Monday, April 14, 2008

Christian Women and Depression

First of all, thank you to you who have done my polls. It's fun to geat feel for some of your thoughts when you come to SFE. I have taken the music off for now and may find a happy compromise of easy listening since you seem to be in somewhat of a tie on that issue. More on that when the poll closes.
My friend Amy at The Word Works posted a blog post that was quite short but to the point. Please go here to read it so you understand the following in context.
I felt for her, I understood the impression she was getting about women in our stage of life being depressed/depressing. I have been learning a lot about trusting God from Jerry Bridges book "Trusting God Even When Life Hurts". However, my prayer even this morning was that the Lord would show me how these truths meet with my emotional life. Again, more on that later.

For now I have a treat for you. I asked Tami Rutledge for her quick take on the post from Amy. So, I come here to just share what the Lord gave her. I would like to thank her for taking the time and getting back to me so quick. Tami, feel free to add if you have any more thoughts.

Tami Wrote:
I looked up the synonyms of “Depressed”
to get a feel for the emotion it is meant to portray. Here are the words my computer gave me.
down in the dumps
the dictionary definition is sad and gloomy; dejected; downcast.So on that note….

The scripture quoted on the blog was from Luke 1 and the version is The Message.
Luke 1:67Then Zachariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel ; he came and set his people free. He set the power of salvation in the center of our lives, and in the very house of David his servant, Just as he promised long ago through the preaching of his holy prophets: Deliverance from our enemies and every hateful hand; Mercy to our fathers, as he remembers to do what he said he'd do, What he swore to our father Abraham— a clean rescue from the enemy camp, So we can worship him without a care in the world, made holy before him as long as we live. And you, my child, "Prophet of the Highest," will go ahead of the Master to prepare his ways, Present the offer of salvation to his people, the forgiveness of their sins. Through the heartfelt mercies of our God, God's Sunrise will break in upon us, Shining on those in the darkness, those sitting in the shadow of death, Then showing us the way, one foot at a time, down the path of peace.First we must make sure we understand what those verses are telling us. This section of scripture is a prophecy about Jesus Christ.Jesus saved us from the hand of our enemies (“clean rescue from the enemy camp”) we were under Satan’s spell so to speak but God saved us from his grasp.“ So we can worship him without a care in the world, made holy before him as long as we live. “This passage … in the NASB says 74To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear, 75 In holiness and righteous-ness before Him all our days.This means we are saved, and are His. So when God looks at us He does not see a sinner, He sees us as “holy and righteous,” This is of course because Christ’s blood covers us! even though we still sin God does not see that He sees us as pure and holy. We get to serve Him with out a care in the world… that simply means we don’t have to worry that salvation depends on our efforts! Our salvation is secure not because of what we do or don’t do, our salvation is secure because of what Christ did.This doesn’t mean we are carefree and happy flitting around like butterflies in a meadow!
The following quote is from the blog post…..
When I read "without a care in the world" it makes me think of someone
happy, laughing, smiling, energetic, child-like, lovable, creative, hands lifted
high and twirling!!

This joy that God is offering us is something far better… this is salvation from eternal hell, eternal separation from God. we should dance with joy.But if you think the abundant life looks like the happy life then you will continually be frustrated with God. Because God does not pursue our happiness He is in pursuit of our holiness. Happiness is temporal and based on circumstances.Joy is based on faith in the God of all circumstances!Happiness is the emotion you experience when things go your way.Joy is what you experience when you know that He who began a good work in you is doing it! Everything God does is for your good and His glory.The following quote is from the blog post.
We are to be living exceeding abundant lives, full and HAPPY! Lord,
how do we get there? What's the root and hold of this sadness... I'm
really burdened by this and expecting Him to guide me in this truth so
He can set me and others free!!

