How to Navigate Depression as a Pastor : Diana Gruver

How to Navigate Depression as a Pastor Diana Gruver

Pastors are people, too, and can struggle with doubt and depression. In this week’s conversation on FrontStage BackStage, host Jason Daye has a wonderful conversation with Diana Gruver, author of Companions in the Darkness, as they look at encouragement for pastors who are wrestling with depression, and creating safe spaces, so we can effectively minister to others who are struggling as well. Looking to dig more deeply into this topic and conversation? Every week we go the extra mile and create a free toolkit so you and your ministry team can dive deeper into the topic that is discussed. Find your Weekly Toolkit below… Love well, Live well, Lead well!

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Companions in the Darkness by Diana Gruver – Diana looks back into church history and finds depression in the lives of some of our most beloved saints, including Martin Luther, Charles Spurgeon, Mother Teresa, and Martin Luther King Jr. Without trying to diagnose these figures from a distance, Diana tells their stories in fresh ways, taking from each a particular lesson that can encourage or guide those who suffer today. – Diana’s website and blog

Connect with Diana Gruver on Twitter | Facebook

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Key Insights and Concepts

  • Depression is not a reflection of someone’s spiritual life. Being depressed does not mean that we don’t have enough faith, or that we’re not taking spiritual discipline seriously enough.
  • Spiritual cliches such as if you just try harder, if you just have more faith, if you just pray more, you could get over these feelings, are some of the most unhelpful things for people who are struggling with depression
  • The psalms of lament that we find in Scripture are a blessing to us all in better understanding doubt and depression. God did not shy away from including these deep, dark experiences in His Word.
  • Just as we can experience a sense of distance from people during episodes of depression, we can also sometimes experience a sense of distance from God
  • Even the deepest of our darkness that we experience is not dark to God, He is there. He has promised to be there with us.
  • Whether we just find ourselves in a dry spell in our walk with Jesus or we are experiencing depression, the question we can ask is: Lord, what does it look like to follow you faithfully here? What is the next little step I can take to faithfully follow you now?
  • We can find encouragement in knowing that other faithful Christ-followers have struggled with doubt and depression
  • God is still working in the midst of our struggles and He can use us even in our weakness
  • God does not expect us to struggle through depression or other difficult challenges alone. We need to surround ourselves with companions who can help us in our journey, including medical professionals, as needed.
  • There are some good conversations happening within the Church around mental illness, however there are opportunities to continue to grow in our understanding. Pastors and ministry leaders can help overcome many of the stigmas associated with mental illness.
  • Our churches need to work at developing a culture where people feel comfortable showing up with their pains and their struggles
  • If you are a pastor struggling with depression, know you are not alone. You are not alone, because God is with you. You are not alone from a historical perspective, because other Christ-followers have also struggled throughout the history of the Church.  You are not alone presently, because there are brothers and sisters who are struggling now, as well.
  • Depression does not disqualify you from ministry, but you need to address it like you would any other health issue. Assess how you are feeling and take the time needed to tend to your health.

Questions for Reflection

  • As a ministry leader, do you struggle with doubt? Depression?
  • Do you tend to just push through and cram all of your struggles down internally?
  • In Scripture, where do we find stories or passages related to lament or mental anguish?
  • Are you confident that God is with you, no matter what you face?
  • Have you ever experienced dry spells in your walk with Jesus? If so, what do you remember about them?
  • Take a moment to truly reflect on how you are feeling right now. What is the next step you can take, no matter how small, to faithfully follow Jesus?
  • Describe a time that God showed up in your weakness. What happened? What did you learn about God? About yourself?
  • If you wrestle with depression, who is in your network of support? Have you sought professional medical assistance? If not, why not? Commit to seeking the help you need.
  • As you consider the current culture of your local church, is it a safe place for people to come who are struggling? Do people who have pain and hurt feel judged or supported?
  • What steps do you need to take at your local church to create a safe culture for those who are struggling? How and when will you take these steps?
  • What are some of the common spiritual cliches that are unhelpful for people who struggle with mental illness? Are you or your church guilty of sharing the cliches and perpetuating the stigmas associated with mental health issues? If so, what can you do to change this?
  • If you are suffering from depression or other mental illness, are you approaching things as if it were any other health related issue, like cancer, for example? Who are you talking with to ensure you are taking healthy steps? How are you treating your illness? How does this impact what you can or cannot do in ministry at this time?

Full-Text Transcript

Pastors are people too, and can struggle with doubt and depression.

Jason Daye
On today’s episode, I have an amazing conversation with Diana Gruver, author of Companions in the Darkness, as we look at encouragement for pastors who are wrestling with depression, as well as creating safe spaces, so we can effectively minister to others who are struggling as well. Are you ready? Let’s go.

Jason Daye
Hello, friends and welcome to FrontStage BackStage. I’m your host, Jason Daye super excited for today’s conversation. Every single week. We are here to help equip and encourage pastors just like you to embrace healthy, well balanced leadership, both in life and in ministry. We’re proud to be a part of the pastor serve network. And every single week, our team creates a downloadable toolkit for you and your ministry team to dig more deeply into today’s conversation. You can find that at Very excited. As I mentioned before our conversation today, I have the opportunity to be joined by Diana Gruver, who is the author of Companions in the Darkness, and we’re going to have a great discussion today. And so at this time, I’d like to just welcome Diana to the show. So Diana, welcome to FrontStage BackStage.

Diana Gruver
Hi, Jason. It’s really good to be with you.

Jason Daye
Yeah, so good to have you with us today. Now, as I mentioned, you did write this book Companions in the Darkness. And you spent several years really researching prominent leaders throughout church history, who have wrestled with symptoms and experiences that we would refer to today as depression. So my first question for you, Diana, is what prompted you to pursue this particular project.

Diana Gruver
It started really personally for me, I have struggled with depression. And when those when that first started for me, I didn’t know these stories, I was in college, and I wrestled with, with all that came with depression, not only the symptoms that come with it, but some of the guilt that a lot of us experience in the Christian community. And it wasn’t until years later when I was in seminary, and I started to notice some of these stories popping up in some of my church history classes. And I realized some of these heroes that we’re still talking about struggled much like I had. And so I started off a little bit just for my own knowledge of, of wanting to learn from them and dig deeper, and then realize that there was this, this wealth of the stories and wisdom and the camaraderie of some of these people who’ve gone before us in this struggle like depression that others could learn from as well. And so eventually, that turned into this book.

Jason Daye
Excellent. I love it whenever, you know, our explorations come from our own personal experiences, right? Because that gives, I think, a level of passion and compassion, that, you know, wouldn’t necessarily be there if we weren’t personally experiencing this ourselves. So let’s, let’s talk a little bit about depression, with the caveat that neither you or I are, you know, we’re not medical professionals. We’re not therapists. But when we talk about depression today, what does that look like?

Diana Gruver
Yeah, so as some people, if they’ve never experienced depression, for themselves think that it’s just, you know, exaggerated sadness, right? You’re really, really sad. And that’s how we use it kind of colloquially, right? But depression is a lot more than that. It comes with the sadness. But it also comes with a loss of interest in things that maybe you once enjoyed. And then there’s clusters of physical symptoms as well. So you might be sleeping more or less eating more or less. Some people have physiological symptoms like aches or and pains or headaches or digestive problems. There’s this sense of worthlessness, this exhaustion, right, I just, I can’t do anything, I can’t get out of bed, sometimes irritability, so it’s a lot fuller of an experience than just that sadness piece, right. And then in my own experience, and that of everyone in my book, and everyone that I’ve ever talked to, who is a person of faith who has struggled with depression, there’s kind of a component with it in our spiritual lives as well, of kind of a sense of distance from God or, or this, this dryness that comes in that something we’ve not experienced before. And I’ve become convinced that that’s just part of another one of the symptoms that we experience in the midst of depression. It’s just the way that it affects us.

Jason Daye
Yeah, no, that’s really helpful and throughout history, attitudes toward depression have shifted, right at times. It was really recognized as an illness of the body, you know, a physical illness, but other times is thought to be an illness of the soul. Instant, you kind of touch on that just a little bit about how our faith relates to that. But help us kind of better, better understand, maybe why you think the the feelings or the attitudes toward depression have shifted. It’s kind of cyclical, you know, anything that should go back and forth, back and forth throughout history. Why do you think that’s so?

