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Editor's Note: We are a non-religious magazine. However, we acknowledge that spirituality is an important part for some. Our Faith column is a place for anyone to discuss how faith positively affects their mental health and how to improve the conversation around mental health within faith communities.
I fail every single day of my life.
Depression tells me that I am a failure because I fail. It tells me I am worthless when I make a mistake. It tells me I am unlovable when I sin. It tells me my inadequacies define me.
Consequently, depression cultivates a deep and pervading shame.
Often, we try to ignore or deny our sinfulness and humanness to deal with the shame. For me, however, denying a reality only increased my shame by leaving the distortions of depression unaddressed.
It is only in confessing our sinfulness and humanness that we can find freedom from the shame depression cultivates.
Confession is the key to fully understanding grace.
In confession to a faithful, graceful, loving God, one finds a perspective that drastically differs from the distorted perception depression brings.
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In confession, one faces their greatest fear by laying the ugliest parts of themselves down at the foot of a holy and perfect God.
In confession, one watches as the things they are deeply ashamed of are drenched in the blood of Jesus Christ and forgotten.
In confession, one sees the Holy of Holies finds them lovable no matter what they have done. One experiences grace in action.
In grace, one learns the distinction between shame and guilt.
In grace, one learns that sin is bad and we are guilty, but love is bigger. Love is big enough to save us from sin and to find us redeemable and precious. We must surrender our shame not because we are not guilty, but because no amount of guilt can change who we are in Christ.
For me, confession meant truly finding peace and freedom from the shackles of sin because of grace. It meant redeeming a struggle and using it to further God’s kingdom.
For me, confession means laying the accusations of depression at the feet of Jesus and allowing Him to fight my demons with His Truth. It means basking in the purity of being washed clean of all of my guilt. It means being reminded the accusations are lies, for I am not unlovable and unredeemable because I sin.
Words and therapy are incredibly important and crucial to fighting the cognitive distortions of depression-related shame. We must systematically work through and debunk the lies depression tells us about our imperfections and humanness.
But there is no antidote as powerful as the firsthand experience of seeing the lies knocked down by the good and holy God of the universe. There is no antidote as powerful as laying the things one is most terrified and ashamed out for God to see, and watching as His adoration and Love never wavers.
I fail every day of my life.
But because of grace, I am not a failure.
I am not worthless and I am not unlovable. Because of grace, I am defined not by what I’ve done, but by what’s been done for me.
“You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross. So don’t let anyone condemn you.” Colossians 2: 13-16a.
Have you been harboring shame recently? Have you laid your sins at the feet of Jesus? Have you allowed Him to expose the lies of depression which say mistakes and guilt make you unlovable, unworthy, and unredeemable?
What would it look like for you to fully embrace grace?
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