The abundant life is the life that has joy and peace no matter what the circumstances. This person rejoices in everything.Remember Joy and happiness are different. God doesn’t call us to be happy in the midst of trials He calls us to rejoice.Now to the point – why are women so depressed? It is simple. The goal they are I pursuit of is being hindered.We are born convinced that our happiness, comfort, security, ease of life etc is what will bring us the most fulfillment and satisfaction in this life. But the truth is… our greatest joy and fulfillment is found in serving God and pursuing the goal of pleasing God.We consider things to be “bad” if our pursuit of happiness is thwarted in any way. We live depressed because things do always go according to our plan. Husbands don’t romance is – kids don’t consider us – people don’t honor us as we would like to be. We are so self focused that we constantly see where our pursuit of ease of life is thwarted and we become resentful, bitter and full of self pity.Trials you see are vast – from spilt milk to cancer and God uses them to increase our faith in Him so we can live the abundant life – the life that is so convinced that God’s word works that we simply Trust and Obey and it is there that we find the abundant life – the life that is at peace at all times because it is resting in the Lord…. Not a care in the world.The abundant life is not about happiness it is about joy!
The following quote is from the blog post.
Lord, how do we get there? What's the root and hold of this sadness... I'm
really burdened by this and expecting Him to guide me in this truth so He
can set me and others free!!

You will be set free when you begin to clearly focused on the goal … the goal we pursue must be to please God, this brings us joy. If you read John Piper the happiness he talks about is JOY.When you are in pursuit of the goal of pleasing God the you will see that in everything God is working to increase your faith so you can please God more.When you are in pursuit of happiness you will grow weary and discouraged because God won’t be seen as faithful.Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek himI was diagnosed with Parkinson’s when I was 39 – and other than my salvation it is God’s most precious love gift to me. Why? Why so much joy? Because it helps me in pursuit of my goal… not happiness but holiness!


Anonymous said...

Thank you Alicia and Tami. What a wonderful reminder of God's love and our purpose here on earth. I need to reread this every morning!

tricia w. said...

Thank you Alicia and Tami. This what I needed today. I am not depressed, but I struggle with using food to sooth me. I posted about this today on my blog. Probably like Charlotte I need to reread this everyday.

Christina said...

Great insight, Tami. Thanks for sharing.

Amy B said...

Tami, although I appreciate your view point, I do not agree. I do not believe that the easy solution of depression is to tell women it's simply self-centeredness nor do I think that our goal and pursuit in life is to serve and please God.

Jesus has satisfied the requirements of the Father and the Father is well pleased with Him. It is now my position to put all my confidence in Jesus, believing what He's said about me that I am in Him and therefore pleasing to the Father because I am in Jesus. Jesus said that I am to LOVE the Lord with all I've got and then to love others from the overflow of His love for me.

Tami, you seem to have a very firm stand on being joyful and even made reference to John Piper. But what is joy but a glad heart? I have copied the following from John Piper's website:

"My shortest summary of Christian Hedonism is: God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.

We all make a god out of what we take the most pleasure in. Christian Hedonists want to make God their God by seeking after the greatest pleasure—pleasure in him.

By Christian Hedonism, we do not mean that our happiness is the highest good. We mean that pursuing the highest good will always result in our greatest happiness in the end. We should pursue this happiness, and pursue it with all our might. The desire to be happy is a proper motive for every good deed, and if you abandon the pursuit of your own joy you cannot love man or please God."

It is all about Jesus and believing right so that I will live right.

Anonymous said...

Amy, what a blessing you are! I love your desire for the Lord!

I 100% agree with you! I do not believe that the easy solution of depression is to tell women anything. Life is not easy. I am sorry if I gave that impression.
Kind of like telling someone who has lost a loved one to suck it up and just be happy after all God works all things for good. It just doesn’t work that way.

And I 100% agree with you that pursuing the highest good will result in our greatest happiness! AMEN! We should pursue this with all we have. The desire for this happiness is proper motivation! And it is ALL about Jesus and believing what is right and true so that we can live right! I am in agreement completely!

So, on to the next question. What is the highest good? And how do we accomplish it?


Amy B said...

Tami, I love that you asked that! I so desire that the Lord would open my eyes and your eyes to His wonderful love! John 17:2-3 says "as You (the Father) have given Him (Jesus) authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that THEY MAY KNOW YOU, THE ONLY TRUE GOD, AND JESUS CHRIST whom You have sent."

Our eternal life IS knowing Him! The greek for "know" is (absolutely) in a great variety of applications (which includes but is not limited to) allow, be aware of, feel, have knowledge, perceive, be resolved, can speak, be sure, understand - according to Strong's Concordance. When does eternal life start? When we die or when we believe in His Son? We can know Him now! Praise God!

