Last week I wrote about what depression is and how it can manifest itself. I also mentioned the danger of believing the lies that you are not good enough, strong enough, and that people would be better off without you. I also said that these lies stem from fear and judgement. This week we examine these lies.
A disclaimer is that I am not saying that all depression is spiritual. There are many elements that trigger depression and once you are in a depressed state, the enemy lies to you about who you are and who loves you.
These are some of the lies of depression:
- I am not good enough
- I am not strong enough
- I am not loved enough
- I am not worth enough
- I am not needed enough
All these lies can join together into two harmful beliefs: My life is hopeless, and I am helpless. Once there, suicidal ideation is not far off. Once I start fantasizing about my suicide, it is difficult to pull out of it. Especially when we reach the point that suicide is the only way to stop the pain.
The order of the lies vary, but they do play on each other. For example, I am not good enough might be my first depressive lie. The next lie might be since I am not good enough, I am not worth enough. Or the lie that I am not strong enough is combined with the lie that I am not needed enough.
There are other lies as well and one thing they have in common is that they try to alienate you from others. Isolation helps them build momentum and keeps them in control.
To fight against depression, you will have to regain control of your thoughts. Your emotions stem from your thoughts and your thoughts from your inner self-talk. The devil is not omnipresent and omni-powerful, but he does have an army of evil and unclean spirits to do his bidding. They are brilliant at reading what is happening in us. Hoping to get our focus off our path and fixated on the problem, they try to convince us the problem is bigger than the solution.
Let’s look at how to stop this cycle of self-abusive thinking.
I am not good enough. In reality no one is good enough. The Bible says we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God. In other words, we all are in the same boat. Since much of this lie depends on comparing ourselves to others and coming up on the short end, we can be assured that we are the same. We may not be good enough, but we are not worse than.
I am not strong enough. Similar to the first lie, this one is comparative as well and has its basis in the false belief that if we were stronger, we’d get over our depression or not even be depressed. We allow ourselves to be compared with people who are not depressed. This is like a man with a broken leg comparing himself to people without one. An illness is an illness just like an injury is an injury. Neither have anything to do with strength. Strong people get sick and they get injured. And nobody is strong enough to force their way into heaven anyway. Only faith in Jesus can do that so ultimately, we are once more in the same boat.
I am an evidence-based counselor and also help my clients become solution focused and not problem centric. One of the issues in depression is that we get stuck in the repeating cycle of these two lies. The longer we are in that cycle the more we believe them.
The problem with evidence is that we tend to find what we look for. A depressed person will find reasons to be depressed because the lies blind them from the truth. The truth is depression has nothing to do with how good we are or how strong we are. It is an illness that predatory spirits like fear and rejection use to gain access to our thoughts. The truth is we are all wonderfully created by a loving Creator. Sometimes He calms the storm sometimes He calms the person in the midst of the storm. Until your storm calms, look to Him as the source of goodness and strength.
Next week we will examine the other lies. If you are suffering with depression, seek medical and spiritual help. The sooner the easier it is to treat. But it is treatable!
More in the series:
Andy Becker is a retired counselor and author of The Travelers, a fictionalized account of spiritual warfare (available on Amazon). He and his wife, Stella, lead Lighthouse Ministries which offers love, hope, and encouragement to one of Canada’s poorest and roughest neighborhoods, North Central Regina. His book, The Travelers, is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca