A Sham

When I get depressed, I feel like a fake.

I get tired easy.  I can’t write sermons.  I don’t want to prepare for bible class.  I don’t want to see or talk to people.  I don’t want to do anything at all.

All of which raises the question for me, why am I a pastor?

I know it’s a phase.  I know it will pass.  But it just keeps happening.  I want somebody to slap me and say SNAP OUT OF IT!  Of course, it doesn’t work that way.  I wish I knew the formula.  X amount of sleep plus Y amount of quiet time plus Z amount of no stress equals slump gone.

So what is the formula?  Will someone tell me the secret?

Thanks,

-DMR

7 thoughts on “A Sham”

  1. Because being tired, not wanting to prepare for work, not wanting to deal with other people etc makes you understand exactly the people to whom God has sent you to preach. You know what to put in your sermons. Preach to yourself and you will be preaching to everyone us sitting in the pew.

    Forgive us for the same sins you face.

  2. adding to Sally – you know the Lord’s longsuffering patience in Christ with your fears, and that in the end He will remove these afflictions of sin from your mind forever. I know that is how the Spirit has produced His fruit of patience toward the flock He entrusted to me, where they have fears/sins that continue to be a part of their life… for now. But not forever.

    As for being a sham, I can’t help but bring up Jonah in Ninevah. The Lord’s Word works even then… and even now in you because it is not about your heart’s temporary desire, but His eternal desire for His creatures.

    Looking forward to singing LSB 677, stanza 5 the Sunday following next,

    Jim (who has also felt like a fake in the pulpit more than once)

  3. I can’t give you a formula but I can give you a hand-pierced Man with life-giving words.

    It is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick. And He has come for the sinner broken by disease and sin.

    His words are life even when they come from the mouth of a broken sinner. His words accomplish their purpose even when it seems as if you have no purpose. Even when you want to hide, His kingdom cannot be hid.

    His words are always real. “Neither do I condemn you.”

  4. If you were not a pastor, you would probably struggle to do whatever other occupation you held during times when you were in a slump. The problem is not that you are a pastor; the problem is that you are depressed.

    The Lord works in mysterious ways. He can be working good through you even when you can’t see it. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever, regardless of how you’re feeling at any particular time. His mercy endures forever.

  5. You can’t fix your depression on your own any more than I can fix my anxiety on my own. Your depression makes you feel as if you can’t accomplish what you ought to and my anxiety makes me not trust my God like I ought to. I feel like a fake, a hypocrite, because I say “Fear, love, and TRUST in God above all things” and yet I doubt His good gifts every time I allow myself the anxiety that robs me of my joy. Worse yet, is the fact that I cannot stop it of my own accord. I have prayed that God would take it from me and yet I am still plagued by the symptoms. This makes me doubt more as obviously my faith isn’t good enough or I would be better.

    Or would it be? In times like this I look over at my baptismal certificate. Hard evidence that Christ has called me to be His own, anxiety included. When my anxiety is at its worst, I have to remember that it isn’t about me. By myself, I am a failure at being a preschool teacher, a wife, a caretaker of my birds, a daughter, a sister, and a friend. In Christ, I am a conqueror of these failings, not because of anything I did, but because of what Christ did on the cross for me. Where I fail, even in remembering that I am a child of God, He covers that sin in my Baptism and strengthens me with His body and His blood in with and under the bread and wine at the Mass. Because He loved me first and covers my sins, even those stemming from a disorder that goes back, like everything else, to Genesis 3, I can live in the freedom of knowing that when I sin, when I fail, and when my anxiety causes me to doubt my own salvation, Christ is there in the form of my pastor saying, “I forgive you in the name of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” That’s tangible proof to wave at my fears. Is it an instant fix? Nope! That will only happen on the other side of the grave. But it is a fix, even if we cannot see it fully now. Cling to God’s promises, for in your weakness, God is shown to be strong.

  6. There is no such thing as a “fix” for the brokenness that comes from Genesis 3 and manifests itself in so many ways in this life, this side of eternity. But God does give gifts that can help.

    I remember a post on this blog a while ago (here) in which you mentioned you were going to be weaned off your medications. And it sounds like since then you have been doing pretty good. And that’s a good gift from God, that you were able to be free of the side-effects of antidepressants without severe depression for a time.

    But that doesn’t mean you will never need those meds again. Even if you’ve been off them for a time, you may at times need to begin taking them again. Depression is a chronic condition, and sometimes it just comes back, even if we’ve been taking care of ourselves the best we know how. One theological corollary of Genesis 3 is that stuff happens that’s beyond our control. There is no shame in recognizing that God’s gifts include medications, imperfect though they may be.

    To quote from a Higher Things Bible Study written by a certain pastor and his then-fiancee

    Read 2 Corinthians 12:7-9. Are these illnesses always to be thought of as a curse or problem?

    No, they can often be opportunities and blessings in disguise. For example, the young man in Mrs. Fouts’ article can see more clearly than his peers the shallowness of modern “evangelical” forms of worship, because of his disorder. Those with depression can often understand the theology of the cross better than others, because they know better than some others how God works through suffering and the cross. Also, they also have a better understanding of our helplessness and need for God’s intervention, as those with such illnesses cannot by their own reason or strength “cure themselves.” As St. Paul points out, it is God’s strength that is made perfect in our weaknesses. And the means by which He does so (counseling, medication, sometimes accompanied by a change of lifestyle as well) are themselves blessings from Him, not just something those with these illnesses must “put up with.”

  7. There is no such thing as a “fix” for the brokenness that comes from Genesis 3 and manifests itself in so many ways in this life, this side of eternity. But God does give gifts that can help.

    I remember a post on this blog a while ago (here) in which you mentioned you were going to be weaned off your medications. And it sounds like since then you have been doing pretty good. And that’s a good gift from God, that you were able to be free of the side-effects of antidepressants without severe depression for a time.

    But that doesn’t mean you will never need those meds again. Even if you’ve been off them for a time, you may at times need to begin taking them again. Depression is a chronic condition, and sometimes it just comes back, even if we’ve been taking care of ourselves the best we know how. One theological corollary of Genesis 3 is that stuff happens that’s beyond our control. There is no shame in recognizing that God’s gifts include medications, imperfect though they may be.

    To quote from a Higher Things Bible Study written by a certain pastor and his then-fiancee

    Read 2 Corinthians 12:7-9. Are these illnesses always to be thought of as a curse or problem?

    No, they can often be opportunities and blessings in disguise. For example, the young man in Mrs. Fouts’ article can see more clearly than his peers the shallowness of modern “evangelical” forms of worship, because of his disorder. Those with depression can often understand the theology of the cross better than others, because they know better than some others how God works through suffering and the cross. Also, they also have a better understanding of our helplessness and need for God’s intervention, as those with such illnesses cannot by their own reason or strength “cure themselves.” As St. Paul points out, it is God’s strength that is made perfect in our weaknesses. And the means by which He does so (counseling, medication, sometimes accompanied by a change of lifestyle as well) are themselves blessings from Him, not just something those with these illnesses must “put up with.”

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A Sham

When I get depressed, I feel like a fake.

I get tired easy.  I can’t write sermons.  I don’t want to prepare for bible class.  I don’t want to see or talk to people.  I don’t want to do anything at all.

All of which raises the question for me, why am I a pastor?

I know it’s a phase.  I know it will pass.  But it just keeps happening.  I want somebody to slap me and say SNAP OUT OF IT!  Of course, it doesn’t work that way.  I wish I knew the formula.  X amount of sleep plus Y amount of quiet time plus Z amount of no stress equals slump gone.

So what is the formula?  Will someone tell me the secret?

Thanks,

-DMR

6 thoughts on “A Sham”

  1. Because being tired, not wanting to prepare for work, not wanting to deal with other people etc makes you understand exactly the people to whom God has sent you to preach. You know what to put in your sermons. Preach to yourself and you will be preaching to everyone us sitting in the pew.

    Forgive us for the same sins you face.

  2. adding to Sally – you know the Lord’s longsuffering patience in Christ with your fears, and that in the end He will remove these afflictions of sin from your mind forever. I know that is how the Spirit has produced His fruit of patience toward the flock He entrusted to me, where they have fears/sins that continue to be a part of their life… for now. But not forever.

