect grace.
For HIS glory...not my own.

Depression is my thorn. I may have this the rest of my life, I'm in a good place now, but there will be other valleys. I'm asking God now to remind me of His faithfulness and His goodness and the hope that I have for when that time comes when the darkness comes in again. He has given me this thorn for me to depend on Him, to depend on His grace, on His strength, on His power.
"So to keep me from being conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from being conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." - 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
He is so good. I've asked Him over and over again for my heart and my mind to be focused on Him, for my heart and my mind to yearn for Him instead of the things of this world. He is faithful. SO faithful...I don't even fully understand it. But I know that He is good.
"O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me." - Psalm 63:1-8


  1. EMILY! I so love this - thanks for being honest and open. I can identify with you when you say it's your "thorn." I totally understand where you are coming from with that.

    Gosh I wanna take that gospel counseling class now!

  2. wow, Em! You are getting some good stuff! I am so proud of you and I thank God again and again for the incredible people HE puts in your life! It's just too awesome to describe in my words! Love you to the moon! -MOM