Seasons of emotional darkness are no respecter of persons, but there is hope.
Today, I’ve decided to break my silence with the four words that I have been working on. These four words articulate a journey and a battle; a seemingly cyclical season I face, yet a place God continues to meet me. These four words are both the subject and substance from which I write my third book. In fact, these four words are the title of that book:
“Preaching from the shadows.”
So let me introduce myself all over. My name is David. And over the past couple decades I’ve been preaching from the shadows.
I’m a person who gets visited by emotional darkness. I am a pastor who deals with bouts and seasons of depression.
I type this through my tears because my heart is not to build up a pedestal, or boast about an achievement I’ve accomplished. I’m sharing my personal story to debunk the idea that depression attacks a select group of people or a type of individual.
I’m here to break the stigma of what depression is and how it has been misunderstood and, too often, been generalized and treated like the common cold of our emotions.
I’m here to remove labels that have been unjustly placed upon those of us who would love to simple “just cheer up” and not “feel so sad” the way we’re constantly told.
I’m here to combat the ignorant spiritual assumptions and accusations that many have made (and continue to make to me personally) that has caused many of us to feel “less than” as a follower of Jesus.
I’m here to both encourage others to are facing the struggle while enlightening others who desire to understand what their loved one or friend deals with.
Have you visited dark, hopeless seasons of life when you’ve …
• wondered why the people around you can see the sun but all you feel is darkness?
• been surrounded by a crowd only to feel like the loneliest person on earth?
• been convinced that if your friends knew what you were dealing with you’d lose them all because they’d think you’re crazy?
• imagined harming your body or destroying your life?
• felt “less than” because you take meds?
• convinced yourself that you’re so broken that God has given up on you?
I’ve been confronted that this is all about a “lack of faith.” I’ve been told to stop “giving the darkness power” by admitting or verbalizing my difficult seasons. I’ve been told by fellow pastors that all depression stems from broken or sinful places.
But let me articulate something: Darkness does not discriminate. It does not concern itself with your skin color or background. It doesn’t care about the level of your education or the depth of your spirituality. The pedigree you possess is the least of its concerns. Your resume doesn’t deter it nor distract it from its goal.
The darkness wants to claim the soul of who you are. Its hunger for you is insatiable.
And with breath in my lungs and a voice within my throat, I won’t sit idly by and allow that.
I don’t write as one who is specialized in the medical or psychological field, but as one who fights a personal battle while refusing to let others stand alone in theirs. Comparatively, my depression may be considerably lower than others’, and happens perhaps, less frequently than yours. I will not compare my pain to yours, but would implore you from the beginning of this article and the beginning of my book journey:
You are not alone.
You have hope.
You can get help.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Ps. 23:4)
For every pastor who preaches from the shadows …
For every person who journeys through the shadowy valley …
We have a light.
We have a hope.
And his name is Jesus.
Welcome to a new journey with me. Welcome to a place of hope.
I have tasted the darkness, but I have seen a great Light. I preach from the shadows, and hope is proclaimed.
“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.” — Isaiah 9:2
This article originally appeared on Dave’s blog and is reposted here by permission.