Christian Living, Christian Mental Health

Loneliness and Depression as a Christian

Loneliness. There’s a tie between mental health and the feeling or actual function of being alone. Many people have gone through a season or have felt some effect of this sense of solitude at some point in their lives. But to those who suffer from true mental health disorders, not the nouveau way of defining depression and trauma, suffering from overbearing isolation of the heart and mind leads to a question of self-worth or care.

To a Christian, we are reminded throughout all of Scripture, in sermons across history, in hymns, and through discipleship, we are not alone and to cast these things unto the Lord. The same handful of verses are thrown at us that we have memorized since youth and we’re expected to keep running with them despite our waves of sadness and intimate moments with darkness that seem to grip the faithful who have the infliction of an illness that people don’t want to understand.

Psalm 119:25a I am laid low in the dust

Society today is so focused on over-medicating and tossing therapy at children because their pets have died or someone looked at them sideways on social media. Everyone has trauma because the sun feels one degree hotter and they have a false memory of their youth, so those with true anguish are lumped into a stew of false identities and are lost to the help that they need.

If we are so foolish to think that Christians are not victims of therapies or counseling given by those of faith or pastors who tell us to pray harder, read our Bibles more, or stop our negative thinking because we’re allowing a spiritual attack along with drugs to help us stay in a fog, we are to be called fools. The church fails to address the loneliness of those who struggle and tells us to serve more, show up more, and give more. You will feel better in no time because the Christian has no excuse to feel the same effects as the rest of the world.

This fails the lonely. This fails the depressed. This fails the trauma ridden. This fails those who just need some encouragement.

There has been failure since the fall, but the spiral down seems to be getting steeper at the moment and the church wants to be part of that slope. Church, we need to do better. We need to take off the protection of the rose-colored glasses and see those in the back pews who truly need a helping hand, a praying heart, and an encouraging word.

I look for words in the Bible that describe how this type of solitude feels. Using the typical Scripture that people tend to throw about becomes dull when used in a passive-aggressive way without a faith-based therapeutic mindset.

Psalm 38: 9-11

O Lord, all my longing is before you;
    my sighing is not hidden from you.
My heart throbs; my strength fails me,
    and the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.
My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague,
    and my nearest kin stand far off.

Loneliness often has one looking at those they care about from afar and wanting them to stay there so that they don’t fall into despair. Understanding this gets us halfway there so that maybe the church can understand the starting point of where to help. Maybe the loved ones we wish would open their eyes to the devastation that clings to our hearts will see a hand that needs help to reach out.

Maybe this is the way that God pushes us to embrace Psalm 119: 25b: preserve my life according to your word. He directs us to see ourselves and look for hope in the muddled mess of churchy promises and broken-up hope in family and friend relationships. We define our thoughts, our feelings, and where we’re at, and He sees our hearts and pushes us to a revived heart.

I need to embrace that revival. It’s me in this moment right now. I also can’t be so foolish to hide behind the veil of fakery.

The world is messy and full of sinners who are self-focused. We all forget to look past our noses into the eyes of the hurting and lonely. God sees us and He knows.

Psalm 119: 26-28

I gave an account of my ways and you answered me;
    teach me your decrees.
Cause me to understand the way of your precepts,
    that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.
My soul is weary with sorrow;
    strengthen me according to your word

4 thoughts on “Loneliness and Depression as a Christian

  1. In our culture of individualism, we need a muscular faith in God’s prescription for loneliness to actually take the medicine—believing in a God we cannot see but who is intimately present and then reaching out to serve and love his sometimes unloveable church!

  2. Your reflection on loneliness and depression within the context of faith is deeply moving. Your call for the church to acknowledge and support those struggling is crucial. Thank you for sharing your journey with such honesty.

    1. You’re welcome. The church, and people in general, need to honestly reflect on an honest look at these issues and to have a true understanding, not a popular thought on them. Or, on the other side, be flippant about these issues… Too many people who are authentically struggling slip through the cracks because they are afraid to admit their struggles.

  3. god does indeed see and know and feels those broken heart and the lonely (they aren’t always the same). loneliness is a web that comes and goes. FMF12

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