Today's Focus -- If we are trapped in a loop of depression or anxiety, we will take the necessary steps to move forward out of the loop.
We’re going to look at a story of the prophet Elijah dealing with depression & anxiety in 1 Kings 19 but first off, I want to address some things outside of our Bible passage today. God can heal anyone, anytime, but He doesn’t generally work that way in everything. God has blessed us with the things He has created that by using the knowledge He has gifted us with, we can help people heal through medicine. However we don’t need to simply rely on medical treatment and forego what God has provided us as well.
I briefly want to talk about things I know about from a personal and pastoral level, but admittedly this is not my area of training. As we read scripture and talk about some of God’s lessons on dealing with depression & anxiety, I don’t want you to get the idea that we are saying medical treatment isn’t necessary or is somehow not relying on God. Remember A + B = C. We do all we know God wants us to do + we rely on God 100% for results = God provides a solution only He can provide.
Here are just a few statistics I shared in a sermon almost two years ago.
- Over 25% of Americans are currently suffering from some type of elevated anxiety or depressive condition. That means in this room there would be between 35-40 people.
- 11% of teenagers have a depressive disorder by the age of 18.
- 30% of college students report feeling depressed to a level that affects their ability to function in school.
- It generally takes 10-20 weeks of therapy to help a person overcome a serious issue.
- Over 50% of Americans with major depression don’t seek help or treatment.
Depression looks different for everyone.
- Lost will to live or wanting to die
- Leave everything & everyone to just start over
- No joy or fun in things that should bring happiness
- False hopes that if we just get past this season it will all be better.
- Panic, anger, loss of sleep, worry
Medicine & Counseling -- A CRUTCH is something we need to use for a short time in order to mend what is broken. If we don’t use it, we won’t heal quickly and maybe not heal well. If we stay on it too long, then our body won’t get its strength back. However, a BRACE is something because of the way we are made that we will always need, or at least it’s most likely the need will never go away.
Many people in our culture have the mindset that they are not going to seek counseling or medical help in this area because for various reasons they view using a “crutch” as a negative thing. In Christian culture this may even be taught as the right thing to do. Are we supposed to view this person as strong or brave because they refuse to lean on a crutch when they are hurting? What would we say about someone who had broken their leg and instead of using a crutch decided to just hop in on one foot, hoping they don’t fall and injure themselves worse?
Depression & anxiety are something we will all most likely experience at least on some level. God’s leaders in the Bible weren’t immune to these struggles either. In this story of Elijah, one of God’s greatest prophets, he had just wrapped up an amazing feat. Just remember as we look at today's story in scripture, depression & anxiety can follow low moments or even our greatest accomplishments. In 1 Kings 19 God gives us His plan to help address these issues.
If you feel the need that your next step is to seek counseling or medical treatment for depression or anxiety, please get in contact with our staff. We have connections with many trusted mental health care providers in our area and would love to give you some recommendations with a high level of confidence in their ability. This includes counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists. Whether you have counseling or medical needs, we can help save you some of the legwork and uncertainty that comes with choosing where to seek help.