The Silent Struggle
Lately I've been plagued with one of the most taboo subjects in ministry. Not taboo to be talked about but it's one that if you say you are struggling with it, you get those looks from people. The ones that say it all. "You must not trust God enough." "It's all in your head." "You seem fine to me." The truth is for the last few months I have been struggling with bouts of depression. Now I realize this is something many people may deal in with varying degrees and maybe like me it's a silent struggle or maybe for you it consumes your life. I am not sure where you are at, but I can tell you that for me, this is something I have been dealing with alone and in silence. Why? Where did this all start? Well right now our church is going through some huge changes. We recently opened a second campus, our youth ministries have been struggling since the opening of it and now our generation pastor is leaving to start a new church. While these things are awesome and I am excited for them, the stress of it all has left me with an unexplained gloom that followed me. It was like the rain cloud that wouldn't leave me. For awhile I was able to keep going, go through the motions and deal with it, until I couldn't anymore. It was all I could do to get through the week and sleep on my day off, forget all my problems and try to mentally prepare myself for the next week. Even in my time with God it was motions after motions. Distance seemed to be creeping in and all of a sudden I felt father away from God and more alone than I ever has been, all while still leading a large middle school ministry with 40+ leaders and volunteers. The truth is as horrifying as this sounds to maybe some of you, I have realized that through this struggle that I am not alone. Many other youth pastors and leaders feel the same. I have seen some statistics that say up to 70% of pastors struggle with depression. This is a real epidemic in the church and I feel like the reason why is because of silence. For way too long this subject has not been talked about and if it has it's always an issue that the people we lead are struggling with... never the leader. Depression and anxiety can effect anyone. Maybe like me, it's because of stress and transition. Maybe it's because of loneliness, as being a top leader can be lonely, or maybe it's another reason. Whatever the reason is, as "the big C" church, we need to do a better job at talking about the issue, offering support and not condemning people, but supporting them through it. So if you are like me and struggling I want to say I am here. I see you. I understand. I'm not a medical professional and I do not have the answers to what to do, but I do want you to know you are not alone.
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