Bad Memory Hunt

Easter egg hunts are great, you know that when you go on one there is going to be something nice and chocolaty at the end of it. Bad memory hunts, however, they only lead to painful guilt, shame, self-recrimination and intro-punitive hostility.

I have had several conversations with Christian people who are suffering from mild depression and whose minds appear to be constantly searching out a list of their worst hits. It can be very confusing in those moments to know whether or not the Lord is revealing some hidden sin that needs dealing with, or if in fact this is just a product of the depression itself.

There is no doubt that sometimes hidden guilt can be a catalyst for depression, however, more often than not, bad memory hunts are the result and not the cause of a depression. Try and have an objective vision when these things appear on your horizon. Why would you suddenly become remorseful for a mistake you made ten years ago, (which you have received forgiveness for and been open about) at this particular time?

It is rarely ever coincidence that you are feeling depressed, sad and lethargic, and suddenly at the same time find your most painful memories and mistakes come to light again. Have you ever wondered why you weren't thinking about your happiest memories and best moments. Well that is the nature of the beast that is depression.

The best course of action at these times is no course of action at all. The depressed brain can be like a heat seeking missile, on the look out for the first opportunity to make you feel worse; more guilty, shameful, unclean and regretful than you really should be. Your job is not to dwell on its focus but to accept that this is what depression does, and these memories do not need re-examination, re-confession or re-guilt. Instead focus away from their direction onto your true reason for hope, Jesus. Ask him for the power to resist the vortex of bad memories and to affirm in you the forgiveness and peace that he has given you through his death and resurrection.

This can be a real battle, but it is so important to resist the temptation just to give in. You are so loved and precious in God's sight.
 

Will Van Der Hart, 19/06/2008