Thursday, September 24, 2015

10 Things I Have Learned from Depression...

By Kris Freeman of Revolution Church, White House, TN

This is a long article, so stay with me for critical steps in helping a person on a journey with depression, or any other mental illness.

This past Tuesday morning, I was sitting quietly when I received a Facebook message from a friend in another state. She indicated that while attending a Bible study at her church, she was told that her depression was caused by her own lack of trust in God. In other words, depression was God's punishment upon her for not being spiritual.

The anger that welled up inside me triggered a social media post of my own that has since been shared more than anything I have ever written, and today I wanted to follow up and give you 10 things I have learned from my own personal battle with this treacherous psychological and mental disease, and how these steps have helped me get to a much better place in both my spiritual and physical life.

Let's be clear - depression is BOTH a physical issue caused by a radical chemical imbalance, and a spiritual battle used by Satan to destroy you. Don't think for a moment that the enemy of God does not use sickness to attack God's people. He will in a heartbeat, and I am living proof of it.

My approach to this is faith-based. If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, then how this applies to you may be different. But I encourage you to read the truths contained as a matter of my opinion, applied with personal experience, and not with the idea that I am medically, spiritually or psychologically certified to help you.

I am just a man who lost himself, and am on a journey to reclaim what I feel this disease stole from me. If you, or a friend or loved one, are suffering from the effects of depression, mental illness or what I would consider to be a number of psychological and physical warfare against your body, then please allow me to have the courage to attack this topic with candor and authenticity and maybe this, too, can help you.

Without further intro, here are 10 things I have learned from depression...

1. I learned in depression God is faithful.

"The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure." - 1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT

This verse is often used as a foundation for the statement "God will not place upon you more than you can handle." Can we please stop spreading that mistruth about scripture? This scripture does not guarantee that we will not encounter things which we cannot handle. Instead, it re-emphasizes that when we are tempted or affected much above what we can handle, then it is God who is faithful and will make a way of escape!

You don't need an escape unless it's too big for you. And that's where God comes in. God proved to me He was faithful beyond what I could handle.

Depression is never a punishment from God to you for a perceived lack of faith or lack of trust. Depression can be triggered a number of ways, but God is always faithful. He is there at the beginning even if you lose sight of how to find Him, and He will be faithful at the end when your journey comes back to Him.

2. I learned in depression you MUST seek help.

Admitting you are suffering is not even half the battle. You MUST seek help. It was the last week of March when I went into a doctor's office and came clean with my struggle and left nothing on the table. I remember coming home for the first time and my wife asking me the simple question, "but did you tell them everything?" Yes. And that was the most critical step. I had to find someone I trusted to lead me to the proper place of treatment.

Telling a friend you are depressed seems like a big step but it's really just the surface level admission. Broadcasting your struggle on social media looks very much like a cry for attention, whether or not you need to hear that - it's exactly what others watching you are thinking and it's really not gaining you anything but affirmation from people who can't truly help you. This is not some public journey for a pat on the back. This is a raw, real, nasty, ugly truth that has to be proclaimed in the ears of a professional who can lead you to treatment.

3. I learned in depression the right professionals are the real key.

Fighting depression and mental illness will cost money. Your preacher can't cure you in a phone call. A prayer line won't solve your issues. A Facebook message to your uncle Joe three states away isn't the solution. You must take the time to seek the proper help, and when you do, find the people who will listen and handle it the proper way.

Figure this - depression is already costing you money. It's costing you work productivity, it's costing you family time. It's costing you bad habits. So why not invest those costs in the right place so that in six months you are more healthy than ever before?

Here's my process and I hope this helps you. I saw a local doctor and/or nurse practitioner, my endocrinologist (because I am a type one diabetic), a staff psychologist specializing in mental illness and depression, and the help of pastors outside of my area whom I could be honest with and share the depths of my struggle. I was honest with my wife about this journey and I asked her to be patient with me as the treatments were placed into effect.

And ultimately, I trusted God and asked for His help through the entire process. These are tools and people God has trained and equipped to help you. Use them. Will it cost money? Yes. But the proper insurance will go a long way to helping with treatment as well. And anything spent to make you better is well worth the investment.

4. I learned in depression medication is sometimes a necessity.

I was anti-medication in handling depression for many years. I was a legalist when it came to mental health. I no longer feel this way.