Diana Gruver
Yeah, I think a lot of it has come with our understanding of the way that our bodies work and the way that illness works generally. So for the longest time, we were operating with the theory of the four humors, right, so our bodies, our bodily ailments, are a reflection of one of these four elements being out of balance. And so something like mental illness was seen to be an imbalance in our body, they would have attributed it to something different than brain chemistry, like we talked about today. But but they approached it in a in a similar fashion. But depending on our understanding of the body of illness, and then even some of our interpretations of Scripture, some sometimes in various segments of church history. People have read stories like that of Judas, taking his life after after betraying Jesus and said, Oh, well, suicide is clearly a result of a rejection of Christ. So there’s been some unhelpful interpretations of Scripture along the way, as well that have spiritualize some of the justification to, but you’re right, it is cyclical. And that was surprising to me, I, you know, we kind of have this idea that in the modern era, we have a particular, you know, maybe sophisticated way of viewing certain things. But all along, it’s just been a steady cycle of, is that your body? Is it your soul? Or even sometimes, is that actually a gift of genius, depression being seen as the mark of genius, or the mark of the artist? And so we’ve kind of danced between these three poles for for millennia. And the people who have struggled have just been kind of caught in the middle of that web.

Jason Daye
Yeah, it’s fascinating to think how, because like you said, oftentimes, we assume that we’re just always progressing, right. So it’s always building upon, you know, what we’ve learned in the past. But this, you know, continuous cycle of, and people have been caught in that cycle throughout history, as they struggle with depression in their own lives. Now, one of the things Diana, you know, that you that you touched on there, I like to dig in just a bit more deeper, is this idea of our faith, how our faith is related to depression. And because there’s been a lot of, you know, thoughts, misunderstandings, oftentimes about how our faith relates to depression. So talk to us a little bit about that relationship.

Diana Gruver
Yeah, so I think I’d just like to start by very clearly expressing I don’t think depression is a reflection on someone’s spiritual life, right? It affects our spiritual life. But being depressed does not mean that we don’t have enough faith. We’re not taking spiritual discipline seriously enough, or any of these types of things. And I think that’s one of the most unhelpful things that comes up, is whenever someone struggles in this way, or they feel in the midst of depression, that sense of God’s absence, or it’s harder to pray, sometimes you get these cliches that just feed the stigma that if you just try harder, if you just have more faith, if you just prayed more, you could wiggle your way out of where you are. And I just don’t I don’t think that’s the case. I am grateful that we have in Scripture, things that, that allow us to shake away a little bit of that guilt, right, we have this treasure in the psalms of these laments. Right, and we’re the psalmist depress, I don’t know, but it sounds so like the spiritual experience of what I’ve walked for. Walk through that, that it really relates, I think of Psalm 88, for example, where he’s just saying, you know, the end of it is all that my only companion that I have left is darkness. And so to have the treasure to have these words, have these prayers have these aches Express for us in Scripture is a gift to us in the midst of depression, having a story like the prophet Elijah, who says, even after a great victory, Lord, I just want to die. Right? And that God meets him not with a lecture, but with food at a nap. That is a gift to us. Yes. But it is true that it touches our spiritual life, right, just like we experience distance from people that we can physically touch physically here in the midst of depression, that we have the same experience with the Lord, right, some of these things that that we once experienced a certain way feel different. And that can be really challenging to navigate.

Jason Daye
Well, let me say we tend to have desert experiences sometimes in our walk with God, right. But that is part of our growth, part of our development, right. But as you said, sometimes whenever someone is wrestling with mental illness, depression, these types of things, that chasm can be pronounced, or it can can seem. And yet, there’s this assurance that we want to provide for people that that doesn’t mean you you are alone, that’s the beauty of God is its presence in our life, you know, it’s one of the great gifts. So talk to us a little bit about those those desert times. And and how that relates both to maybe those who aren’t, you know, experiencing depression, but then also encouragement for those who are.

