The greatest spiritual side-effect of depression, in my personal opinion, is a lack of connection to God. You can’t feel the Spirit. You can’t feel God’s love. You don’t feel guided or directed. You don’t know if he’s there. There’s this great echo when you pray, somehow expanded into the heavens yet ringing loudly inside yourself. There aren’t words to describe the utter nothingness of it. The complete void.
Which is why I’ve become passionate about looking for God in unexpected places and discovering unexpected ways the Spirit of God moves in and through me. I believe God is more likely to get creative in how He reaches me than He is to heal me so I can experience Him in a “usual” way. Here are five unexpected ways I feel the Spirit.
Sudden joy and warmth from a happy memory. The spirit can use memories of previously happy times to touch our hearts and make us smile. Try to keep reminders of the good moments around, whether it’s through photos, journaling, or giving thanks in prayer.
A feeling that beauty still exists. When I see a particularly exquisite sunset, the Spirit reminds me God has allowed beauty to exist in the world and I can partake of it freely. It’s important to try and carve time away from technology so we can be still in our surroundings.
Connecting with a loved one. The Spirit reaches me through others when someone I love reaches out our opens up to me. When two people connect, the Spirit is there. Just as the Book of Mormon teaches that we serve God when we serve others, we can take comfort in the idea that God serves us when others serve us.
The lightbulb moment of understanding. When the many puzzle pieces of my mind come together in any way, where something makes more sense or I see something in a new light, I remind myself that the Spirit is illuminating my mind.
Having the self-control to act. The Spirit gives us the power to use our agency in righteous ways. If I had the control to do a chore, serve someone else, or refrain from a bad habit, I am utilizing the Spirit in my life.
If you’re struggling to feel like you’re connecting with God, I’d invite you to throw all expectations out the window and look for the unexpected. It’s not been a lot, but it’s been enough for me. Read more about living as a depressed disciple of Jesus Christ here.
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.