ASKING FOR A FRIEND:
Are You OK?
by Kelsey Kloster
I think everyone can agree that at some point in life we’ve all had a case of the ‘sads’. I can definitely say that I’ve been there. I’ve grown up going to church and for whatever reason, depression and anxiety have always been a topic others pastors have seemed to avoid. But it is so real! Even as Christians - especially as Christians - it is so important to see depression for what it is.
We opened in 1 Kings 19 with a story about Elijah. In chapter 18 he had just showed off our one true God’s power on Mount Carmel. Continuing through to chapter 19 Elijah experiences his case of depression. I loved Pastor Jesse’s illustration comparing his cell phone to our internal struggles. We might not always be able to tell something is wrong from the outside but on the inside there could very much be turmoil.
Two things happen when we start letting depression take over (and we honestly might not even consciously know it’s happening). The first thing that happens is that we stop receiving the message. How many times do we find ourselves brushing people off in hard times? “Oh but you just don’t understand.” Or how many times during our sad times do we tell people that they aren’t listening to you? Ummmm hello sis, who isn’t listening?
The second thing that happens when we experience depression is that we stop making connections. We push people away. This is the worst thing you can do, but how many times do we find ourselves turning down plans or ignoring phone calls when we’re down? I know I’m guilty! The community I’ve built at My City has literally helped dragged me out of such dark places, on more than one occasion. Knowing how vulnerable I can truly be with this church is such a freeing feeling. The shift that happens once you show up (truthfully, honestly show up physically and emotionally) to a CREW and open yourself up to those connections, is enough to save yourself from depression. Boom. Done. Sermon over. Just kidding.. it gets even better.
So our guys just got back from Battle men’s conference where they had to wear a plaque with their big struggle written for all to see on it. What an intimidating idea, right? But the reality of it is that if everyone had their struggle on blast for all to see, we’d realize how present depression and its cousin anxiety are.
It’s so important to know that, it is okay to not be okay, and it’s actually so important to be real about it. ‘Fake it until you make it’ is not a real thing with depression, because it’s not okay to sit in it. So why is depression becoming a increasingly bigger problem?
We live in a Comparison Culture. Social media is everywhere guys. It’s a normal part of our lives, and where it’s not necessarily a bad thing overall, it’s not a great place to live when we are already sitting in our sadness. Put the phone down. GET UP.
We live in a Fatherless generation. Guys, I can’t express enough how important it is to be good to your daughters. Praise God for my dad. I love that man to pieces. If I didn’t have him in my life like he is, I’d be even more of a hot mess than I already tend to be! Dads are so important! That’s why we call God our Father! Abba Father is my favorite thing to call God because daddy issues are so real. The depression that can result from that issue is so big., but our God is so good and I’m excited to watch this generation break the chains of this stigma.
We live in a Narcissistic nation. See point one about social media. Holy moly we’re obsessed with ourselves, and I can throw myself under that bus and take guilt for that too.
It’s not all about you! Yes, Abba Father loves you so much, that’s why you’re here! But we’re here to serve Him, to point to the cross, and to love on other people! Get out of your own head and start helping others, or better yet, start pointing others to Jesus. You’ll save your own life by saving others.
In 1 Kings 19, a messenger was sent to tell Elijah that Jezebel intended to kill him. Elijah runs away fearing his life, gets to a cave and then asks God to take his life. Buddy... where’s your head at here? When we face depression we are not in our right mind. The devil is louder than our thoughts. He consumes our thoughts and gets in our heads.
It’s also important to remind y’all Elijah wanted to be alone. He wanted his servant’s away from him. Again, when we’re depressed we want to be alone which is exactly the opposite of where we should run. Your people are your voice of reason. Your people aren’t in your head. They aren’t mind readers. And let’s be real, praise God for that because it’s not cute in there sometimes!
I’m going to let y’all know that CREW for me has not only been a necessity, but also has been the Cadillac of self care for me. The friendships I have made have turned into more than necessary. Not only have those girlfriends dragged me out of depression, anxiety, addiction, those girls have made my life feel so full. Those girls are my luxury and treasure here on earth! Fellowship, if you let it, has the ability to break your depression. And how fitting that the two I attend are at 6:30 AM. So twice a week I get to GET UP and hang out with women who ask me how I’m doing and mean it. Women who will call me out if I’m not there because they love me that much. They love me enough to not let me sit in depression.
Felt that one a little, huh? Yep, same. Been there! God gives us 24 hours. When we say God’s timing is perfect we mean with that too.. 24 hours. Quit sleeping your hours away. Get your 8 hours and then GET UP. “Quit dating Netflix” and go to bed so you can GET UP and do what God’s called you to do. And if you don’t know what that is yet, you can trust that you aren’t going to figure it out while sleeping! GET UP.
God’s going to use you in so many incredible ways, you just have to get up for it.