Tuesday, May 19, 2009


In our society, we have come to believe that discomfort always means something is wrong. We are conditioned to believe that feelings of distress, pain, deprivation, yearning and longing mean something is wrong with the way we live our lives.

Conversely, we are convinced that a rightly lived life must give us serenity, completion and fultillment. Comfort means "right" and distress means "wrong." The influence of such convictions is stifling to the human spirit. Individually and collectively, we must somehow recover the truth. The truth is, we were never meant to be completely satisfied.

Gerald May, Addiction and Grace

Hmm... going to be chewing on that one for a while. Within the context this is written, it begs the question: is what I consider depression really just the yearning of a heart that knows this is not its home?


Cindy said...

I could go all kinds of crazy on this quote, but I'm going to stop and think carefully about how to say it without getting "crazy". But I will say this...I'm tired of reading this kind of Christian philosophy. I think it's a load of crap. (oops, did I just get a little crazy?)

No. I don't think depression is the yearning of a heart that knows this is not home. No. I sure don't.

Anonymous said...

I have a push-pull with this one. I think some parts of our society are trying to vilify any mood state or behavior that is outside of 'normal' and 'happy' so I like that he is offering a permission to feel dissatisfied and not rush off to the doctor to immediately medicate it to death.
But I do think depression and dissatisfaction are about something and should be taken as real things to respond to-- depressed about your life, romance, kids, career, ministry, inner thoughts... then start figuring out what's not working. Or what can be changed.

You, personally, have had a stressful year and while sacrifice is good, it seems that stewardship of your own needs, gifts and callings is the first thing to go. That would lead me to depression. But now I'm riled up and saying a bunch of stuff.

Anyway, we love you.

Lisa Biggs Crum said...

Hmm, interesting quote. And, very similar to what I've been asking as my body is adjusting to going off my anti-depressant. Tears seem to come too easy but not necessarily for personal reasons. I saw a family on bicycles who seemed to not just be out for a joyful ride. I wondered if they were struggling with life - I got teary. So, in that, I wondered, is my "depression" something God has given me and I'm just not seeing the good he intends for it? Like the "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good" thing with Joseph and his brothers. (Gen 50:20)

I'm convinced that real depression has little to do with personal circumstances - everyone has down times and frustrations with life. Those who deal with depression understand the term "dark feelings" where others hear that and freak out asking "does that mean you want to kill yourself?" No, it doesn't (not usually anyway :)) but I can see how those without the hope of Christ would quickly get to that thought.

For me, personal circumstances affect and are affected by depression but are not the cause of it. Would you say that's pretty much true for everyone, counselor? So, yeah, this quote makes me think that maybe - maybe - God wants me to deal with the depression instead of just be relieved of it. With or without drugs, I still need to recognize and deal with it according to God's intentions for what could mean "the saving of many lives." (the rest of Gen 50:20)

So my question, is depression a gift from God that Satan has twisted or is it a sickness that we should call on the power of God's kingdom to overcome?