    As for being a sham, I can’t help but bring up Jonah in Ninevah. The Lord’s Word works even then… and even now in you because it is not about your heart’s temporary desire, but His eternal desire for His creatures.

    Looking forward to singing LSB 677, stanza 5 the Sunday following next,

    Jim (who has also felt like a fake in the pulpit more than once)

  3. I can’t give you a formula but I can give you a hand-pierced Man with life-giving words.

    It is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick. And He has come for the sinner broken by disease and sin.

    His words are life even when they come from the mouth of a broken sinner. His words accomplish their purpose even when it seems as if you have no purpose. Even when you want to hide, His kingdom cannot be hid.

    His words are always real. “Neither do I condemn you.”

  4. If you were not a pastor, you would probably struggle to do whatever other occupation you held during times when you were in a slump. The problem is not that you are a pastor; the problem is that you are depressed.

    The Lord works in mysterious ways. He can be working good through you even when you can’t see it. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever, regardless of how you’re feeling at any particular time. His mercy endures forever.

  5. You can’t fix your depression on your own any more than I can fix my anxiety on my own. Your depression makes you feel as if you can’t accomplish what you ought to and my anxiety makes me not trust my God like I ought to. I feel like a fake, a hypocrite, because I say “Fear, love, and TRUST in God above all things” and yet I doubt His good gifts every time I allow myself the anxiety that robs me of my joy. Worse yet, is the fact that I cannot stop it of my own accord. I have prayed that God would take it from me and yet I am still plagued by the symptoms. This makes me doubt more as obviously my faith isn’t good enough or I would be better.

    Or would it be? In times like this I look over at my baptismal certificate. Hard evidence that Christ has called me to be His own, anxiety included. When my anxiety is at its worst, I have to remember that it isn’t about me. By myself, I am a failure at being a preschool teacher, a wife, a caretaker of my birds, a daughter, a sister, and a friend. In Christ, I am a conqueror of these failings, not because of anything I did, but because of what Christ did on the cross for me. Where I fail, even in remembering that I am a child of God, He covers that sin in my Baptism and strengthens me with His body and His blood in with and under the bread and wine at the Mass. Because He loved me first and covers my sins, even those stemming from a disorder that goes back, like everything else, to Genesis 3, I can live in the freedom of knowing that when I sin, when I fail, and when my anxiety causes me to doubt my own salvation, Christ is there in the form of my pastor saying, “I forgive you in the name of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” That’s tangible proof to wave at my fears. Is it an instant fix? Nope! That will only happen on the other side of the grave. But it is a fix, even if we cannot see it fully now. Cling to God’s promises, for in your weakness, God is shown to be strong.

  6. There is no such thing as a “fix” for the brokenness that comes from Genesis 3 and manifests itself in so many ways in this life, this side of eternity. But God does give gifts that can help.

    I remember a post on this blog a while ago (here) in which you mentioned you were going to be weaned off your medications. And it sounds like since then you have been doing pretty good. And that’s a good gift from God, that you were able to be free of the side-effects of antidepressants without severe depression for a time.

    But that doesn’t mean you will never need those meds again. Even if you’ve been off them for a time, you may at times need to begin taking them again. Depression is a chronic condition, and sometimes it just comes back, even if we’ve been taking care of ourselves the best we know how. One theological corollary of Genesis 3 is that stuff happens that’s beyond our control. There is no shame in recognizing that God’s gifts include medications, imperfect though they may be.

    To quote from a Higher Things Bible Study written by a certain pastor and his then-fiancee

    Read 2 Corinthians 12:7-9. Are these illnesses always to be thought of as a curse or problem?

    No, they can often be opportunities and blessings in disguise. For example, the young man in Mrs. Fouts’ article can see more clearly than his peers the shallowness of modern “evangelical” forms of worship, because of his disorder. Those with depression can often understand the theology of the cross better than others, because they know better than some others how God works through suffering and the cross. Also, they also have a better understanding of our helplessness and need for God’s intervention, as those with such illnesses cannot by their own reason or strength “cure themselves.” As St. Paul points out, it is God’s strength that is made perfect in our weaknesses. And the means by which He does so (counseling, medication, sometimes accompanied by a change of lifestyle as well) are themselves blessings from Him, not just something those with these illnesses must “put up with.”

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