It might be silly, but I needed a good reason to seek treatment for long term depression. A reason other than happiness. It took a while for me to be persuaded that this was something I should try to improve. I wondered if I just needed to live with it, being a Genesis 3 world and all. Until I couldn’t live with it.
You can get a feel for my story in this post. Depression was ruining more than my personal happiness. Necessity shoved me into treatment.
My goal was to feel accurately. To feel joy and sorrow in the correct proportions. True feelings. The solution is not to feel happy at the expense of reality, but to feel the right things in the right measure at the right time, in the right way.
For me, blessings given by God to be enjoyed consistently felt burdensome. I would often break down, unable to finish reading a picture book to a five year old. Dread anxiety at the thought of good things, like spending a family day at the beach. Waking up in silent, dark hours of the night, terrified of the new day, not wanting it to come. Sorrow saturating and suffocating every pleasure, distorting every sense and word. Distorting me. Dread and blackness in the middle of goodness. Depression tells convincing lies.
Jesus gives his Spirit to make people new. When he takes God’s enemies and secures their adoption as God’s children, Jesus changes the way we think and feel. Jesus is the light and truth who shows us what is real and true. He shifts our perceptions to be in sync with his reality. We start to see God, the world, ourselves, sin , death, judgement, Jesus and life the way they truly are.
God’s Spirit gives us a new heart and mind. God grows us toward true perceptions and true feelings. The new mind calls good things good and evil things evil. The new heart starts to love what God loves and grieve over what is evil. My goal in recovering from depression is to respond to things in a way which is consistent with what God says is real and true. The goal is to be a more accurate image bearer. That is what people were created for and redeemed by Jesus for.
God is not beautifully reflected in our untrue feelings. It is fitting to have sorrow in proportion to the evil, when it is actually there. In the same way, it is fitting to enjoy things God says are good.