OVERWHELMED – How to Deal with How You Feel
Recent Headlines where I live and serve:
4 Rancho Cucamonga, CA, Teens have committed suicide since school started. Pastor of Mega Church takes his own life.
The first week school opened this year in the town our church is in, Rancho Cucamonga, four young people committed suicide. Then two weeks later, pastor Andrew Stoeckiein the leader of a very successful church in our area took his own life. Apparently, he had been suffering from severe depression and anxiety and had taken the summer off to try and deal with it. When he returned home after two weeks he ended his life. Within a week a fifteen-year-old student in another high school near us tried to hang himself and at the time of this writing is in critical condition.
The reason that I refer to these heartbreaking stories is because they are examples of a society that is filled with people who are feeling overwhelmed and do not know how to deal with how they feel. People suffering from mental illness come from all types of families, all backgrounds, economic, ethnic, and religions.
Rick and Kay Warren, pastors of Saddleback church in our area lost their son to suicide. Rick wrote, “It was my role as a father that I heard the call to be an advocate for people living with mental illness. Our youngest son, Matthew, struggled terribly with mental illness almost his entire life. His suffering was immense, and in 2013 and impulsive moment of despair, he took his own life. As a family we were crushed and devastated.”
I think that there are more people in our culture, including pastors and church leaders, along with faithful believers, who are feeling overwhelmed and do not know how to deal with these feelings. This includes depression, anxiety, fear, grief, thoughts of suicide and so much more. The depth of what people are feeling overwhelmed with today seems to be getting deeper and darker. This past year I have sat for hours in the office of a psychiatrist with a pastor who is suffering from the darkest depression I have ever seen. Visit after visit end in frustration, as we have seen no progress in this brother, the psychiatrist has said that the there is so much that science does not understand about the mind.
Of course, humans have always had to deal with extreme feelings of being overwhelmed. Human history is filled with times of such misery that we can only imagine how they felt. But, today in our Western culture especially, with all the prosperity, creature comforts, increase of knowledge, technology and so forth, everyone should be living the dream of peace, prosperity and the pursuit of happiness. In reality, many of those who appear to “have it all” from the most famous celebrities and business tycoons to the pastor in our area and these teens in the middle-class communities around us who recently took their own lives are feeling overwhelmed and do not know how to deal with how they feel.
How do you feel?
Perhaps you are not feeling like you think that you should feel. One or more of a million things could have happened in your life that is affecting how you feel right now. You may not even have any idea what the source(s) of how you feel may be. Trying to understand, you can dig into your past or evaluate the events that have happened to you recently.
Sometimes the more that you search the darker and deeper the feelings become.
The pastor in our area who recently took his own life had taken time off for the entire summer to try and deal with how he was feeling. He did not hide his struggle; he and his wife were transparent about his personal struggle with depression and anxiety. When they returned he preached two Sundays at the church and then took his own life. I’m not saying any of this to fault him in any way, there is no doubt that he was a gifted teacher, loved God, and was a faithful man of character. I’m saying that the solutions to what so many are feeling will not be found in a few church services, some counseling secessions.
We are talking about serious business here.
I’m not going to load you down with statists about depression, anxiety or suicides in America. You can do your own Google search and find all of that. I don’t dare to write a blog and think that between these paragraphs you are going to discover the answers. Our modern world is filled with way too many wished-for simple solutions just skimming over the Word of God to find a few positive points to solve our problems. I want to take a journey with you, prayerfully and delicately into the Word of God. Let’s discover what God says about, how to deal with how you feel. . . we will move further on our journey in my next blog.
Check out the audio story of the Lopez family and how they are walking through depression with one of their children as a family. Download the audio here.
My preaching team is speaking on this each week in September at Praise Chapel in Rancho Cucamonga. Be watching for my next blog on, OVERWHELMED: How to Deal with How you Feel.
Larry Neville Email