Dear Salvation Army – The Internal Battle & 3 Prescriptions!

robin3This past August when Robin Williams died, the world was shocked.  How could someone so funny come to such a sad and horrible ending?  We really do not understand the depths of such internal battles unless we ourselves have been there.

Just because we put on uniforms it doesn’t mean that we stop experiencing difficulties.

Just because we become a Christ-follower doesn’t mean that we stop struggling with internal battles.
Some people even genetically struggle with things like depression and I would like to talk about this today.  Before you stop reading and think to yourself “this doesn’t relate to me“, perhaps you’ll reconsider because we are all in this together and you just might be able to help someone else who DOES relate to this.

A Story About Depression:
One of my Uncles, who is an Officer in the Southern Territory USA,  shared with me a story about a local Presbyterian minister in his town.  It is a sad story.  The kind of story that causes shell shocked locals to question life and death and to reconsider their preconceived notions of depression.
Apparently, this local Presbyterian minister, who had been on sabbatical from his church, committed suicide.   He ended his life.  He allowed the darkness within him to quench the light of hope.  Let that sink in for a moment.  A minister, who was deeply depressed and struggling with this difficult internal battle, ended his life.  It doesn’t matter how he did it, but that he did it.  His church and surrounding community are currently and completely devastated.  Questions have been swirling and the idea that not just any person committed suicide, but a Pastor and leader of a church committed suicide has sent his church and community whirling in disbelief.

There’s A Lesson Here:
-Everyone is susceptible to these internal battles
It doesn’t matter if you’re a Presbyterian minister, a Catholic Priest or even a Salvation Army Officer or Soldier.  We still struggle in life sometimes.  We can still face things like depression.  Sometimes we’re very good at hiding it too.  Sometimes we’re so good that we even convince ourselves that nothing is wrong when something is very wrong within us.  We sometimes compartmentalize these struggles and convince ourselves that someone else is to blame or the situation at hand is to blame when the battle is truly internal.  Instead of beating ourselves up over feeling this way, we need to reach out for help.

The Misnomers Of Depression:
We can often look at these internal battles as weaknesses and something to be embarrassed about.  If you’re struggling right now or know someone who is, please don’t be embarrassed or make that person feel embarrassed.  Don’t think for a minute that you are less valuable because of the internal struggles you are facing.  Don’t think for a minute that no one will understand.  Don’t think for a minute that you are all alone in these dark days.  Don’t buy into the lie that you must be weaker than other because you are struggling.

Another misnomer with depression is the idea that if I deny it exists (that I’m depressed)  I will be fine.  Have you ever shaken up a carbonated soda and then opened up the top?  What happens?  The bottled up carbonated soda explodes from the container doesn’t it?  In the same way that bottle can’t hold the shaken contents, so too our bodies and minds aren’t equipped to hold everything in either.  We have to let these struggles and abscesses of the heart and soul out of us.  We can’t avoid them…they won’t simply go away.  We could do more harm to ourselves if we just let them fester within us without releasing them.

Here are three prescriptions, dear soldier, to help us conquer and win these internal battles  –

1) Seek Professional Help!
It is a sign of strength, not weakness to receive help from a counselor, pastor, or professional psychologist.  Get over the misconception that it is wrong to talk about your struggles.  Seeking out help is the first step to having victory over that internal battle!  Don’t be afraid to ask for help!  When we have someone else on board with us helping us find hope and joy again we can also find healing.

accountability12) Seek Accountability
This might go hand in hand with #1…but it goes further.  Do you have a friend in whom you can confide?  Are there trusted people in your life who can listen but also be honest with you?  Don’t seek out just anyone or even someone who agree with everything you say.  Find someone who will challenge you, be honest with you and will keep you accountable.  Seek out a fellow brother or sister in Christ who can pray with you and help shoulder your heavy burdens.  Accountability helps relieve some of these internal struggles.  Depression is worse when dealt with alone…remember that!

3) Find Rest And Activitiesrest1
We need our rest to replenish our physical and emotional reserves.  Officers and soldiers are ever in the fray of this mission field, but even soldiers and officers need hobbies and rest!  Make sure you find some “Me” time.  This isn’t selfish this is self-preservation.  What good will you be if you are spent and worn through and through?  Make sure you find things to do outside your mission field sometimes.  Get sufficient rest, take time to reconnect and rejuvenate.

These are just three crucial prescriptions.  There are more, but doing these three things will help in your journey to victory over your internal battles.  Don’t quit.  Don’t think for a moment that you are alone.  You are loved.  You are needed.  You are important!