Medications can alter your chemical balance, and this does take time and experimentation. Do not give up on a doctor who is treating you, and I was blessed to have a doctor that allowed me to text her occasionally with updates so that we could make adjustments both inside and outside the office. I was blessed that the right medication seemed to work without too much change.

Medication does not make you weak, it may be the single thing that makes you strong. If you have high blood sugar, you would take insulin. If you have a headache, you would take Tylenol. If you have an infection or virus, you would take the proper antibiotics, etc. So just because depression does not have a band-aid, a cast or a runny nose doesn't mean you can't address it with the proper medication from professionals whom have been trained to administer it.

Medication is not a cure all, but combined with additional treatments can be an amazing additive to get you to the right place.

And a bonus: I learned that neuroscience is AWESOME. I loved it. The first time we broke down the brain stem and the chambers of the noggin I was in scientific Heaven. It was brilliantly interesting. I used up an entire counseling session on it.

5. I learned in depression the side effects of medication are fun and interesting.

For our humor portion of this list, I would like to add that days 14-20 of the medication reminded me that an alien was invading my body and I was being eaten alive from the inside out. At least, that's what it felt like. I am not sure the muscles which ached even existed. I found out that sweating profusely is a virtue, and my skin was ridiculously offended at the notion of new medication and let me know with authority. Because the levels of dopamine were increased, I also became more talkative (shocker!) and battled with ADHD in more extreme cases.

Because we are adults, the most difficult thing about many anti-depressants are the side effects. Those side effects often attack elements of intimacy, especially for men. Speaking truthfully with your doctor about the side effects will help them learn how to balance them, address them and ultimately change or reduce your dose to eliminate them.

And if the side effects get embarrassing, send your wife to talk to the doctor. Problem solved. You're welcome.

6. I learned in depression some people love you and some people leave you.

The most important people in this journey are my wife and kids. They know me in the most quiet and secret and intimate of days. So first and foremost, taking their input and effects into consideration were critical. I love my wife and kids and thank them so much for loving me and being patient with me.

On this journey, I learned some people drew closer to me and proved their worth. I also learned some people cannot handle this stigma attached with mental illness and may leave you, may hurt you, and may even talk bad about you.

If they desert you, you didn't need them. God has said he would never leave you and never forsake you, and your family is going to stick this out with you, too. Find the family and friends that care about you enough to remain through the journey and when you have gained their allegiance, you will have them for a lifetime.

I love what Matthew 18 says about this:

"If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back." - Matthew 18:15 NLT

It then reminds us that the agreement of people is critical to releasing the blessing from the heart of God:

"I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you." - Matthew 18:19 NLT

And let me speak this truth in love. If you speak negative against a person battling depression or mental illness, you are not only hurting the problem and worsening it's effects, but I would dare say that your own sinful pride may be revealing an insecurity in your own life that needs dealing with before you attack anyone else battling the same problem.

Be careful what you say, and be attentive to the wise people who say the right things.

7. I learned in depression my triggers and how to cope with them.

Depression may be caused from a chemical imbalance, but triggering the massive effects of depression can come in many ways. For me, it was a traumatic event that could have resulted in the loss of my life and the life of others around me. Without an adequate coping mechanism, I slipped into a dark and treacherous place that ultimately affected my physical health at every level.

The triggers of depression include, but are not limited to, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anger, sickness, disease, tragedy, financial loss, relationship loss, marital problems, job loss or stress, abuse, traumatic events from your past, etc. Finding your trigger is key.

Let me illustrate: If you are a victim of verbal abuse, then your depressive state may be triggered when someone in authority over you speaks in a dominating voice or demeaning way toward you. Coping with this behavior becomes a choice of retreat and cower, or stand strong and hold fast. The person wrapped in depression feels no other choice but to cower. Coping mechanisms teach you how to stand your ground, and how to also be honest with the people and circumstances in your life causing these terrible reactions.

Medication will stabilize your reaction time, and so will treatments psychologically. I used to make fun of those coping mechanisms until my counselor showed me how to "smell the pizza." What does that mean? He said "do you remember that feeling when you walk into a deli or pizzeria and the aroma just hits you, and you want to brush the air up into your nostrils to take it all in? When you are pressed with a trigger, learn to slow down. Find your pizza and smell it in. Relax, breathe and take a moment."