Diana Gruver
Yeah. So one of the anchoring points I have found for myself is in Psalm 139. Right, he talks about how, if I go up to the highest of heights, floors, you were there, and if I make my bed in the depths, you were there. And if I say surely the darkness will hide me, the night will shine like the day for dark is as light to you. And when you’re stuck in something like depression in the dark, isolated, it can be easy to think, Can God find me here? Can I go so deep into this, that he cannot find me. And you’re right, that assurance of his presence that even even the deepest of our darkness that we experience is not dark to him, he is there. He has promised to be there with us as His children. And so no matter how dry we feel, how depressed we feel, you know, we can we can mourn that sense of God’s absence, we can mourn where we are. But that does not dictate any sort of reality of whether God is or isn’t present with us because He has promised to be present with us. So finding anchoring points like that, I think can be really, really helpful. But I think the question becomes, what does it look like to follow Jesus there? Right? If it’s not actually a reflection on our spiritual life, but it’s still an opportunity to follow Jesus, like every other aspect of our life is the question just becomes Okay, Lord, what does it look like to follow you faithfully here? What do those little baby steps look like for me to follow you whether it is just one of those dry spells a wilderness season or whether it is something like depression? In either situation? It’s okay, what’s this next little baby step of faithfulness, if you’re depressed, and you’re severely depressed, it might be getting out of bed and having a shower. That might be the starting point for you right now. It might be making a phone call to a friend or to your doctor to take some steps to try to begin that journey to becoming well. But I think that’s where we need to start. What’s the baby step? What’s the next tiny little step that’s right here at my fingertips right here at my feet, to pursue to pursue the Lord to follow Him faithfully, Mother Teresa, I talked about her in my book, and she was one that was well acquainted with that dry, dark, spiritual season. And she said, You know, I’m thankful that I’ve been told to follow Christ. Because when when the storm gets gets really out of the ordinary, when the dark gets really dark, all I have to do is stop and be still like a little child, and wait for it to pass. All I’m doing is following Jesus. And so I think there are ways there, again, baby steps, but there are ways to just to sit in that quietness and say, Okay, Lord, what is faithfulness here? And take that next step?

Jason Daye
Yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s excellent. I love that, Diana, and you mentioned Mother Teresa, talk to us a little bit worse than the other key figures from church history that you came across in your research as you’re exploring this, that this idea that who, who also struggled with with doubt with depression,

Diana Gruver
So Martin Luther is the earliest one. He is of course, the German Protestant reformer. Hannah Allen was one that I stumbled upon pretty much by happenstance, really, she’s a bit more obscure, but she is an everyday Christian. She was a wife and a mother and struggled deeply. Charles Spurgeon is the 19th century English preacher. David Brainerd was a missionary to Native Americans in the United States, and good friends with Jonathan Edwards. And Martin Luther King Jr. who, I’m sure is familiar to everyone as well, a civil rights leader. And yeah, that’s the that’s the crew, there seven of them. And William Cooper? I almost forgot him, the hymn writer and good friends with John Newton. And you know, their stories are a gift to me because, I mean, some of them are more well known than others. But most of them, their stories are still being told we’re still being able to benefit from their wisdom benefit from their work benefit from their ministry. And so to see them and say they struggled like this. And not only does that unravel the stigma of maybe I’m doing something wrong, maybe I’m a bad Christian, it also promises I think, in the midst of that struggle, God is still here, God is still working, he will use me, he can use me, he is using me, all I need to do is just keep trusting that he can work even in the midst of my weakness.

Jason Daye
Yeah, that’s so important. I think it’s such an encouragement to us to know, it’s kind of the idea of you know, we’re not alone in this. Not only is Christ present in the midst of it, but there’s a company of others, you know, faithful people who love Jesus and devoted their lives to Him and to the kingdom, who are on similar journeys, in some ways. Diana, as you’re researching these, these different ministers, church leaders, these, you know, devoted followers of Jesus, what did you uncover from their stories that was most surprising to you?

Diana Gruver
I think the most surprising was how matter of fact most of them were about their struggles. And, you know, my experience has been one where there’s a lot of stigma that comes with mental illness, there’s a lot of guilt that comes with it. And so to shake that off, and be able to approach it in a matter of fact, way that says, This is a struggle that I have, this is not a poor reflection on me, this is not something I need to feel guilty about. I need to take the steps I need to be well, that was a process for me to come to accept. And so for someone, you know, people hundreds of years ago to just accept that as a d fact, was really surprising. Again, I think it’s that misconception of of the present day versus all times. But they didn’t have some of the same stigma that comes with mental illness today. And so they were able to have the freedom to say, Yeah, we find hope in in our walk with the Lord and hope of the gospel. But I’m also going to go to a doctor, and I’m also going to do whatever they recommend as far as treatments, and surround myself with some of the lifestyle things that will be helpful. And I didn’t expect that to be quite as present as it was.

Jason Daye
Yeah, I love that. I know, that’s so refreshing, actually, because we do live, I think, even more pronounced probably right now in our culture, although there’s been some, I think, very positive shifts, for sure. But we do live in a culture right now that you know, not to make social media, you know, the boogeyman of our time. But social media tends to be our highlight reels, right, and tends to be all the great things, the wonderful things going on in our lives. And so we tend to try to put forth a, you know, an image that we’ve got things together. And it’s very refreshing to hear that so many faithful Christ-followers in the past, were willing to say, you know what? I have struggles… my life is not all completely figured out. That’s why I need Jesus, right? So talk to us a little bit about, even pastors watching right now, ministry leaders who are watching right now, or who are listening in. You know, what can we learn, I guess, in that regard from those who have come before us.