And vs. 26 says "the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them." Rom 8:15 says "...but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father.'" John 16:10 says the Helper wil convict "of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more." The word convict in the greek can be used like convinces. So we have IN US the Father's love for the Son, the cry of "Daddy" as children, and the conviction of our righteous standing before Him and all this because "we have loved Jesus and have believed that He came forth from God."

So I hope that the highest good that we strive for is to know Him more and more. Since we received eternal life through believing in Jesus, then that is how we are to accomplish this as well.

I can only tell you through my own experience that the way to believing more is through studying His word and praying. We can pray all things at any time but what I prayed is Matt 16:19. Jesus said "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." I started praying that my mind would be bound to His, that my heart would be bound to His. That any and all unbelief would be loosed in my heart and mind, that He would loose all wrong teachings that I clung to for my own glory or satisfaction, etc... Bind me to know You and loose in me any unbelief.

I have much to learn still and pray that you would hear my heart in what I write. As new covenant christians our whole passion and obedience is to the faith (Rom 16:26); to believe. And the more we KNOW Him, the greater the faith.

I hope and pray this makes sense as I am not and never have been an eliquent writer but I do know that He has allowed me to grasp something here that has changed my whole life and has revived my entire being. HE LOVES ME. It has brought laughter back into my soul, allowed me to forgive in a marriage wrecked with lies and betrayal so that we feel like we're dating again! His nature is to give LIFE to us! What a great and mighty heavenly Papa we have who surrounds us with His lovingkindness and tender mercies. Praise His Name.

Anonymous said...

Amy, how precious you are. Your heart has been clear from the beginning. What you treasure is where your heart is. You treasure God. You know that in Him – in His Word – you will find all the answers you heart is seeking for. You want to know Him more.
This so reminds me of the story of Job. The whole point to the book lies in the following Job 42: 4 "You said, 'Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.' 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes."
Verse 5 is the point… Job had heard of God but now he knows Him more intimately! Wow!

People often think that the best part of the book is that God gave him more riches and children. That is good, but temporal. The real good, the eternal good is the good your heart is crying out for, to know God more. God’s plan all along was to bless Job with this great blessing! How beautiful that is. The world cannot understand this and to them it is not beautiful, but those of us who know we know that it was God’s unfathomable love that took Him through such agony. But it was agony with a purpose! Kind of like labor pains!

But our highest good is to glorify God. It is the purpose for which we were created. In fulfilling our purpose we find the greatest fulfillment and joy – true happiness.

I would write more but John Piper says it perfectly follow this link.

I know it will bless and delight you!

(Alicia - I don't know how to do links... could you fix this!)

Thank you Amy for your response... your love is so clear!


Anonymous said...

Wow ladies! I love it...just diving in and grappling with the real stuff of Christian life. The most blessed aspect to me as that everyone is in total agreement that there is only one place to go to find the answer: the living and abiding Word of God.

Some thoughts, mostly from where the Lord has taken me these past few weeks. I was blessed to attend John Piper's Don't Waste Your Life and it BLEW THE DOORS OFF my faith, and accomplished the purpose for which he came which was to fan the flame of our faith into a passion for the supremacy of Christ in all things. The truths he spoke were not new--and I am so very, very thankful for our shepherd John Marc and his faithful teaching of the word of God and laying down the doctrine there precept upon precept, line upon line. But Piper took those threads of truth and wove them into a glorious colorful robe that displays the supremacy, glory and greatness and worth of God!

And in the midst of it all the Foldbergs had their biggest trial ever. (And yes, dear Tami, your teaching did come to mind so many times!) I won't go into the trial her, but suffice to say that the Word, grace, truth, redemption, salvation has never become more precious to us...and not those things in and of themselves, but of the One who bestowed them upon us at so great a cost to Himself.

Big hugeola truth through it all: the gospel is the power of God for salvation for all who believe. Romans 1:16. Always thought of that as evangelistic. Past tense salvation (justification). But NOOOOO. It's the same power for present-tense salvation (sanctification)!!!! The cross! The glorious cross! What am I looking for to save me? To free me from harm? To protect me? A perfect Christian family? Fincancial security? The model husband? A great body? A shopping trip? M&Ms? What???? Because they can't. Only the cross, only the finished work of Christ, where He purchased for me eternal life (and way to go AMy because you so get that John 17:3 IS eternal life!!!!! It is KEY!! It's the relationship, not the destination) and an inheritance I experience EVERY DAY.