Well pardon my country phrase, but I'll be dog-gonned, it works. Pepperoni and Canadian bacon, by the way, for the record.

8. I learned in depression what "not" to say to a person facing depression and more serious, what not to say to a person battling with suicidal tendencies.

This is so hard to learn. Is suicide a selfish act? Yes! But not always is the person fighting this battle in the right mental state to hear it. Is the threat of taking one's life critically scary? Yes! And being careful to say the right things could mean the difference between life and death. That never occurred for me, but there were times in depression that harsh words destroyed my spirit and my thoughts.

What NEVER to say:

  • There's someone worse off than you so deal with it.
  • No one cares.
  • Stop feeling sorry for yourself.
  • Aren't you always depressed? What's new?
  • Just try not to think about it.
  • I'll be here when this is all over, so let me know when you're feeling better.
  • I know how you feel.
  • You are selfish and punishing the rest of us.
  • This is all about you, all the time.
  • You just need to have more faith (or pray more, or trust more, etc.)
  • It's all in your mind.
  • Stop feeling sorry for yourself.
  • Why can't you just be normal?
  • I don't want to hear it.
  • I don't have time to listen to this.

What ALWAYS to say:

  • I am here for you.
  • You matter to me.
  • Let me help.
  • Depression is real. I don't understand but I am here.
  • There is hope. Don't give up.
  • You can survive this and I'm right here with you.
  • I'll do my best to understand.
  • I'm not going to leave you or abandon you.
  • I love you.
  • We will get through this together.
  • I am committed to do whatever it takes to help you.
  • I will listen to you.
  • You can trust me and I will keep this private so I can help you.
The Bible says there is life and death in the power of the tongue. Never more is this pronounced than in dealing with depression and mental illness. Be careful what you say, and examine that your words may be critical in someone finding a solution, or seeking the wrong way out.

9. I learned in depression privacy is critical.

Tell your family, medical professionals and the closest friends everything that needs to be told. Leave the public out of it. Don't share your intimate details in the wrong room and in the wrong conversation. You might hurt your family, or later someone might use that story to hurt you.

Until you have conquered this battle, it might be bests to keep some things to yourself: your temptations, your fears, your deepest thoughts, your anger. Learn to channel them in the right way.

Remember, if that person can't help you, they might not need to hear it. Mark that down.

10. I learned in depression the church is desperately unequipped to handle mental illness.

We have to eliminate the stigma. The labels surrounding mental illness have to be removed or repackaged before the church is ever going to have an effective system in dealing with depression and mental illness.

I am not a weak leader because I dealt with tragic circumstances and depression. I am not a weak leader because I am authentic and transparent. And the church should not treat people with mental illness like the plague or leprosy from the Bible.

Why is it we wrap our arms around the cancer victim or the addict or the disabled, but then stick the mentally ill in a corner and call them crazy? Well, there's an easy answer for that. Mental illness and a lack of balance in regards to it has led many people to do crazy things, and therefore it takes the proper system of treatment to attack this disease in the right way.

Some people DO need protection and security. Some people DO need to be removed from a situation. But for the large majority of people suffering from depression, they are normal, everyday individuals being attacked by a mental disease and attacked by Satan through that disease and believing that the very place of hope has disengaged from them the minute they admit their struggle.

I was told I should not be pastoring if I was depressed. I was told that I could not be followed. I was told that I was weak. I was told that I shared too much (and truthfully, I closely examined that). I was also told that this story didn't need to be shared.

Except that my first blog about my journey which has since been taken down by my choice was read or shared over 2,000 times, and I received so many messages that I could not keep up with them.

That tells me this is an issue worth addressing. I will say more about that later as I am committed that the church find a way to do this better.

Until then, take these 10 things to heart and share it with someone who needs to hear it.

I didn't tackle everything. I missed some key points. I'm not a professional.

But I got my life back, and if you want yours then there's something in there that will help you find it.

I love you, and these are my thoughts.


Pastor K

P.S. Jen Freeman - you are amazing and I love you with all of my heart. 