Diana Gruver
I think surrounding ourselves with the people that can help us in that journey. None of these people would have worn their struggle with depression as a badge of honor. But they they knew, like you said this, this is a part of my reality. This is a part of why I’m thankful for the presence of Christ and the strength that he provides. But they knew that they couldn’t do it alone. And so none of the stories in this book could be told without the stories of the companions who walked with them, right? Their ministry partners, their spouses, their friends, you know, that this network of people who surrounded them and helped them and supported them in the midst of that. And I think that when, for so many people who are in a ministry setting or in a leadership setting, it feels like you have to walk it alone. You need to be the strong, invincible presence and everything is resting on your shoulders. And that is not true. I don’t think that’s the way that Jesus intended us to operate. Right. We’re intended to be a body. We’re intended to be a community, we need each other. And so looking at these stories, seeing how they operated, you need people around you, right? If you’re struggling, surround yourself with a network of people who can support you, that might be your spouse, it might be an elder team or a board or whatever your organization is like, who are those people that you can trust who can support you in the midst of that, in addition to the medical profession, professionals that you need, depending on your circumstance, but but we’re not, we’re not silos, right? We’re not superheroes. And none of these stories could be told without countless others who were behind the scenes faithfully there and helping to support these, these seven saints in the midst of their own struggles.

Jason Daye
I love that, I love that because it’s such a beautiful snapshot of, of what the church truly is, you know, that sense of community. And oftentimes, you know, as you said, we were, you know, I’ve shared we work with a lot of pastors and have for a very, very long time. And one of the greatest things is this idea of isolation. You know, this feeling that we’ve again, got to make it look like we’ve got everything together, because people are relying on us, they’re looking to us, and and we begin to isolate ourselves. And that just creates, you know, compounds, the difficulties and the struggles that we have when we begin to isolate ourselves. So talk to us a little bit, Diana, how do you think the attitudes toward mental illness, like depression, have changed in the Church? Especially, you know, over the last maybe couple of decades? How do we see things shifting right now?

Diana Gruver
I think on the whole, I’m encouraged by what I’m seeing, I think there are really good conversations happening, some wonderful books that are being written to try to raise awareness and unravel some of the stigma that comes with it. So I am encouraged by that. I think there are some some really lovely voices who are who are speaking out and trying to raise awareness and just give us a more holistic picture of, of how to approach mental health from a Christian perspective. But some of these other things are still pretty pervasive as far as the the stigma and and a lot of that you see on on social media, right? The the little the tweets that pop up that if you’re, if you’re looking at them from a mental health perspective, are pretty cringe-worthy. Right. And so I think there’s still some work that definitely needs to be done. I think, in my experience, a lot of it is is unaware, the the stigma-enforcing behavior in the church community. So we have these books that are written, we have seminars, we have conferences, those are all great. But working that into the little details of the cliches that we say, the way that we pray, what we say how we share, is there a safe space to share within a church community? I think the you know, the the thought leader state from the thought leader standpoint, we’re going in a good direction, but the trickle down of how that actually really seeps into our hearts and brains in the way that we instinctually respond to each other. I think that’s where we definitely still still have quite a bit to go.

Jason Daye
Yeah, no, that’s a great distinction. And so I’m going to put you on the spot a little bit, because as you’re saying that I’m thinking through “Yes, that is so very true.” So I’m just curious, do you have any thoughts on how we can help that trickle down effect? You know, what are some things we could do that might help us move even further along?

