I’ve been studying spiritual depression lately, seeking to understand it better for mine and Chad’s individual struggles with discouragement and for many of my friends who battle this unwelcome companion. In his insightful book, Depression: Looking Up from the Stubborn Darkness, psychologist and biblical counselor Ed Welch describes one manifestation of depression:
“Everything turns inward in depression. A beautiful flower momentarily catches your attention, but within seconds the focus bends back into your own misery. You see loved ones who are celebrating a recent blessing, but before you can synchronize your feelings with theirs, you have doubled back to your own personal emptiness. Like a boomerang that always returns, no matter how hard you try, you can’t get away from yourself.” 
This is not merely a symptom of a depressed person; this is the prognosis of mankind in a fallen, selfish world: We are stuck in a burdensome game of boomerang – it always comes back to “me.”
I’ve seen this time and time again in my own life. While single, a friend would enter a relationship, but I couldn’t rejoice with her because I was too painfully aware of my loneliness – the boomerang came back to me. I recently went to a friend’s new house, and instead of appreciating God’s provision for her, I pouted that Chad and I will be apartment renters for the time being – the boomerang came back to me. Chad recently had a difficult situation to work through, and one night as he grappled with it, instead of listening and caring, I made it about me and how I felt hurt – the boomerang came back to me. I failed to see that this boomerang isolated me from relationship with people around me and even with the Lord, who I indirectly held in contempt for what He willed (or had not willed) for me. That is what boomerang is after all – a game for one, no others needed. No wonder we are a discouraged and discontent people. So how do we get out of this burdensome game of boomerang? We play Frisbee.
James 5:16 says: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” Confession brings sin to light, no longer letting it fester in darkness. When aware and tired of our boomerang game, we find a godly Frisbee partner – your spouse, a parent, a mentor, a friend. The beauty of this figurative Frisbee game is we hurl our ugly mess at our partner, they receive it, turn the perspective, and send it back– the boomerang now becomes a Frisbee, bringing back fresh perspective and truth. This is the beauty of the body of Christ – we can come alongside each other, reminding one another of the Truth of God’s Word, realigning our eyes outward and upward, instead of inward. And many of us have the privilege of being a Frisbee partner already. Parents, Spouses, Friends – we have the high and noble calling of playing Frisbee with another person – our children, our husbands, our close friends – don’t manipulate the vulnerability involved in confession and don’t misuse or misinterpret the truth you send back to them.
Not only should we confess to a Frisbee partner, but Hebrews 4:16 encourages us to “approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” We can approach confidently because of the work of Christ, who though tempted with the game of boomerang, willingly steps into our sinful game of one and invites us to play Frisbee with him – a game only possible because of what He endured for us on the cross. For all the lies we are tempted to believe about ourselves, this world, our God, He hurls back the truth found in His Word; truths like: “I will never leave you, nor forsake you (Deut. 31:16);” “In this world you will have trouble, but fear not , for I have overcome the world (John 16:33);” or “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin (Ex.34:6-7).” What better partner to pass truth back to us than the source of all truth: Himself.
This game of boomerang we naturally and regularly play is a tiresome, burdensome game. But freedom is offered to us in the humble confession of Frisbee. May we receive and pass back truth, grounded in the one, absolute Truth.
[1.] Edward T. Welch, Depression: Looking Up from the Stubborn Darkness (Greensboro: New Growth Press, 2011), 42.