An Open Letter to Filipino Christian Professionals

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I write this exclusively for those who go to work everyday with barely enough sleep, fatigued from the traffic and long hours of commute, contending with social pressures from people in the office who you have grown close to through the years, and whose opinions are somehow very important to you right now.

And somehow things happen that make you realize— this is what being depressed feels like. It numbs the mind and body, and causes you to hold on to certain things that mask the pain, or somehow give a certain degree of comfort. Harmless things like going to the mall every chance you get. Going out with friends (nothing wrong with this really). Shopping. Going on weekend adventures. Binge-watching. Marathon telenovelas. Getting close to people of the opposite sex. Video and digital games. Non-stop chatting or texting or unlimited calls.

Let me make it clear that there’s really NOTHING inherently WRONG with all of these things. They’re all perfectly alright. Except that in the state you’re in (sad, depressed, unfulfilled), they have virtually become a means of escape. Escape from the truth.

I’ve been there. Working for more than 20 years. And I’ve been going to church for most of those years. Yes, I became a Christian before I even had my first job. I WAS a “Christian” during all of those years! Yes, anyone can go to church or do ministry without having a real connection with God.

And let me emphasize that I’m writing this from the perspective of where I am today. Today I am free. But I’ve seen it up close. Believe me, I know.

One thing I realize that I should have been warned about, is that the Big D (Depression)  doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t happen just because a problem came up, or because somebody hurt you. It happens slowly… too slowly for you to notice. It creeps into your life like a slow-moving shadow, too insignificant for you to pay any attention to. It’s something that happens over long periods of time. It’s something that you’ve allowed to happen because you’re too busy, because there are just more important, more exciting, more urgent things happening in your life. Because most of the time, you’re just too tired. Or too preoccupied. Or too cool among friends. It happens.

If you think you feel depressed now because this or that happened, you’re wrong. It started wayyyy longggg before that.

In my first few years as a professional, I used to read the Bible and talk to God everyday. But then I got too successful at work. And successful means busy.

Fatigue + lack of sleep + emotional turmoil + busyness + too many things on your mind = Guess what you’ll get

After you’ve allowed it to slowly creep into your life, it holds you by the neck, and you feel trapped. Then you begin to believe THE BIG LIE. This Big Lie will hold you and affect your decisions, your attitude, and your actions.

This Big Lie will cause you to say things like, “These Christian fools don’t know exactly what I’m going through. And they could even be judging me right now. They won’t be able to understand because they have all the comforts of freedom from not having to work like I do”.

Well, you just have to silence this thought and listen to that small voice in your heart. Somewhere in the deep recesses of your heart, that still small voice is being drowned out by the BIG LIE. You have to give that small voice a chance.

Yes, it would take a lot of tears. You’ll have to find a place all to yourself, where you can pour it all out to God. Without the security and serenity of this private, secret place, you shouldn’t trust every thought going through your head. Half of them could be lies.

And the worst thing you can do is listen to secular music. It doesn’t matter how much you think the lyrics fit everything you’re going through right now. If it’s been composed by somebody who’s depressed, and sang by somebody just as depressed, guess what kind of spirit is being transferred to you when you listen to that song. I can bet that almost all suicides and attempted suicides have at least one LSS (last song syndrome) playing in the background in their heads.

But this was how I got out of it: I soaked, I tarried, I stayed in His Presence. I regained my connection with my God, the Lover of my soul, my Bestfriend, my Father, the Meaning of my life. And you know what, I just snapped out of it. Jesus broke the chains of the Big Lie that had me bound. I became free! Just like that. In place of emptiness, there was joy.

Yes, the answer is too simple and sounds too good to be true. That is why The Big Lie seems to be more believable. But there is no other way around it, as a song goes. You will first have to be broken. Crushed.

And sometimes, you will have to fight your way into it. Fight the tyranny of the urgent, as they say, and know that being with Him, communing with Him, being loved by Him, is what you really need right now. And you have to do whatever it takes to revive that intimate connection, that heart-to-heart relationship with Him. Lay everything before Him. Repent and receive His cleansing.

Yes, you might think it feels good just to have another depressed friend around to keep you company, and you do expect people to reach out to you. But we all know that whatever comfort or thrill you’ll get from this will not last long.

I’m talking about a lasting solution. A solution that will destroy depression and keep it out of your life once for all.

 

Hey, talk to me.

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Death by Loneliness

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Credits: facebook.com/AnthonyBourdain

This is not to belittle the “big” issue of depression surrounding the death by suicide of well-loved personalities such as Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade, Robin Williams, and so many more.

But their deaths only highlight this fundamental truth:

That fame, riches, worldly success, religion, an active lovelife, influence, power, and what lately has become everybody’s dream—travel adventures— simply cannot erase the emptiness, that inner loneliness, that results from not having a real, genuine, personal love-relationship with the One who created you for Himself.

The person who has shut off God from their life, because they have swallowed the ancient lies (the lie that God doesn’t really care, that He doesn’t exist, that it so UNCOOL to believe in a God in this age of science and technological advancement yada yada yada)—every lie thrown by the devil into a world that has become so susceptible to deception…that person who has removed God from the equation…has virtually written their own death sentence. They have practically removed any chance of finding real happiness. And that is the ugly truth.

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Credits: TMZ

Some people explain this fact away by painting a picture of depression as a sickness caused by a chemical imbalance, a mental disease just like other diseases that can be “cured” or managed by science and medicine. Well, science has proven that our bodies naturally react from triggers from our minds, our hearts, and our spirit. For instance, nurturing hurts and bitterness for long periods of time affects the heart, the kidneys, and other internal organs.

The human being is simply not meant to live a life independent from his Creator. We have been “designed” to live in close communion with Him, and even our bodies react to the absence of the love and light that comes from knowing Him. THIS is what the world calls depression. In reality, it is simply the absence of God in your life.

Every single person in the world has felt hunger for God at one time or another. But because we give in to the world’s convention of what is right, or what is real, or what is truth, or what is “cool”, we push this innate thirst for meaning aside, and replace it with our own life philosophy, our own survival mindsets, our own religion. The fact is, God has intentionally placed that natural thirst in your heart for you to seek Him.

You may ask—So, do Christians never ever experience depression? If you mean by “Christians” those who go to church or post bible quotes everyday, well, they do get depressed if they don’t have that real connection, or have not experienced a real encounter with God. Not everyone who goes to church and posts bible verses have a real connection with God. Religion will NOT give you real and lasting happiness. Only a genuine, personal, heart-to-heart connection with God can. It is simply impossible for anyone to be touched by God and not be happy.

 

Ask me how.