If we are to be healthy Soldiers and Officers, we must first be honest with ourselves and be willing to do a little soul-care from time to time.  These internal battles won’t just go away if we just ignore them, we must confront them and in that confronting we can find healing and recovery!

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” -Proverbs 4:23

Something more for our Army world to ponder today!
To God Be The Glory…and remember, You are NOT alone!!

Breaking Bieber



In a court room before a judge the famous man stands in an orange prison jumpsuit.  Cameras flash and pop as the piranhas of the “entertainment” business catch their daily scoop which will be read and seen by millions across the world.  The man looks disheveled, unshaven and in his eyes appears to look like a cornered animal.  The judge asks him if he has anything to say and for a few moments it looks as if he might remain silent as this moment of great embarrassment seems to linger on for what seems like hours.  Finally he coughs and clears his throat and then admits his guilt, “please, don’t send me to jail, I’m an addict and I am so sorry… It’s like I’ve got a shotgun in my mouth, my finger on the trigger and I like the taste of gun metal.”  


These words weren’t spoken by Justin Bieber in his recent court appearance in Miami, nor were they the words of troubled actor turned director Shia Labeouf.


 These were the words of famous current A-lister Actor Robert Downey Jr in 1999 when we was sentenced to jail.    He could have easily died from his addiction like Actor Philip Seymor Hoffman did this past weekend (which is horribly sad in and of itself!). 



His life was in ruins and he knew it.  He was fighting to stay out of jail but worse he had demons of addiction attempting to break down the doors.  

Justin Bieber hasn’t risen yet to the raucous, embarrassing spectacle that was Charlie Sheen, but honestly, the never ending slew of one-liner jokes and national punch lines aren’t helping.  The 19 year old,  who is still two years away from being a legal adult (drinking age in the US) is seemingly the butt of every joke.  I cannot begin to imagine the stress that he is under night in and night out to perform at the level his fans around the world are used to seeing.  

Some might remember me slamming Miley Cyrus for her actions in recent months, and I am certainly not condoning or excusing  Bieber for his drunken drag racing incident recently or his near fist-a-cuffs with a reporter…these actions are inexcusable.  But what I am suggesting is that if people like Bieber are going to survive the next five years of their lives then the carrion culture who places such stars on pedestals and then lights the pedestal on fire needs to end.  I’ve slammed production companies and talent scouts who prey on young families of would be television stardom before, but I can’t stress it enough that the parents of out-of-control stars need to step up and set their child straight.  


The pressures must be immense at these levels, I can’t even begin to imagine…but we the public also have a role to play in this.  Sometimes I think we’re like circling vultures who are avidly watching a hurting/dying animal below.  We’re just waiting for the shine to wear off and for the dying animal to keel over.  We’re so blood thirsty at times for the next juicy tidbit of gossip all the while we have celebrity death pool picks online to guess which star is going to self-destruct next.  

Call me a naive fool, but I can’t help but think that our ever increasing fascination with stardom is killing people.  It’s easy to tell or listen to the next Justin Bieber joke (I’m guilty of this, I admit it)…he’s an easy target, but I can’t help but feel sorry for the guy too.  He’s become the next Michael Jackson of ridicule and idiocy.  

As a Christ-follower I see people like Bieber and many others and I see pain.  I see that despite all of the accolades and fame these are people who have lost or are losing their true identity to a world-wide marketing image of what they should be.  We can continue to rail against clothing designers (big fortune 500 names) who have forced or fired models because they want them thinner, but we forget that the same kind of image market drives teen stars and celebrities.  We forget that these are people too, not just objects of our hopes for the next big movie block buster or platinum album.  

I’m just sick of watching these actors and musicians self-destruct while we watch hungrily from our self-made Roman Coliseums also known as our living rooms.  If God made everyone of us in His image, this means he loves every single person on this planet.  He loves the super star and He loves the common person just the same.  Life is precious, and I’m tired of seeing it devalued day after day coupled with the plight of addictions and worldly pressures.  

I pray for people like Justin Bieber…seriously I do.  I pray for people like Miley Cyrus, and Lindsey Lohan, and Shia Labeouf…and so many more just like them.  I pray answers may be found for each of them.  That they never lose their true identities in the midst of public spectacles and courting fame. Most importantly I pray for Salvation and Restoration in their lives by the One living source of all Hope, Glory, Peace, Love and Healing – Jesus Christ Himself!

 I’m tired of reading about the latest teen sensation or child-turned-adult-actor who has committed suicide or died of a supposed overdose.  

Give em a brake, pray for them, and perhaps something amazing will take place because of it.  

-Just a thought.   


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