There are many unspoken lessons we learn by going to church or by being in relationship with Christians. We learn at an early age what words we should and should not use. We learn what we should and should not do.
Some of those lessons are life-changing. We learn that Jesus died to save us and that we can be in a relationship with Him.
Some of those lessons can be life-sucking. We learn that there are some people who will always be there with their clipboards keeping track of our mistakes. We learn that there are always rules and if we aren’t careful we think that rule keepers is what God primarily wants.
I have always been that guy that rides the ups and downs of life. I am the one who jokes around and laughs out loud and loves to make others laugh. I am that guy who drifts into seeking solitude. I am that guy who wrestles with seasons of depression.
The trouble is, I claim to be a Christian. To make matters worse I have served as a pastor for over 25 years. One of the lessons I learned was that Christians and especially pastors don’t and shouldn’t wrestle with depression. So I pushed down the darkness I felt and powered through the tough days. That works for a while but soon depression is like squeezing a balloon. If you squeeze in the middle, the air is pushed to the outside. Depression will impact us if we don’t acknowledge it and allow God to do His work in our lives.
Recently my very good friend, Tom Bennardo, wrote a book about church planting. It’s called “The honest guide to church planting”. I loved the book but I especially enjoyed the first chapter, “The truth about you”. In this chapter Tom talks about “The Great Weakening”. He shares how church planting will reveal in you what you didn’t know existed. He writes that there are four areas that we feel with our own great weakening.
- Physical / emotional health – For me, that was depression.
- Marriage / family
- Ministry – work
At the conclusion of this life-changing chapter he writes: “We’re struck with the haunting prospect that we’re enduring an affliction we did not seek, for a purpose we can not understand, before a God who will not intervene”. That has been me so many times in my life.
So as I start this series I want to make the following commitments to those of you willing to journey with me:
- I am writing the blogs not to indulge our feelings as if they are the most powerful force in our lives but to seek to help and encourage you in your own season.
- I commit not to lecture or try to solve deep issues with simple “Facebook” type single sentence answers.
- I commit to be honest in my own struggles but also share the life-changing Word of God and how God has met with me.
To close, let me encourage you with this quote: (Desiring God) – “Keep listening for God’s voice, even when you feel dead to his word. Keep crying out to him, even when he feels deaf to you. Keep gathering with his people, even when they don’t understand what you’re going through. Soon enough, God will wipe away every tear”.