Image courtesy:

Monday, September 21, 2015

#Strapped - Act Your Wage - 09.20.15 Notes

Message notes from Week Two of #Strapped at Revolution Church:

Pastor Kris Freeman

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. Proverbs 22:7

One man pretends to be rich, yet has nothing.... Proverbs 13:7  



Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control. Proverbs 25:28

Learn to say no for a little while say yes for rest of life.
Live like no one else—live like no one else!


Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross… Hebrews 12:2

Giving up something we love for something we love even more!

If you pay $217.93 per month on $14,517 at 18%, it will take 40 years to pay off debt (totaling $104,606.40).
If you invest $14,517 at 12% for 40 years = $1,350,820.94.
If you invest $14,517 and add $217.93 per month at 12% over 40 years = 3,597,615.75  

“But no one gets 12 percent interest!”

OK Then…

ZERO savings times any interest rate is still __________ !! (ZERO)

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?” Luke 14:28

The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty. Proverbs 21:5

You can wander into debt, but you won’t wander out.


Things will break: Ball window, appliances, car

Sell stuff, 2nd job, Ramen noodles, Clip Coupons! 


Payoff paying minimum payments = 120 months.
Debt snowball payoff = 21 months. (Difference of 99 months)

Additional $1110 invested at 8% for 99 months = $153,992.30.

Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter… Prov 6:5

Don’t care what anyone else thinks. Goal—vision.
Godly man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children.
Get gazelle intensity.

Pray before you pay
Under $100 pray for 1 day.    
$100-1,000 pray for 1 week.  
Over $1,000 pray for 1 month.

A lifetime of decisions takes a lifetime of _____________ . (PRAYER)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

#Strapped - A Godly Perspective on Money - 09.13.15 Notes

Good afternoon! We kicked off a brand new series on giving and finances called #Strapped at Revolution Church. Here's the notes from week one, so share them up and print them out as you dig into God's Word this week! Big thanks to Open Source at for an amazing set of resources for this series!


Pastor Kris


Pastor Kris Freeman
A Godly Perspective on Money
#STRAPPED Week One – Sept. 13, 2015
Revolution Church

Just as the rich rule over the poor; so the borrower is servant to the lender. - Prov. 22:7 NLT

How many of you could use more money? Money is fun - unless you don’t have enough of it. But don’t be fooled by the lie - money does not cause evil - the Bible says “the LOVE of money is the root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10).

Myth: Fighting about money hurts my relationships.
Truth: Imbalanced budgets, life situations, poor spending habits, lack of savings LEAD to fights about money.

Myth: Spend it now. You can’t take it with you.
Truth: Invest well, spend wisely, and place your vision in things that make an eternal difference and not a momentary one.

Myth: I give, so God and the church owe me.
Truth: Giving to God is not a reward-based system. It is about obedience and trust. God blesses in ways far beyond money.

Myth: Money will make me fulfilled and happy.
Truth: Money may satisfy a momentary desire and give us comforts other people do not have, but ultimately cannot buy the peace, joy and grace that comes from God.

Myth: God wants people to live poor, so they are humble.
Truth: Humility is a character trait not tied to our financial independence or lack thereof. God uses wealthy people with the proper heart and attitude to accomplish great things on earth that affect many people.

In the Bible - Two-thirds of Jesus’ parables dealt with money and possessions. One out of 10 verses deal directly with money, wealth or possessions. Over 2,300 verses in the Bible deal with money, wealth or possessions - more than prayer and faith! God wants us to GET THIS RIGHT!

Are you #STRAPPED for cash, or are you set free?

Servant `ebed (eh’-bed) - a slave in bondage
  • ·  Love to get married; can't afford it
  • ·   Love to start a family; it will break me
  • ·   Love to buy a home; rented my whole life
  • ·   Love a new job; bound to a bad one (or TWO!)
  • ·   Love to support missions, no disposable income
  • ·   Love to tithe, but where do I get 10 percent

What does not come off the top will be hard to find in the middle. Waiting to give to God when it’s available often means God will be waiting on you for something that can’t be found. 

The Temptation of Money:

1. We are tempted to _________________ money. (SERVE)
Matthew 6:24 - No man can serve two masters.

2. We are tempted to _________________ money. (LOVE)
1 Timothy 6:10 - Wandered from faith, pierced with grief.

The issue is not how much you make and what you like.
The issue is what you serve and what you spend.

