Summary: Part one of three-part series Emotions, this message deals with depression.
“I Will Yet Praise You”
Emotions, part 1
Wildwind Community Church
November 12, 2006
Have you ever been depressed? The story is told of a businessman whose wife was experiencing depression. She began to mope around and be sad, lifeless—no light in her eyes—no spring in her step—joyless. It became so bad that the man made an appointment for her with a psychiatrist. On the appointed day, they went to the psychiatrist’s office, sat down with him and began to talk. It was not long before the wise doctor realized what the problem was.
Without saying a word, he stood, walked over in front of the woman’s chair, signaled her to stand, took her by the hands, looked at her in the eyes for a long time, then put his arms around her and gave her a big, warm hug. You could see the change come over the woman. Her face softened, her eyes lit up, she immediately relaxed. Her whole face glowed.
Stepping back, the doctor said to the husband, "See that’s all she needs."
The husband thought for a moment, then said, "Okay, I’ll bring her in Tuesdays and Thursdays each week, but I play golf on the other afternoons.”
Wouldn’t it be great if depression could be cured that easily? Of course we know it can’t be. If you can truly help someone out of deep sadness or depression with a hug, the sadness wasn’t all that deep, and the depression wasn’t really depression.
Today is the first of a brief series (3 parts) I am going to do on emotions. Today is sadness, which I will refer to as depression, though I do not mean depression in the clinical sense but more in the sense of profound sorrow or sadness or gloom, or being what you would call “very down.” Next week we’ll discuss joy as we lead into Thanksgiving. The week after that we’ll look at anger to close out the month of November.
When is the last time you were so depressed you thought of doing something drastic? When I say that, I don’t necessarily mean killing yourself (although that’s drastic), but maybe quitting your job, leaving your family, or simply staying in bed for a week, or deciding that showering is an option. Do you ever find that those moments of deep depression just take you by surprise? When you’re in those times, do you just feel like you might never come out of it?
I’m taking a preaching class right now. I need a preaching class, as I never went to seminary and I’m a self-taught public speaker. So a few weeks ago I was working on one of my more difficult assignments in this preaching class and man, all of a sudden I just hit a wall. I felt angry with my instructor. I felt stupid and incompetent. Pretty soon I started telling myself all this ridiculous stuff. “You stink, man. You’re never going to get any better. You shouldn’t even be a pastor, because you don’t know how to preach. You’ve never been to seminary and you are a failure.”
It got worse and worse as I continued listening to these things running through my mind. And then, when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, it took a dramatic turn down another path altogether, and got a TON worse. The next train of thought in my mind went like this. “Dave, you are an imposter. You are struggling and are not meant to preach, and if you are not meant to preach, you have no business leading a church. Who are you to stand up in front of these people week after week and teach them? You don’t know anything about any of this.” As I continued to entertain those ideas, I actually found myself wanting to quit my job. I honestly spent about two hours thinking that I could just scrap it all and take a counseling job somewhere and not have to complete the class, or deal with the difficulty of becoming a better preacher.
Now folks, this is simply from having difficulty with an assignment. I was depressed. I was miserable. I was desperate. I was in depression (to depression is to lose hope). In January we’re going to get into a sermon series on the lies we listen to that lead to failure and man, I was listening to them all. Now for the past two weeks I have been sharing with you my dream of starting this church, and that prayer we prayed for four years, and how convinced we were that this is what God wanted for us, and how we were willing to take this great leap of faith and risk everything we had in order to get this place started. All that faith, all that excitement, all that certainty that God is with us, and here I am struggling with a little homework assignment and thinking, “You stink. You shouldn’t even BE a pastor. Why don’t you just quit. You’re pathetic.” And it was true, I was pathetic alright, but not as a pastor or preacher. I was pathetic for listening to those stupid voices, even for a moment.