Hopeless. Purposeless. Directionless. Abandoned. These are the dark and very real feelings that I experienced during a time in my life when everything that I thought I was working towards came crumbling down. I had no idea what God had in store for me or what He wanted me to do next. I have never felt so alone in my life. I pushed away people who were close to me because I did not want to be a burden. I pushed away from God because I felt He had abandoned me. I was depressed and I was lonely. I yearned to know what God had planned for me and I was scared of an unknown future.
According to the World Health Organization, approximately 264 million people suffer from depression as of 2019. The National Institute of Mental Health says that in 2017, approximately 7.1% of the U.S. population over the age of 18 suffered from depression. That is to say, that 1 in 14 adults in the U.S. suffers from some form of depression. It is highly likely that you or someone you know suffers from depression, whether you are aware of it or not. Depression is an epidemic of staggering proportions and there seems to be no simple cure.
Depression is more than mere sadness. It is the inability to get out of bed, the unwillingness to make plans, it is constant exhaustion, and an inability to focus. During that time, I wanted nothing more than to improve myself, to develop a plan for my future, and to heal. Everything I tried was futile; I was attempting to fight my demons as a man, as a person, that could simply muscle through and win with enough perseverance and willpower. All the while, I was ignoring the One who already had a plan for my life, if I would simply take the time to listen.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Our Lord in Heaven has a plan for us. It is a plan for a future and a plan for hope. He cherishes each of us deeply and wants so much more for us than to simply exist. If you are at all like me, the thought of an unknown future is terrifying, so you try and fix it yourself. God tells us that He is in control and everything will go according to His plan for our lives. Rather than worry about the future, focus on building a relationship with your Heavenly Father, and strive to listen to His direction for your life.
Isaiah 41:10 says, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Dealing with depression is terrifying. Battling your own mind is a daunting task. At times, it can feel unwinnable. I remind you that you are not alone. Place your trust in God and draw close to Him, and He will provide the strength needed to weather the storm.