23 08 2014

In light of the Robin Williams tragedy, I just read yesterday that a well known preacher wrote that real believers in God don’t get depressed! He was going on and on about how if Robin Williams would have had a real faith- it would have prevented his spirit from ever arriving at the place which led to his horrific decision to take his life. My blood pressure rose as I read the entire piece and I decided that I could not just remain silent and dismiss it as some misguided soul spouting off more legalistic religious ignorance. I genuinely believe that what he was spewing out under the guise of truth was paralyzing, condemning, dangerous and deadly statements! It is pompous and holier than thou clergy like this particular individual that has actually done more harm than good when it comes to leading people to the real life and freedom that the Bible offers! The word of God was given to us to not enslave our broken and contrite hearts to nothing more than endless shame and misery but to actually free us to the life that our Creator has always intended for us to experience.

What gives some the right to pronounce such definitive judgments upon others? I don’t believe that we all know each other as well as we think we do. Just because somebody is creative- funny and has an explosive and infectious personality on the outside- sure doesn’t mean that they truly have arrived to the place where they have a real peace with who they are on the inside. Boy do I know that one personally. I am troubled by any one who would make such an absolutely absurd statement that real believers don’t battle with anxiety, insecurity or depression. If that is true, then I would be counted as one who would not be listed among those that God has chosen to love and save and redeem and renew. Jesus has saved me but the transformation project is still in process. What you see today is a work of art that is still under construction and the last I checked, God is performing this artistry amidst a place that attacks his subjects on a daily basis. Christians are not exempt from the storms and the tempests that living on planet earth affects and infects everyone!

I battle the darkness of depression every single day of my life. I have done so as a child. It was my ever present insecurity that brought me to my knees as a teenager and made me cry out to Jesus to love me when nobody else would or could. I know he lives in my heart and I know he literally has saved my life and given me a hope and future. But that doesn’t mean that trying to navigate my way through any given day doesn’t provide an ever present challenge! So many people claim that they know you but what do they really know? Don’t they realize that any human being only sees you in part but it is only God who sees the whole? It is comical to me that when I was younger, I thought this depression was something that I would someday grow out and it would pass via the avenue of puberty! But when I look in the mirror, I notice that I am not getting any younger and while the truth is setting me free- the life that must be lived in the mean time can be overwhelming and suffocating at times.

Will I always have to deal with this hurt this side of heaven? Yes! But I no longer see it as a handicap but as an instrument that God has used in my journey to make me realize what a gift life is. I love what I do. I love to laugh loud. I will break out in song at any given time of any given day no matter where I might be. I can be goofy and I am not afraid to be embarrassed! I love my God, my wife, my kids, and my flock unashamedly. I passionately dive in where others are content to shuffle. Like Robin Williams, I too can be unpredictable and love shaking the status quo up just because I can! But I am a survivor, who desperately daily needs the love, prayers, counseling, companionship and dare I say- yes- even the medication to function at the level that keeps me as a strong participant in the race!

I know that part of my legacy and history will include a lifelong battle with anxiety and depression. God in his crazy and clueless to me ways has chosen to use this gaping weakness to shape strength in me that he uses to encourage others who also battle this enemy. As Pastor Rudy, I am a shepherd who has a real compassion and empathy for those of my sheep who also have felt like they don’t measure up and fit in with the rest of the program! I don’t throw clichés at situations that need more than a passing slogan. The answer is not just pray more or read the Bible more or wake up and shape up and just snap out of it. It is a disease and an ongoing never ending spiritual warfare whose agenda is meant to snuff out the light of the lives of those who were meant to showcase the mage of God through their extraordinary days on earth- but in a moment of weakness- they lost their way. I thank God for his mercy, and his constant grace and those amazing miraculous moments where I easily could have given up- but didn’t. It doesn’t make me better- just soberly grateful!

I share this to give encouragement to others who are being looked down upon when they should be lifted up as a friend. I also welcome you to share with me your stories- your insights and your prayers. We need each other more than we realize. But if we keep pretending that we are all as perfect as can be with no glitches and blemish free- we will lose many more individuals like Robin along the way! I believe every day God gives us a choice of how “relational” we will choose to be and whether we are going to present our pretend self or the real deal. I know who I am and I humbly accept who I am not. I am beyond amazed that the God of all creation loves me and his love has given me the reason to fight on. But I battle not just for me but for my brothers and sisters who are harassed by the inner darkness daily that want nothing more than to steal, kill and destroy us.

I pray to authentically love you as Jesus loves me but I can’t love the “you” that I don’t know because you keep it hidden! So let’s take the risk and go deeper with one another and invest the necessary time that could very well save our lives! Let’s share the healing and redeeming love of God with one another while we can and let’s not put these unreasonable expectations upon one another that we always have to be happy, happy, happy all the time. There are seasons this side of heaven that absolutely stink! You can’t fix them and I can’t make them go away. God has promised that he will abide when I can’t abode! Even if our biggest accomplishment is that we got out of bed when we wanted to just keep the covers over our head- let’s not make light of what might be a way that we can be lifeguards who protect the treasures of one another.

Real believers do get depressed. Read the Bible! Look at the Psalms. Check out the prophets. Some of our comrades did even lose their way. But admitting the need is the first step in applying the proper care to the problem. I don’t want you to not know how loved you are on my watch! I hope you feel the same way about me. And we press on- not being satisfied with just what we may see on the surface- but willing to go deeper into the soul!



2 responses

23 08 2014
Patty Wiley

Thank you! Thank you for keepin it REAL!

23 08 2014

Dear Rudy,
Indeed I love you and share in that depression battle. I go for days not getting out from under the covers. The enemy is winning the battle so much of the time when I am not really living and interacting. It is very hard for my family to adjust to my ups and downs. I will be praying for you and yours with much understanding. Thank you for shining light on dark secrets. In His hands, Peggi

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