Okay. So. Big huge TRUTH. I have been trying to save myself through works, "get my act together," read the Bible enough, etc. and the big news is I can no more sanctify myself (become more like Jesus, love Jesus more, etc.) than I can save myself.

How does this connect? I talked with a lot of women last week and for the first time HEARD when they shared their burdens. And the key thing is this, tucked away in 1 Peter 3...FEAR. Women are afraid. They are afraid for themselves and their children (check out how many times God mentions His tender heart and singles out widows and orphans.) What is the answer to this? The gospel.

Final thought: we get depressed because we are not fulfilling our natural function (Romans 1) which is, if we are married, to be helpmate to our husband. Yes, we have other roles as believers (priests! Check it out in 1 Peter 2...WOW! ambassadors, ministers of reconciliation) but we were created to be a helper that is meet (suitable/corresponding) to our husband. When we aren't doing what we are designed to do, we cannot experience the fullness of joy available to us in the presence of God (Ps 16) because that comes from treasuring Him above all else and our love is expressed in joyful obedience from an adoring heart. If we're not fulfilling that role (through His Spirit! In His grace!) then we are not obeying Him. It is for the joy set before Him Jesus endured the cross. I know that for me, there is salvation in no one (or nothing) else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which I must be saved. I'm sorry if this came across superstrong. I am just so amazed and His gracious goodness to me, and my family, that He would bring beauty from the ashes of our sin, and not only so but be a shield to us and our very great reward.

Carrie Foldberg

Amy B said...

Finished work of Jesus! That is exactly it, Carrie! And I believe that this takes a revelation from God to understand.

I read the link provided to John Piper's website and I have to say that I am not a Christian Hedonist. And just one of the reasons is because of this quote: "Therefore God's pursuit of praise from us and our pursuit of pleasure in him are the same pursuit. This is the great gospel! This is the foundation of Christian Hedonism."

Call me crazy but I think the great gospel is Jesus - period. It's Jesus' better blood of the NEW covenant for our better promises! We are required to believe in Jesus for the blessings of God to flow in our lives. Jesus fulfilled God's requirements of the law to obey and to stand righteous before Him. When Jesus was put on the cross, he bore all our sins, all our sickness, all our diseases and God nailed them to Him so that God could look at us IN JESUS and see our lawless deeds no more. That is the better promise today and the grace that we live in and the GREAT GOSPEL.

John Piper's view is that God sits on His throne fully captivated by Himself. He has portrayed Him as, in essence, a giant, selfish man "who can do all things". My "beef" with that is not to question God's unfathomable authority nor His control over all things good or bad, but that His motive is Himself. He is a giver by nature and IS love. God IS Love.

Ps. 103 says:
Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And forget not ALL His benefits:
Who forgives ALL your iniquities,
Who heals ALL your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

And 2 Corinthians 1:20 says:
"For all the promises of God IN HIM are YES!" Paul is referring to, as the Message puts it, "I try to be as true to my word as God is to his. Our word to you wasn't a carless yes canceled by an indifferent no...did you pick up on any yes-and-no, on-again, off-again waffling. Wasn't it a clean, stong Yes? Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus." What he's saying is that it's not a yes, yes yes, for you and a no, no, no for someone else. Am I to be healed, blessed, free of bondage, forgiven of this or that? Yes, yes, yes for you but no, no, no for you... the wavering. But Paul is saying that IN Jesus, the answer is ALWAYS YES.

So then, if Ps. 103 isn't even a promise but a BENEFIT of believing... we are surrounded by His kindness, no more than that, His LOVEINGkindness and His mercies, no more than that, His tender mercies. To look at my child and love her for only reflecting me is something we, the created being would not even think of. Why would God Himself look at us that way. So I disagree with you, John Piper! And I had not seen that before so thank you for adding the link... He is right is saying that we are to treasure Jesus above all things but it's not for the purpose that he is suggesting, but because Jesus is our life.

