Depression is real so we should treat it as such.
In today's society, male vulnerability is deemed weak, so the majority of us tend to bottle up our emotions and pain in order to appear “ strong” . No one is exempt from pain and the truth is that suppressing our negative emotions such as anger, depression, loneliness, and/or anxiety puts a dent in our experience as humans. We are all made with emotions and we cannot live well without fulfilling our need to express them and having them be acknowledged.
The emotions that many of us (especially men) are fearful of expressing is sadness. I'm naturally sensitive and compassionate but in order to fit in and keep pace with the men in my age bracket, I bottled my emotions and "played hard”. The bottling up of my emotions lead to deeply rooted pain later on in life.
Many times, when our pain is masked it manifests as passive-aggressive behavior, sarcasm, escapism, and addiction. The only way to get free is to deal directly with the pain and let go of the unhealthy coping mechanisms. The first part is the hardest.
The Bible has much to say about sadness and depression, isolation and loneliness. The book of Psalms includes many chapters of lament and honest expressions of negative emotions. David was completely honest and vulnerable with God and he was called a man after God’s own heart. Likely because he was brutally honest which is a key to intimacy.
Let’s be honest, the truth is, our emotions lie to us a lot. It’s not wise to live off of our emotions but it’s also not wise to ignore them. God often speaks to us through our emotions which are part of our souls. Pain is often God’s megaphone telling us something is wrong.
When we express our negative emotions and give them to God, He replaces them with the correct perspective of our situation so that will propel us to move forward in Him and in life. In addition to us expressing our emotions, there has to be a willingness to heal and move forward or else we can get stuck in a victim mentality and that's no fun for anyone. Focus on the wound and become a victim, focus on the Healer and find freedom. I've played the victim for longer than I care to share and am now embracing the process of healing. I started healing but didn't finish the process so I was walking around wounded, hurting myself and the people in my life.
When we confess our pain before God and others and take the necessary steps to heal, our lives can begin to change. The goal of vulnerability is transformation.
Weeping turns into dancing(Psalm 30:11)
Mourning turns into joy(Psalm 30:11)
Those who weep are blessed and comforted(Matthew 5:4)
Spirit of heaviness turns into a garment of praise(Isaiah 61:3)
The depths to which we decide to process our pain and grieve determines the level of joy we will receive. As human beings, we will all have experience regrets, loss and disappointment because none of us are perfect and we live in a broken world. The ways in which we deal with such pain can either be constructive or destructive to both us and the people in our lives. When we come to the understanding that our lives are not all about us but more about the people we are connected to -- those who would be affected by our stories and testimonies -- then we can really make the changes needed.
We are taught not to cry and to be “hard” but that only hardens us. Crying is healthy. Think about it. Jesus wept (John 11:35). The God-man himself wept. He didn't just cry, He didn't "tear up" but He wept. His friend Lazarus died and while Jesus knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead, He still allowed Himself to feel the full weight of His emotions from His loss. That's powerful. The Holy Spirit is even described as one who grieves over us when we aren't living right (Ephesians 4:30). If God Himself grieves over losses, why shouldn't we?
The inability to process pain can cause addictions to spring up. Addictions medicate rather than heal; they only bury the problem. The only way to heal the pain is to release it and not medicate it. Jesus promises comfort for those who mourn but when we are uncomfortable with receiving Jesus’ love, sometimes being comforted can be uncomfortable. We have to be patient and honest with ourselves through our process of healing.
It appears that every believer has to go through a wilderness season and/or experience the dark night of the soul (ex. David, Moses, Jeremiah, Paul, Jesus). We all have to experience some kind of suffering; believers or not. It’s a process that I’m currently walking through myself. The wilderness is a transformative season where we are tested, refined, and able to come out of the fire with greater wisdom and revelation of who God has created us to be. It’s a process we can’t forego. Our impurities and our pain come to the surface not so that God would condemn or shame us, but so that He can heal and renew us. It’s a scary and beautiful paradox.
The first step to healing our pain is admitting that we are in pain. Honestly, it’s okay not to be okay. Sometimes, we honestly need a good cry. It doesn't make you soft. It makes you HUMAN. Get the help you need to become whole. Your family needs it, your community needs it, we need it, YOU need it.
Bottled up pain leads to empty bottles and hollow souls. Emptying your soul and letting your tears out gives God the opportunity to bottle them up and replace them with joy and love...just like He promised (Psalm 56:8, Psalm 34:18)
I believe You'll supply my needs then needlessly I'm stressin’
We should frequently confess cause you redeem us in Your Presence
The enemy was us bound up concealing transgressions
Godly sorrow brings repentance so weepin is my weapon
To be devoured by our emotions is something we don't want a portion of
So if I don't let you know my pain then I can't know Your love
If we keep concealing our sorrow then we’ll never find Your joy because
The Word says mourning comes before the morning comes
Here are a few resources to assist in the inner healing journey!
The Bondage Breaker - https://amzn.to/2WUE5A1
Unbound - https://amzn.to/2Iyushd
Healing the Masculine Soul - https://amzn.to/2KvPv6C
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality - https://amzn.to/2Zccxnc