Mike Novotny - Anxiety and Depression, Where Is the Bible's Comfort?
It seems that depression and anxiety are on the rise, especially with the Covid pandemic. That's true. What portions of the Bible can we point people to and, especially teens? Man, it's a great question. So I'm reading a book on, I'm about to have a teenage daughter, did I tell you this? Prayers requested, please. So my goal for this year was to read five books on being a dad to a teenager and one of the books was about anxiety in girls and so I was just reading this like expert and everything she had to say. And she talked a lot, at least in girls, that with young woman, there's often a lot of internalizing, there's a lot of pressure to be perfect.
Many young women just want to be great at school and they want to be great at their jobs and they want to be great friends and just like all of that pressure can internalize and make them anxious like I'm juggling a thousand different balls and I can't keep them in the air. You know, so how do you have, depression, I mean, the chemical imbalance, what Bible passage will fix that? I think there are passages that help but I don't want to suggest like here's the one passage to read tonight and your depression is over.
I mean, there's so many factors that contribute to that that for a lot of us, you know, depression or being worried too quickly or looping thoughts or pride or envy, whatever it is, is going to be a battle and a situation to manage for our entire lives, right? I wouldn't be honest with you if I said, "If you just listened to this one sermon I preached, depression is gone." But I did preach a sermon on depression.
So go to the Taboo series; I preached a message called God's To Do List for Depression and let me give you the 30-second summary of that. What God wants you to do to cure your depression is nothing. I should rephrase that: God's number one way to cure your depression is not you doing something; it's God doing something for you. It's not telling a depressed person do this and do that and if you just do these 10 things, that'll make your depression better. Like no, God loves depressed people. Psalm 42 and 43 talk about God commanding and sending his love when we're just out of it and don't want to get out of bed.
So I think one of the best things that we can say to each other and especially to teens is that God's love isn't based on how much you're rejoicing today. Like, God is close to the brokenhearted; Psalm 34:18. 1 Peter 5:7, "Cast all your anxiety on God because he cares for you." So does eating right and you know, not being connected to too much screens and social media, sleeping, staying connected, being honest, exercise, do those things help? For sure.
But at the top of my list of what I would say to a dear brother or sister in Christ or my own daughter is you know God loves you, right? I know you're worrying again and God still loves you; he loves worrying people. And our Savior died for depressed people so I don't have any simple answers but I can say Psalm 42 and 43, God's unfailing love for those of us who are struggling with mental health, is the greatest comfort I think we can give each other.