In a world where money, talent and fame garner highest praise, the suicidal deaths of fashion designer Kate Spade and chef Anthony Bourdain hit hard last week. Spade and Bourdain appeared “to have it all'”, yet they chose to end their lives as the world wondered, “Why?”
Kate Spade’s family and friends pointed to a long history of battling depression and anxiety. Those who knew Anthony Bourdain pointed to possibly the pressure of working on a film series, but otherwise were clueless. The saddest part (from my perspective) was that they both left young daughters behind, ages 13 and 11.
This was in stark contrast to the four women I saw in the Counseling Room last week. Each one vastly different in terms of background, yet each Client familiar with the downward spiral of depression and therefore desirous of biblically-centered counsel.
What stood out was not their differences in background, but their agreement in recognizing the value of doing their Journey Notes. Each Client talked about how being encouraged to talk TO God (rather than ABOUT Him) helped them to focus more on Him and less on themselves. They also said digging into the Scriptures helped them keep their thinking straight as they gained clarity into themselves, the world around them and into God as the Shepherd of their hearts. As a result, each reported that the spiral of depression was much less of a threat to them than previously.
What touched me most, was hearing to them talk about their hopes for the future, as well as changes they intend to make in future choices. These three praises logged in one of their Journey Notebooks reflect the tenderness of relationship between God and one of His children:
Thank You God:
- You’ve never taken advantage of me.
- For Your sense of humor.
- You brought me out of depression.
When it comes to loving others in a hurting world, this nugget of wisdom from Hebrews tells us not to put off what we can do to help someone now:
“You must warn each other every day,
WHILE IT IS STILL “TODAY,”
so that none of you will be deceived by sin
and hardened against God.
For if we are faithful to the end,
trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed,
we will share in all that belongs to Christ.”
Hebrews 3: 13 & 14
New Living Translation
Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be within the body of Christ? When we claim Christ as Lord and Savior, we are responsible, while it is still today, to love and to encourage others facing depression, anxiety and the innumerable other problems that can hit so hard.
The question is, HOW?
One way to help such a friend is to offer a listening ear, a heart willing to pray with them, and a steadfast commitment to helping that friend to get closer to God. If your friend is willing, put a Journey Notebook together for them (and perhaps one for yourself.) Then commit to getting together for an hour or two each week to pray with thanks for God’s faithfulness as the two of you talk about what He had revealed since you last met.
I love the perspective of the Apostle Peter given as a blessing and a warning all:
“Whoever would love life and see good days
must keep their tongue from evil
and their lips from deceitful speech.
They must turn from evil and do good;
they must seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and His ears are attentive to their prayer,
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
I Peter 3:10-12
While it is still today . . .
loving our neighbor in a hurting world is risky business,
but it’s the only business that truly counts!
All to His Glory!