I love my church congregation. Many of my favorite people on earth are there every Sunday. They’re my friends. My brothers and sisters in Christ. My people.
But, today, I walked out.
Sometimes depression- or mental illness in general- hits at the oddest times. For me, today, it’s while sitting in church, worshiping God.
I suspect there’s a connection (for me) to worshiping God in the presence of other believers and getting that punch-to-the-gut-feeling of depression as it settles down in my lap for a cozy, long stay. Bringing depression on me at that time gives Satan the edge. “If I can just make her think she would be better off not being here, then I’ll win.”
But does he win?
Ultimately, no, Satan doesn’t win. In the end, he’s going down, down, down and never coming back up.
But, today, I’m struggling to say he isn’t winning. I’m struggling to find joy. I’m struggling to not be angry at my kids or nit-picky with their behavior or with all the little messes that are everywhere in my house. I’m struggling to speak kindly to my husband and remember he’s the good guy.
But it’s hard. And, though they shouldn’t, Sunday’s make my depression harder to handle.
Being at church with other believers makes me feel like I need to put on my good churchy face, smile and answer, “Fine,” to each person who says, “Hi! How are you?” Because we’re supposed to be happy churchy people at church, right?
No. We’re not.
We are called to honesty and authenticity. We are people who should be real and relatable. Jesus prayed for the unity of all believers. But how can we be united if we hide our flaws from one another?
We can’t. And we won’t.
But we can change.
We can start sharing our struggles. We can start giving genuine responses to the how-are-you-doing’s and how’s-it-going’s others ask us. We can be authentic. We can be honest. We can be open. Why? Because we know our imperfections are the reason Jesus died, and if we hide our imperfections then we deny our need for Christ’s blood.
I need His blood. Today, more than yesterday. I need, need, need it. Like bad, y’all. Like am ready to drown in a wave of it. Like, “Come, Lord, and bury me in a river of Your blood.”
How about you? I know I’m not alone. I know I’m not the only one who’s herded her children through the hallways at church and smiled at people while hiding that I’m feeling crushed inside. I know I’m not the only one who’s sat and sang praises to God while fighting tears and a bottom lip that kept threatening to start quivering. I know I’m not the only one who’s left church halfway through to sit in her car to avoid having to put on my happy face. (I know for a fact because I’ve watched a few other people walk to their cars, too.)
Let’s be honest. Let’s be sincere. Let’s be united in our struggles so we can glorify the God who perfects us.