Depression: A pruning process instead of a prison sentence.
I could spend hours, days, and page after page about perspective. Our perspective on our life, ourselves, and our struggle with depression and anxiety, shapes everything. I mean everything. Years ago, when I was diagnosed with postpartum depression, while it was such a struggle, it was much more manageable than full blown depression for me. I worked out, I got help, I got in a Bible Study, and I was extremely intentional about what I listened to. One of the things I loved to do was listen to Steven Furtick. I listened to him while I worked out. Yeah, I know that may seem strange, but have you listened to Steven Furtick? That guy is amped up! He’s intense, but in a good way. He’s on fire, and it’s clear he is working in his gift. Lifting weights and listening to him, was great for my heart, soul and mind. I was working on my fitness and my mind.
Something about what he said really resonated with me. I felt like while the topics he was discussing were general they pertained so well to someone who was struggling with depression and anxiety. I started to listen to everything that he said through the lens of anxiety and depression, specifically depression. I couldn’t wait to listen to him, and see what new things he had to say and how it pertained to me, and anyone else that was struggling with depression. We see the world differently, and the world sees us differently.
For so long, I looked at depression as a thorn in my side, or consequences of poor decisions I had made in my twenties. I did things that I’m not proud of and I’m ashamed of and I just figured God was handing out consequences and this was mine. Yeah, now I know that God doesn’t work that way, but at the time that’s absolutely what I thought, and when I spend time out of God’s Word, I start to believe that again.
In one of his sermons he talks about John 15 and what it means to abide in God’s love.
“Jesus is the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.” God is always pruning us, it is a continual ongoing process that will only be made complete in salvation. Let’s define pruning here before we go further. Pruning means to trim, by cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, especially to increase fruitfulness or growth. I don’t know about you, but that sounds painful. It makes me think about what our yard looks like in the winter, kind of pathetic, right?
Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear fruit."
We cut everything down that will die in the winter, things are shriveled, dilapidated. They look thirsty, and sad, but what happens in spring? The same thing that happens in our own journey. We blossom, grow and are more beautiful than we were before, but the process is painful, arduous, and sometimes ugly. The same can be said of our struggle with depression. Depression isn’t a good thing, and I definitely don’t look forward to it rearing its’ ugly head, but I do know that every time God has redeemed it. I have come out stronger, tougher, more secure in who God has created me to be, and with more wisdom. Let’s be clear, I don’t always enjoy the process, but the reward is great. So, while we are in this process, cling to the hope that you will bloom even better than before when you reach the other side.
“My Father is glorified by this, that you may bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you, abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” John 15:8-11