The new testament is filled with phrases like IN Christ, with Christ, IN Jesus, etc... This is our position and as He is, so are we in this world. See yourself IN HIM. He has given us the keys to the kingdom of Heaven - binding and loosing. He loves us.

Anonymous said...

Seeing the love in God's selfishness....

I used to struggle with God’s goal of being glorified. When I think of that humanly I too thought it was self absorbed.

But I cannot look on God and think of Him in human terms. God sits on the throne and the most loving thing He can do for mankind is to have the motive be “Himself” so to speak because to focus us anywhere else would be idolatry, and because there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we can be saved. That’s the point… it is all about Him because it is all about the gospel of Jesus. God works everything so that our praise to Him focuses people on Him so He can show them the way to salvation. His “selfishness” is so loving. The motive is Himself because He is the only way. That is the point.

Our praise our pleasure in Him --- do you know that in the midst of the trials of this life when we respond with joy and love that we glorify God! this doesn’t mean we act as a magnifying glass so that we make something small look big so the world can see Him. No, we are eye pieces on a telescope helping the world see how something that looks small to them is actually huge.

We are His ambassadors! There is no other way except through Christ, God wants the world to know, all focus on Him. That is right and loving.

Thank God He is self absorbed so to speak, to focus us on anything else would mean death.

Romans 9:17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth."
Revelation 1: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits[a] before his throne, 5and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 6and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."

Our joy, our delight, is that God has invited us to join in on glorifying Him, him alone so that we can raise the name of Jesus high, how awesome is that!

1 Peter 2:12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

One of God's precious attributes is that He is a jealous God. Jealous for us, all asttention on Him! He is the way the truth and the life.
John 14:6
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

yeah God!


Alicia said...

To say that God's goal is to glorify himself is to say that his goal is to love us. They are one in the same. Himself longs for us, Himself longs for us to be reconsiled, Himself desired to create us, Himself desired to love us.... It all comes from the source of His goal of glory from himself. Any benifit we receive is from that focus he has. We have to consider the trinity issue as well to say that God's goal is to glorify himself is also to say that The cheif end of God is to glorify Christ, and enjoy Christ forever. God cannot be selfish, it is not possible because he is holy. His motive to be captivated with himself is fine by me because himself wants to benifit me. He is a giver but he is a giver because it pleases Himself! We fault in our thinking if we believe that for him to be fully captivated by himself he steals something from him loving us. The opposite is true. It is because of his goal of His glory, that we benifit ANY good thing. Christ himself was absolutely obsessed with the Glory of the Father and willing to give his life for it. His reward was his bride (us), but not his motivation, and this was all to the good pleasure of the father.
It is because God seeks his own enjoyment that we can be loved by him and enjoyed by him. That IS his good pleasure. To think that this means God is selfish is to misunderstand this concept.

Anonymous said...

That is right! God is love period! It all comes down to one simple thing... if we love God with all our heart soul mind and strength... Mission accomplished!
God glorified! I fulfill my role as His ambassador and the gospel message of Salvation is proclaimed!

Thank you Alicia!

For God so loved the world that He sent His son to save us so that we might be called Sons of God!

You are right Amy, it is all about the gospel of salvation through Christ!


Yeah God! He is not willing that any should perish! Let us live our lives to His glory!

Alicia said...

I have another specific thought on Christ (I'm here in the middle of trying to get my revelation post up and this hit me) ...
All that Christ did, the whole salvation message, (which is what life is all about), his accomplished work that we put our trust in...
It is from the "Himself"... meaning it is from the mind of God for the chief end of His own Glory. God's desire to glorify himself is the birth of the need for Christ work and because it is accomplished he has accomplished his happiness.

Alicia said...

"To think that this means God is selfish is to misunderstand this concept."

That was a statement from my judgement alone and prideful and would have been better off not, posted forgive me.

Alicia said...

I just wanted to comfort some of you with some info from Piper on the issue mentioned above about God's glorifying himself.
It was linked by our pastor on his blog here is the direct link to the message:
you need to copy and paste

The issue is addressed exactly 3/4 way through.

Gregory said...

Though women have a longer lifeline than men, they face a much greater risk of getting depression than men. It’s been proved that the women are twice as likely to have depression in their lifetimes as against the men. The rate of suicide resulting from depression is also higher in women as compared to men.