A Godly Perspective on Money:

1. We don’t serve money, we serve ______________ . (GOD)

2. Money serves __________ as we serve God. (US)

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another. - Romans 13:8

Money tricks us into believing it can provide two things that come only from God: SECURITY and SIGNIFICANCE.

Money just makes you more of what you ALREADY ARE.
Jerk? = Bigger jerk. Generous? = More generous.
Faithful? = MORE FAITHFUL!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Day I Became Stronger

The following post was written on March 26, 2015, and republished on May 19, 2017. Thanks for reading.... Pastor K

I'm the pastor at your church, for all these years you've listened to my words, you think I know all the answers...

My name is Kris. I am a pastor, community leader, missionary, coach, husband, father and friend. I have a severe case of depression and I am not scared of fighting. This is the story about the day I became stronger. I am taking back my life.

What I am about to write is not going to change my life, but it might save yours.

My life has already been changed. In the most pure form of authenticity I can offer you, this journey you are about to read is one of a successful, confident, broken man who is ready to confront his demons. The hope of doing so is meant to speak to the heart of the person sitting behind the painful, dark mask of depression, mental illness or emotional instability, and tell you that you are worth much more than what you have convinced yourself to believe.

Stay with me, I think this story is worth it. It culminates on a Sunday afternoon drive alone. It didn't end that day; I just decided to change direction.

But I've got doubts and questions too, behind this smile I'm really just like you. Afraid and tired and insecure.

I hopped in the car for the first time in my life and drove for a period of four hours without any contact by phone, text or personal conversation. The last thing my wife heard was "fine, I'm leaving. Bye." And after preaching two services on Sunday morning and bringing my kids home from church, I embarked on a drive and refused to respond to anyone attempting to reach out to me.

The thoughts in my head were borderline demonic. I was going to escape, I was going away. I said that I was leaving, but I really did not know where I was going or what I was leaving. To say that I had destructive or selfish thoughts about harming myself physically is a war within me, for I never had that true physical desire to end my life although the temptation of the enemy was causing me to think that I wasn't even worth being alive. I cried, I worshipped God in song, I prayed, I screamed, I drove in silence and in a complete lack of normal character, I refused to answer.

I refused calls, help, texts. I rejected the reach of my family and my friends. I landed at a stopping point two hours from home in the semicircle driveway of a small church. I prayed and asked God what to do, but with seemingly no reasonable answer, I turned back toward home still with no contact with my family.

What you are about to read may be difficult. The selfishness of refusing to deal with a mental illness or depression is that I left my wife at home wondering the absolute worst. For a man who is connected to his phone almost 24 hours a day, she and my children - not to mention my close friends - had to endure a full afternoon of wondering the worst. Not only did I refuse to respond, I did not tell anyone my location, even closely. I promise you that where I was, no one would have ever suspected or found me unless I told them first. My wife unfortunately had to wonder the ultimate fear...was I even alive?

It was selfish. It was horrific. It was awful. And it was the day I decided that I am not doing this anymore.

If you look me right in the eye, would you see the real me inside, would you take the time to...

You see, four years I admitted publicly a slight struggle with depression. At the time, I lost close friends who abandoned me. I lost church members who said "I cannot follow a weak leader." You do not know how difficult those words were to digest when it filtered back to my family. I was betrayed by a colleague who used insecurity as an attack on my personal character. And for the sake of trying to save my dignity, I refused to seek the proper help for treatment out of fear that dealing with this monster would cost me my friends, my career, my family and my livelihood.

For the last four years, this has controlled me. I have spent sleepless nights, ran away from circles of support, and cried uncontrollably believing there was never any hope. I have written resignation letters, threatened to leave the people who love me the most, and said and done harmful emotional things to the people who I need the most.

I have news for you. If you are battling depression, it WILL cost you everything if you do not seek help. And the church, the business community and our families are at a critical place in dealing with emotional instability and mental illness that ignoring it or creating a stigma to attach to it is doing more damage than it is good.

It's time that we take a stand. I want to give you some practical steps today that are saving my life, in the hope that you will have the courage to face your battle and include the people around you in the story of victory and overcoming.

