My Valley of Shadow | Blog | Mount Carmel Christian Church

My Valley of Shadow

May 16, 2019 | Didi Bacon

Psalm 42 provides a road map through depression. The central message of Psalm 42 is that God walks us through the dark valley of depression. The fuel of depression is isolation. The antidote of isolation is fellowship. Fellowship is sharing life with another. Another who is trustworthy. Another who will listen to us, hear us, be with us.

Karl Menninger said - “Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.”

The most trustworthy, the most competent, the most loving, the most compassionate other we can connect with is God. Throughout this Psalm, there is a call to connect with God. There is a call to have God close. The good news is that God is close. We can believe His promises. Connecting with God, it reframes our perspective. It breathes in the light of hope that shows us the way through the dark times.

God is also the gracious provider of others who listen to us. Friends, family, a community of faith. I believe Godly counselors are folks called to the ministry of connection that reframes perspectives in times of depression. I have experienced this myself going through a significantly rough time in 2006. I spent six months meeting with a Christian Professional Counselor. It helped me out of my valley of shadow. We were not created to carry our burdens alone. We were made to be able to say without hesitation, “It is well with my soul. I have no secrets.” A recent study has found that the average person is holding onto 13 secrets, five of which they’ve never told a living soul. And it’s not the secret itself that will haunt you—it’s all the mental energy you spend thinking about it. New research shows that some people actually feel physically heavier when they’re burdened with a secret, and that extra “weight” can skew how you navigate your surroundings. When participants were asked to judge the slope of a hill or the length of a distance, those who were preoccupied with keeping secrets judged the hills as steeper and the distances longer than they really were. Michael Slepian, a professor at the Columbia Business School told The Atlantic, “We found that when people were thinking about their secrets, they actually acted as if they were burdened by physical weight.”

Seek out with courage trusted others with whom you can connect, it will reframe your perspective. The change of perspective will bring you through your depression. That is the process of growth. That is why I think we go through the valley of the shadow of death sometimes. To change and to grow. It brings us to the point where we seek community. We begin to be more purposeful about things that fill our tanks and rest in the freedom of accepting our limitations.