Depression, Anxiety & Faith

In this episode of the Family Care Learning Podcast, we hear from Haley and Giselle who discuss emotions, mental health, and faith. What does the Bible say about depression?

Haley Morte is a child and family therapist and family coach at Arizona Family Counseling, a service of Christian Family Care. Giselle Ortiz is a mental health therapist also at Arizona Family Counseling.

Around 2015, Giselle shared her own personal experience with depression and lasted for about two years. She says it was brought on wit the type of work she was doing.

“In those moments I remember on top of that depression and anxiety mixed in too there was almost a sense of shame of how can I be feeling this as a Christian?” Giselle shared.

She shared how she thought this might mean that her faith was not very strong and yet how God really met her there in that place.

“For a lot of us as believers there’s a lot of pressure to be okay and just pray about it and get over it,” she said.

Throughout the years, Giselle has explored this topic in Scripture and says what she came across was very healing for her.

It’s the idea that God is not offended by our emotions and he is not caught off guard anything we’re feeling low.

In the Psalms there’s so many examples where King David is an emotional mess. “I love that because I can relate to that,” Giselle said. “There’s times where we feel great and are on fire for God and have spiritual highs but then there’s moments where we really are in that valley and a season where I feel like a wasteland emotionally,” she said.

When Jesus says, “God why have you forsaken me,” this is a direct quote from Psalms 22. “Even people of God, chosen people of God, leaders also had moments of deep, intense emotions and I don’t see them being condemned for that,” Giselle shared.

“I feel like there’s a lesson for us that God would have us bring those emotions to him, not hide them and think we have to have it all together before we can approach him for help,” she said.

“God is inviting us in, he has compassion for us when we’re struggling with mental health, anxiety, or in a season where nothing seems to make sense and even if it may be a lengthy season he’s not disappointed in us,” Haley added.

In Hebrews, Paul says we have Jesus, our high priest, our intercessor, our mediator. Jesus was here and has experienced our deep emotions, the suffering and confusion and he understand us in ways maybe we don’t get.

“God is after a relationship with us and in order for that to work it’s a heart to heart connection but if we feel we cannot show our heart than we cannot connect deeply,” Giselle said.

Nothing is hidden from God and he longs to be invited into those spaces so he can start healing those areas where we’re terrified about.

There’s also the idea of spiritual warfare.

“In Micah 7 and 8, where Micah is basically saying do not gloat over me my enemy, though I have fallen I will rise again and even in the darkness the Lord will be my light,” Giselle shared.

“God is our warrior, he fights on our behalf so even in those moments in my own experience I remember feeling that even breathing was so much work. I felt so tired and the idea of getting out of bed and going to another day of work, I would cry because I didn’t know if I could do it,” she said. “In those moments God was my strength, he went before me and was fighting on my behalf and warding off the darkness and he does that for us,” she added.

Jesus is the deliverer, he redeems. It reminds her of Jesus’ mission statement in Luke 4 where he says the spirit of the Lord is upon me and to proclaim the good news, to set free the oppressed and captive. “Sometimes that captivity and oppression is emotional,” Giselle said.

God not only sees this but he addresses it.

Giselle talks about the importance of starting with confession. Share with God where you are at and that you need him to meet you where you’re at.

The next step, she says is asking for help, inviting God in those hard moments. Following this, she says is worship.

Giselle also shared how a lot of her thoughts and feelings where choices she made. She could choose to dwell in depression or choose to listen to a worship song and making space for the presence of God and that’s what ultimately brought her out of the season of depression she was in.

Exodus 14:14 was a verse that helps her through this and knowing that the Lord will fight for her all she has to do is be still.