Tell me what I need to hear. Tell me that I'm not forgotten. Show me that you're the God that can be more than I've ever wanted. Cause right now I need a little hope, I need to know I'm not alone. Maybe God is calling you tonight to tell me something that might save my life.

Sunday evening and Monday morning, I admitted to my family, my close friends and my church staff that I needed to continue to seek help. I refuse to resign. I refuse to give up. I refuse to be labeled, forgotten, excluded or excommunicated because I am willing to stand up and take control of what has possessed me.

You may feel that battling depression is a medical problem, and you would have every legitimate reason to do so. There are medications and doctors which can be of great assistance, and I encourage those who are professionals in the medical and psychological field to make the proper diagnosis and determinations for you. I also believe as a pastor there is a spiritual component to this grip of sickness. Whether or not you consider depression to be a demonic stronghold, let me re-emphasize that Satan, the enemy of God, works in the painful platform of the flesh against all of God's people. And his biggest enemy against you is sickness and death. Depression is so staggering and severe that it both is a sickness and results in powerful physical side effects which can damage your health for many years to come. Worst of all, depression is a leading factor among suicide rates in teenagers and adults.

I refuse to be a statistic and to let you believe that is your only option.

Thank you for reading thus far. Here comes what I believe to be the most practical advice for anyone facing this harsh reality or a circumstance like the one I have just written about.

1. I am not weak. I am strong.

The haunting words stick with me. "I cannot follow a weak pastor." To the person who spoke them, I know your name and I forgive you. But you empowered me. I am not weak. I am strong. I am stronger than I have ever been in my entire life. Today, I choose to win, and I am not going to hide behind a cloak or a veil believing that I cannot be who God has called me to be.

You see, at our church we say "we love broken people, we are just not satisfied they stay that way." I am not satisfied with being mentally and physically broken and I have made a decision to seek help, three-fold: medically, professionally and socially. I am going to attack this bandaid-lacking disease with force, and I refuse to be labeled weak.

I have been insecure. I have told others I do not believe in myself. I have sat in front of a mirror and believed that every person in the world was better than me. No more. I am a child of the most-high king, and I was fearfully and wonderfully made. If you need a stronger person to follow, then it is perfectly ok if I don't exhibit the leadership you are looking for.

But in a church and a family full of brokenness, I am making a decision today that depression does not win. My countenance, my talk, my spirit, my life is changing. I will be boldly authentic and I will cry on a shoulder as much as I will be the shoulders for others who are battling the same.

You MUST face this and the very first step is slapping the lie of the devil in the face that admitting your battle with depression makes you weak. Contrary, I am strong. I am standing up today and telling you with the help of my God, my family, my church and my friends, no weapon formed against me will prosper. I'm going to win.

2. I am not alone. I have a team.

If you're going to face your giants, you will find out who your friends are. And when you do, they will be your friends for all time. But more than the supporting cast, you must remember that there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother, and God has promised that He will NEVER leave you, and NEVER forsake you.

I have a team. These are my teammates.

I have an amazing wife. Jen Freeman is the most incredible woman on the planet. God sent her to me, and she has endured the worst end of this battle to the point of utter exhaustion. But she is my rock and my fortress, sent to me by God to be my helpmate, my strength, my everything. She completes every single weakness in me and she is my all. My journey started with a heartfelt confessional of every single struggle and reality with my spouse and she loved me unconditionally. I am going to win because she is a winner. I love her more than anything other than my God.

I have two amazing children. Don't think my kids don't know this struggle. They have an exact pinpoint knowledge of their daddy at his best and his worst. I have a wonderfully smart and intellectual young lady who kisses me on the cheek every morning and every night and never gives up on me even in my worst days. I have a fun-filled, charismatic young man who can light the room on fire with his charm and then bless your socks off with his gentle mercy. They are my anchors on this team, and their daddy is going to win because of it.

I have a church staff that is out of this world. Instead of resigning a position, running from my problems or hiding from the truth, I entrusted my deepest struggles into the people I work with closely and they loved me, supported me and stood by me. I am a winner because God surrounded our church with a team of servants whose heart is bigger than their body. I am a winner because I learned to trust in them.

