It has been a slow two months in which I first discovered what I was dealing with and then took the necessary steps to put this condition to death. I don’t believe that God created depression to make His people sad, but rather it exposes the sin that is within. So the question I was faced with in the past few months has been, “What is it that I am wanting, but not getting?” Because at the end of the day, I know the reasons for my pain are associated with desiring something, but not getting it. The more I focused on what I didn’t get, the more I became upset and down on myself, leading toward depression.
Facing Rejection and Uncovering Expectations
Through careful introspection and daily clinging to the Word of God, I discovered that although I kept saying it was not a problem, it was taking a toll on me within. 24 interviews, 24 rejections in a 3 month span. I don’t think I’ve ever dealt with so much rejection in my life in that short of a period of time. I realized that people (myself included), were asking the wrong question. Was I depressed because of the state of my joblessness? No. Rather, it was the number of rejections I was facing over and over again. I was growing weary of putting in the effort to do the research and putting my very best in, only to be shut down time and time again.
This discovery did wonders for me. It showed me what my expectations were — it shouldn’t take this many interviews to get a job — I was too good not to land something quick. How arrogant a thought. How dark my heart was, yet I didn’t notice. And how faithless I was, though praying for God to provide, I was leaning on myself. Not to mention that after 24, I was feeling done with this whole job search thing (I am now sitting on 31).
Fighting for Joy and Remembering God’s Faithfulness
The major coincidence was God had placed me in 9/10th grade Sunday School at church as one of the teachers. The class curriculum has been and still is the survey of the Bible, covering one book each week (in order). As we chug through OT book after OT book, the common theme that has stuck out was God’s faithfulness to His people. Despite the people’s unfaithfulness, God remained faithful. Having this truth pounded into my head became a reminder as I taught, to continue to fight for joy even if I didn’t feel like it. Remain faithful even at my worst convenience or desire because God did the same for thousands of years.
The fight for joy began from that day. Thanks to Biblical Counseling training, I started giving myself homework that would help in that endeavor. It began daily with looking out my window and observing the happenings; showing myself that especially in the small things not noticed, God was and is working.
One prime example: Bugs. How do bugs continually live even though they are on the list as being one of the lowest creatures in all nature? The fact that they live suggests that they must be able to find food and shelter one way or another. Daily, we as humans have been crushing them, yet for some reason they don’t seem to go away. In a way, through these lowly creatures, I have discovered God’s faithfulness. It’s weird, but it’s just a small way of helping me see God’s covenant faithfulness.
The next thing was to be productive. Specifically, to make sure I applied to every job on every job site that appeared legit (I realize there are more shady ones than I thought). This was just to get my spirits up because one thing I learned in counseling is that by doing nothing, the pattern just gets worse. I would hit the gym, study with friends, and be as involved with ministry as possible. I think looking back on the last two months, I’ve cultivated close relationships with people I never thought I would and I count that as a blessing.
Finding Open Doors and Comfort in Christ
Finally, it was seeing the many doors that God did open as a result of my joblessness. More opportunities to serve, chances to counsel and love on people that I wouldn’t have been able to had I been working, being at church and observing the day to day life, and all in all, giving my absolute 100% to the youth at my church.
It is through this process that I ultimately killed my depression. Freed from the bondage of sadness and pain and experiencing the ever present grace and comfort of Christ in my life. At the end of the day, I took my mind off of the circumstances that I couldn’t control. I gave those to the Lord. I took control of what I could, fighting for joy even when the circumstances in my way told me there wasn’t any joy to be had. Though that may be true in the moment, true joy that comes from God always finds a way.
It’s just a matter of fighting for it. Because at the end of the day, it’s worth fighting for.