God already knows our hearts. We don’t have to pretend to be something that isn’t true.

Application #1: God already knows your thoughts before you think them.

If He already knows my thoughts before I think them, in fact, “from afar” (like He knew them before I was even born), then He knows my intentions and wishes. He isn’t confused when the darkness overwhelms me (like somehow He lost track of me). What good does it do to pretend with God?

“Alright then, no more lying. No more pretending I’m not a mess. No more placating God for His favor.” I made a conscious decision that when God and I conversed, short of disrespecting Him, that it would have to be completely honest, raw, and true to how I was feeling right then and right there.

I wondered, “Can I even do that and not be struck dead by a God Who had a history of striking people dead in the Bible?” I was a little nervous. “Can God handle my authenticity and still love me?” Now, that would be the true test! If He could still love me when I exposed the wretchedness of my soul, then He just might really love me.

Application #2: God knows the real you trapped inside.

Trust me, your original identity is still trapped inside you. You must believe that whoever that is, God knows the real you! He sees your thoughts, your hopes, your dreams, your disappointments and your most inward heart’s desires! Your brain isn’t a confusing maze for the Creator of the universe. He isn’t tripped up when He looks at you, confused that sometimes you act like this and other times like that. He isn’t bewildered that you have a dichotomy of thoughts and feelings. He isn’t surprised or aghast when your behavior doesn’t reflect the inward you. He knows how your brain works. He knows if and when it isn’t functioning correctly. He understands what it will do when depression begins to manifest itself.

While you may lose the real you when your depression begins masquerading as the real thing, He hasn’t lost His ability to see into your heart. This Great Physician is not limited to what laboratory, MRIs, cat scans, and any other diagnostic test might discover. He understands every single one of your cells, your atoms and your neurons. He understands how each affects the other. He is intimately aware of what is causing you to do the things you do and the ways it is causing you to think.

Rather than being disgusted or surprised by how your illness is causing you to act, He has not jumped to the judgment that you have now become a bad person. You must trust that God has not been fooled by this illness. You can come out of the closet and be real.

Application #3: No more claiming spiritual mantras! They make you feel like a hypocrite!

There is already such hypocrisy in depression where another personality gets to live your life, the last thing somebody with depression needs is to try to fool God (and others) into believing that they feel strong. In fact, aren’t they just trying to rewrite the truth and lie to God Himself, trying to convince Him that they are strong, because they believe that’s what He wants?

As long as you continue to lie to yourself, to others and possibly to God, you will never find freedom. You will never experience peace. God made us to need Him for completion. God continually gives us more than we can handle so that He can be the One Who handles it.

Remember, Chris Rice’s song “I Need a Hero?” There is a dishonesty when people claim that “in the name of Jesus” they are strong, when they know they aren’t. I feel only sorrow for them because they truly believe that “strong” is what God needs them to be. The fact is that Jesus doesn’t want them to be strong. He wants them to see HIS strength; He wants to be their Hero. They’re missing the very thing that God might be wanting to show them about Himself being the Hero, not them, in their story.

Now, I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard some preachers (and in turn, other believers) tell others to embrace the power of positive thinking (some call it positive affirmation). Folks, that isn’t a God thing. That is a new age thing. What they are, in essence, saying is, pretend it doesn’t exist and maybe it’ll go away.

Pushing yourself to say or affirm in your heart positive thinking as a method of escaping your depression just adds to the hypocrisy that you’re already feeling. For me, it felt like a denial of what was true. It felt like a betrayal of my own self. In my experience, it was better to stay in that place of trueness and resist the desperate feeling to push past it.

Do you know how soon these same depressed believers post on social media their despair and their failure? Their hope was that if they spoke victory and healing over their illness, their spiritual power or their faith in God would grant them what they desired most. Healing! How I grieve for these tossed about on the waves of their depression looking for just the right formula to put into God’s vending machine, whereby they are convinced God owes them the “Snickers bar” of deliverance.

Remember how I said that depression feels like a split-personality, your former self, whom you used to know and understand, the one who loved God, sought to obey and please Him—and another version of yourself, like an “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” victim? Even though you live daily with this ugliness pressing into your soul, wouldn’t it be a wonderful relief if you were sure that 1) God knew which one of you was real and, 2) that in your heart, you really did want to please Him, or at least you did before depression? I enter into evidence Psalm 139.

Verses To Meditate On

Psalm 139:1-4,11–12 (NASB): “O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O Lord, You know it all…If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night.’ Even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.”
Romans 8:27 (NASB): “And He Who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”
Psalm 44:21 (NASB): “Would not God find this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart.”
Psalm 69:5 (NASB): “O God, it is You Who knows my folly, and my wrongs are not hidden from You.”
Hebrews 4:13 (NLT): “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes.”

Recapping, depression is, in essence, a huge conflict in your soul. Either extreme feels like the total opposite of the person who you seem to be on one side or the other of the pit. Being real, being true to yourself, admitting the feelings that you are having exactly as you were having them, is a really important thing to do if you want to experience relief. The time for masking your feelings, hiding what’s lurking underneath the surface, and putting a pretty face on a pig, needs to come to an end. It is your first step to uncovering yourself and finding freedom in being real and being known.

“Can God handle my authenticity and still love me?” Now, that would be the true test! If He could still love me when I exposed the wretchedness of my soul, then He just might really love me. Guess what! He does!