I have friends that I trust who know me at my best and my worst. Pardon my expression but they call me out on my worst days, and they let me wear the super cape on my best. They laugh at me, with me and for me, and a few times they yell and scream at me to get my stuff together. But they don't abandon me, and they see me just as the men who held up the arms of Moses when he got weary. They are willing to love my family and support my journey, and love me enough to tell me that it was time to seek help. I am a winner because of my friends. They are my shield, and through Christ, many times my social salvation.

I have mentors and doctors and professionals who understand this journey and want to see me succeed. Thank God someone didn't just throw a pill at me and expect me to get better. Instead, I have real people with genuine accountability who will open their time and availability to ensure that I reach the end of this journey and cross the finish line. I am a winner and a success story because of them.

I have God. I think that one is self-explanatory.

You must rely on your team. You are not alone, you are not alone. He will go before you, He will never leave you. And you need to find some people who won't either.

And if you're not in this battle for the long haul or for the best of my family, I must tell you that my journey with you may need a change in course. But that's OK. This battle isn't for everyone, but thank God some people are willing to stay.

3. I am not going back. I am moving forward.

You've heard that the past is in the past. That's good, except for the person battling depression. Because for many of us, the past IS the present and the future. Our ritualistic reach into where we have been daily alters where we are going. I have made a decision that I am not going back, but I have to address some things first, and you may need to do the same.

  • I have destroyed relationships, and I am sorry. My attitude and my negativity have damaged my networks, my friendships and left me stranded alone among the company of what should have been allies. I am not going to be the grumpy guy in the room that no one wants to associate with any longer, and nor am I going to be the person that believes it is my task to point out the error of others ways and live in constant criticism. Those days are over. Depression will not hold my attitude and take that away from me any more. If you hear negative words from me, call me out. Put me on the firing line. Remind me that I left that person behind and he doesn't control me any more. In the words of Jesus, I am casting that legion out of me in Jesus name.
  • I have damaged family, and I am sorry. I cannot tell you how many holidays, gatherings, conversations and relationships that my struggles have hurt. I am not going there any more. You can either give me a chance to change or hang onto it, but I am going to enjoy the things that matter most in life and it's time to set that stuff aside and move forward.
  • I am not who I used to be. Time will prove it. The Kris that has hidden behind a mask for the last five years is coming out, and he is awesome. Try him on for size, because you'll like him so much better. I am not going to be controlled by shackles of my former self anymore. Let's break these chains.
  • I am not scared. This is the most important thing I will write. You may think that the person battling depression is too fearful to confront it. That is often true. I have crossed a bridge. I will not shut up about this, and I am not going to stand idly by and watch another friend, colleague, church member, family member or even total stranger give up on their life for fear that they will be stigmatized by a brokenness that does not wear a cast or have a bandage. I am willing to stand up and fight and say the church MUST face mental illness. The church MUST face emotional instability. The church MUST face hard issues. I am not scared to say that I am going to beat this, and you can too.
  • I am not living in a bubble. Depression isn't a contagious disease but it is a pervasive and destructive physical and spiritual force. I refuse to believe that I have nothing to contribute because I may not be perfect. In fact, it is just the opposite. I will succeed because I am encountering my demons and standing against them in Jesus name.
4. I am not going to win every battle, but I am going to be victorious.

The Bible says that yet in all these things, I am a conqueror. What that determines for me is that you must encounter great hardship before knowing the truest sense of victory. 

There will be hard days, and mistakes along the way. There will be sinful reactions and great temptation to overcome. There will be destructive thoughts planted by the enemy of God and moments where the light does not seem possible at the end of the tunnel.

But I will put my feet on the floor, I will succeed. I will step forward.

And for you, these next words MUST become a part of your life.

  1. I will not value my life less than God does.
  2. I will not speak defeat against myself.
  3. I will not leave those who love me.
  4. I will not run when I am in fear.
  5. I will not EVER speak words of self-destruction and suicide and if I do, I give full permission to the people around me to act accordingly and take them seriously.
  6. I will not give up.
  7. I will not quit.
  8. I will not stop fighting.
I WILL wake up tomorrow. I will smile. I will live.

Today, I became stronger.

Now get on my shoulders. I need a few more teammates. Let's do this.

Depression, we're coming for you. So look out.

Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. - Isaiah 41:10 NLT

I love you, and these are my thoughts.

Pastor K

Song lyrics to "Save My Life" are copyright Sidewalk Prophets, 2015