In this the first article, in my series about Childhood Depression, I will be addressing the first of six warning and guiding lights. In coming weeks, I will address warning and guiding lights for each of the letters in the word “LIGHTS”, so make sure to keep checking back so you won’t miss any of the articles in this important series.
Warning “L” – Lies
The saying, “Garbage In, Garbage Out” or “GIGO” is very much related to this first warning light. Environment can greatly affect the mood of anyone. But, when a child is prone to depressive thinking, what affects their thought process, can result in even more toxic thinking than an average child.
For this reason, monitoring what a child is listening to, reading, watching, and even who they are associating with is important. These outside influences can either add to the issue or be factors which can be used to combat the issue. (We will talk more about this second condition in a future article.)
Even beyond outside influences, children with depression also create toxic thinking internally by believing lies about themselves. Lies like: “I am a nobody”; “Who would listen to what I have to say”; “There is no purpose to my life because each day is miserable.”; “There is nothing special about me.”; “Why would anyone think I was special or want to be my friend?”; or “I am not as gifted as that person, so I might as well not even try.”
Origin of Lies
Neil Anderson, in his book Overcoming Depression, writes: “The most devious of Satan’s schemes is deception…because we don’t know we are being deceived.”
Also, Proverbs 14:12 states, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”
Parenting Amidst the Lies
When children examine themselves, they naturally are poor judges of truth and tactics of the enemy who wants to keep them down. As a parent, we can either be defeated by the lies our children believe about themselves, or we can combat them with tools. (These tools are what I will be calling guiding lights in each of my articles in this series.)
Children who struggle with believing lies over truth will often verbalize them and unknowingly allow you to hear the lies they are believing. As a parent, you may not like what you are hearing, but can be thankful your child is allowing you into his world by speaking out in this manner.
Guiding “L” – Life in Christ
Your Child + Jesus
In combating lies, the first and foundational truth a child needs to learn is that they are not complete without Jesus Christ. And, they also need to internalize the fact that all of mankind, since Adam and Eve and the fall, have been suffering from the same condition.
Sin makes all of us incomplete, but Jesus makes up for all the things sin has stolen from us. The biggest lie humans have bought is the belief that a person can be complete and find success, joy, and contentment apart from God.
Complete Only In Christ
In Colossians 2:10, Paul states, “…and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.”
It is Jesus who formed your child. He knows your child better than even you. He sees your child when she is sitting, standing, lying down, and waking. Plus, He sacrificed Himself to pay the penalty of your child’s sin. A restitution which can only be enacted if your child accepts Jesus and realizes a need for Him.
The “L” Silver Lining
In looking back at my own struggles through childhood depression, I can’t believe how much I gave into lies. Continually I sought out relationships, music, books, and movies to temporarily justify my thoughts were on the right track. Fortunately, God had built within me an unsettled spirit that could never stay long in those places.
The internal struggle to find peace, ultimately to find Jesus, was a relentless quest depression led me through. Had I been content with life, I am not sure my passion to serve the Lord would be as relentless as it is now. Thus, there is a silver lining for many who have found God in the dark places of depression: their lives are vibrant, shining examples of Him reversing a darkened life into one filled with light and hope.
This perspective of light out of darkness is the hope you need to hold onto and pray continually for your child. Depression is a narrow and difficult road which God uses for His purposes. Remember, a life without struggle only masks our true human condition. Contentment truly is the broad road which leads to destruction. But the narrow road is one which reveals our inadequacy to do life alone, and is the road that leads to life.
Links to All the Blogs in this Series