When Depression is a Spiritual Battle

when depression is a spiritual battle


Even the word feels hopeless.

I remember when I was in the worst of it. I was battling physical issues that caused hormonal imbalances, but there was something much deeper going on. An inside battle was raging.

Scripture says that our battle is “not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Though at the time I could hardly see it, now looking back it’s pretty clear. It was a spiritual battle. A bloody fight for my heart.

I cringe at how close I came to losing.

God has given us every weapon we need to win the fight. He has offered us armor to protect our minds and our hearts. He’s given us truth to hold it all together and peace to anchor our feet. He willingly stands right beside us even through the worst of the battle. He is the strength at our backs, the hand wrapped around ours when we lift our sword.

But He requires us to join the fight. 

And that was where I started to fail. I didn’t want to fight. My sinful, angry, frustrated heart wanted to just lay down and let what would happen happen. I wanted to be a victim instead of a warrior. 

I was falling for the “poor, poor pitiful me” line that Satan was feeding me and it was slowly destroying my heart.

As a Believer, there is an overwhelming truth that needs to be acknowledged: We don’t have to listen to Satan’s lies. We CAN say, “No more!” We can put our foot down and be done. Because, you see, there is a King who is standing right behind us. One who says things like, will go before you, I will be your rear guard. That means He’s both behind and before you! You’re surrounded.

Yes, some of my fight with depression had to do with chemical imbalances that needed to be fixed– but it also had to do with sin. When I, as a child of God, chose to kneel to the Enemy’s taunts instead of pick up the sword God had given me, put on the armor God was offering me, and fight the battle He was willing to brace me for– that was a sin issue.

There are times that God simply asks us to stand and He fights for us, but we’re always required to choose our side. To state our position.

Joshua said it to the Israelites centuries ago, “Choose this day whom you will serve.

If you are stumbling through depression right now,  I want you to know that I understand. I remember the confusing darkness, the fear, the tears, the questions. I still taste it all from time to time.

But I also know that when you settle yourself into Him and tell the enemy to get off your turf, it changes the game completely. We are not just victims. We are warriors.

Yes, there are times when life really is depressing. Our feelings are very real and saying, “I’m not going to be depressed anymore” just won’t cut it.

Instead, through the tears, the anguish, the depression, the heavy load– right in the middle of those feelings, we need to learn to choose to trust Him. To believe that God is who He says He is, that we are who He says we are, and that He is going to walk with us through this deep dark hole and bring us out to the other side.

Satan’s lie is that this darkness is going to last forever. God’s truth is that He never leaves us or forsakes us and He is light and life.

In the darkest part of my depression, I had to choose to surrender my will to His. It wasn’t easy. My feelings didn’t change overnight. But the battle shifted. I had to learn where to turn with my questions, how to maintain conversation with God through the darkness, how to put my armor on and stand firm in the battles.

Regardless of all my feelings, I had to answer the question– who do you choose? 

This is always the first step toward freedom. God can hear us from the deepest, darkest pit. There is no depression so deep that God is not deeper still.

And after that first step, I slowly learned the greatest of all lessons: He hears me (no matter how broken or confused my words). He is with me (no matter how deep or dark or slimy the pit I am in). I am not a victim of my feelings (no matter how strong or seemingly powerful they are).

In surrender to the King, I find true victory.

Depression doesn’t stand a chance in the face of love. His powerful, life-giving, love.


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