Therefore, putting away lying, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another.”Ephesians 4:25, CSB
Have you ever seen that picture come across your social media that depicts a depressed person hiding behind a smile? You know the one; the person is holding up a picture of herself with a big, bright grin in front of her face, while she is turned away in obvious sadness. The image is meant to illustrate the deception that is so common among those who are depressed; we tend to believe that the only way we will be acceptable or even tolerable to those around us is if we are happy and perfect, no problems allowed. It’s a great lie, but one that starts in young childhood. Think of the automatic answer to the question, “How are you?”. Reactively, like a reflex, the answer is “fine,” even when that is absolutely untrue.
As a teenager, I loved the Michael W. Smith song “Picture Perfect,” because it resonated deeply with my own struggle against perfection. As a young woman in the age before ubiquitous internet and social media, I felt the pressure to be a certain way. The lyrics to this song gave form to my feelings. From a young age, I believed that a façade of beauty was important to have friends and success, and those things would lead to happiness. I believed I had to “fake it to make it.”
Thankfully, God didn’t allow me to believe that forever. I came to saving faith in Jesus when I was 14, and I remember feeling like I woke up, like dark glasses had been removed and I could see myself and my life more clearly. And most importantly, I could understand His Word in a very real way. It was after this that I learned the importance of being honest with the people God gave me: my parents and my sisters in Christ, specifically. When they asked my how I was doing, I needed to be able to answer honestly, because sometimes I wasn’t doing well. God provided these people as support, to help me correct automatic negative thoughts that weren’t aligned with the Truth of Scripture, to see myself as God made me, fearfully and wonderfully. Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44), and I had been stuck believing so many of them; finding the ability to be honest was the first step in breaking away from the sticky web of my old thinking.
How can you practice this honesty? Can you trust the Lord to use the people He’s given you to help you out of the darkness you’re in, if only you’ll be honest with them about how you’re really doing? Don’t hid behind your “picture perfect” self; let the people who love you see the truth, and begin to heal.
My prayer for you is that God would give you the courage to speak the truth to each other, even if it is unflattering, so that as the body of Christ we can all experience support and love and healing.
Smiling Depression, Amen Clinics https://www.amenclinics.com/blog/the-dangers-of-smiling-depression/