Friday, May 14, 2010

Christians Get Depressed

Continuing with our series on depression, today I am please to share a guest blog from my dear friend, Lisa Copen, founder of Rest Ministires.

Over and over I still hear from people who have been told, “If your faith was strong enough, you wouldn’t get that depressed. Jesus can heal you of that if you really want Him to.”

Oh, how sad that makes me. One reason is that I do believe that speaking to a counselor can make a difference. Like any profession, there are some good counselors, and some not-so-good, so ask for referrals from your loved ones, mentors, or church leadership. But don’t let the stigma or the expectations that Christians don’t get depressed prevent you from seeking counsel if you are feeling “blue.” (And there are many definitions of that light-hearted word “blue.”)

There is a large spectrum of depression and yes, Christians get depressed just like anyone else. I won’t share the depressing statistics with you about chronic illness and how it can impact marriages, you relationships, and your ability to cope with other stress factors in life. But let’s just say that living with illness is HARD and you should never be ashamed to seek out a counselor to get you through a difficult time.

Let me say that again (because I recently spoke to someone who kept apologizing for the fact that she was seeing a counselor)… it’s OKAY to talk to someone about what you are going through.

The best thing you can do is make sure that it is a counselor who you respect and who has the same biblical beliefs that you do. Ask people you respect, including your pastor or parish nurse who they would recommend. If you can find a god referral you can find a Christian counselor list at (National Christian Counselors Association) and (American Association of Christian Counselors).

And remember, just because a Christian is a counselor, doesn’t mean he or she is the right counselor for you. If you feel it’s not working or helping, don’t be afraid to find someone who can better meet your needs.

Don’t delay putting off counseling until you are feeling suicidal or making a major life-changing decision like leaving your family.

Proverbs 4:5 says, “Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them.” It can be a blessing to get counsel from others, and pray for wisdom from the Lord.

Lisa Copen is the founder of Rest Ministries and has lived with rheumatoid arthritis since 1993.

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