Diana Gruver
Yeah. So I think it’s wonderful talking to pastors and ministry leaders, because if we’re talking just from a how do we have that happen in the church? I think ministry leaders have a great ability to do that. And some of that is just, what are we giving people the freedom to talk about? Right? What kind of how are we praying about something like mental illness from the stage? How are we talking about it? We don’t have to have a whole sermon series on depression. But does it come up in a way that’s that’s natural, right? If you’re a pastor, and you see a therapist, can you just offhand, that doesn’t need to be a huge revelation. It could just be an offhanded comment that gives people who are sitting in the pews, the awareness, Oh, okay. I can see a therapist. My pastor sees a therapist, right? And so some of it is is just very tiny, little things, how do we talk about it? How do we pray about it? What’s our general attitude? Do we do we have resources available for people within our church that they know if I need help? This is where I go, right? As far as connections to local counselors, or that kind of thing. Could you do a mental health or state training with you and your staff? Those are sometimes free sometimes I mean, it’s it’s not overly expensive from a budgetary standpoint to get somebody in to do just a basic Mental Health First Aid training for you and your staff. That would be excellent that will help a lot with with that language. And and then how do we How does our church Should culture feel in general not just specifically about mental illness but about pain? Right? Do we have a culture where people feel like they need to show up to church with a smile plastered on acting like they have to have it all together? Or is it a space that people know that they can come struggling or hurting and not being met with cliches not being met with judgment, but just be surrounded by support? Right? Not everybody can help us. That’s something that every one of us needs to know. And especially those of us in ministry, not everyone can help. We don’t have to have an open book where we’re, you know, just spewing it all all the time. But as a whole, is this culture a safe place to come in struggle in pain? And if that is true, in general, with pain, which a lot of cases it’s not already, I think that that will also apply to something like mental health as well, because that is a painful experience. Right? Right. And so if we already have this culture that says it’s okay to struggle, then I think that that opens some doors as well.

Jason Daye
Yeah, man, that’s, that’s golden. I put you on the spot and you delivered! That is super helpful, as we’re kind of thinking through and reflecting on our own faith communities, our local church context, and, and really, what does that look like that idea of a safe place it no goes back to, you know, goes all the way back to Jesus, you know, the idea of the hospital, you know, where people could come feel safe, to share, have that freedom to find, you know, hope and encouragement, and as you even said, a big piece of that, the companionship that you saw reflected in these things that you looked at. That companionship to help us because we’re not designed to go the journey alone. And we say that and oftentimes people are like, yeah, because Jesus is supposed to be with us. But it was even more than that. Jesus said, I’m with you, but I’ve giving you the gift of community with others. So I think that’s hugely important. Diana, as we’re kind of winding down this conversation, which has been absolutely incredible, I’m so appreciative of our time together, but I’m thinking of those again, who are watching or listening right now who are in ministry, pastoring, ministry leadership, who might find themselves, you know, relating to Spurgeon or Mother Teresa, when it comes to, you know, doubt, depression, you know, darkness, those types of things that they’re experiencing. So Diana, any, you know, words of advice or encouragement, speaking directly to that pastor, who he or she is, is wrestling with depression, but at the same time, you know, trying to faithfully serve the kingdom? What would you share with them?

Diana Gruver
Yeah, first, I would say you’re not alone. I mean, you’re not alone from a historical standpoint. But there are so many people who are in ministry, you know, wonderful brothers and sisters who are really struggling right now. It has been a brutal couple years, right? For those of us in ministry. And so knowing that this is not unusual, you are not unique, this is not you, um, you know, you are not alone in the struggle, I think is a good starting point. The second thing I would say is get the help that you need, right? I think, especially for those of us once again, who are in a ministry leadership position, we try to push through and plow through and just shove it all down. And the more you cram that stuff down, the more explosive it’s going to be when you can’t contain it anymore. So get the help that you need. The professional help that you need the community help that you need to try to support you in that journey. Just depression or doubt or mental illness disqualify you from ministry? No, it does not. But I think we need to think about it like we would any other health problem, right? If you were a ministry leader, and you got diagnosed with cancer, what would you do? What how would you surround yourself with support? What kind of a network would you need? What would the warning signs be that maybe you needed to step back or get somebody to help you with some of your regular duties, maybe take a sabbatical? Thinking about it in a similar in a similar route, right? If you were in cancer, and you’re in the midst of really intense treatments, and your body was really weak, you probably wouldn’t be preaching every Sunday. Right? And that would be okay. Yeah. Right. And so if you are struggling with something like depression, and you get to a similar place, where physically and mentally, you know, I’m not able to do this, maybe for this set of weeks or this set of months, bring in that support, there is no shame in that. And so thinking through it in that sense, how would I do it with any other medical problem, any other health problem and kind of let that be your litmus test for guiding how you make some of those decisions? And that, yeah, that community, that support it, you need it. So get it, please.

Jason Daye
Excellent. I love that great, great advice, great encouragement. It’s so true. When you reflect on it that way. It’s kind of like yeah, why wouldn’t we take those steps? It just makes sense, right? So it’s just giving, I guess, almost the permission, the freedom and just the willingness to accept, you know that this is the reality of life, and this is how we can responsibly process through it. And we don’t have to fear that, which I think is a super key. Diana, this has been an absolutely incredible conversation. Honestly, I say that very sincerely. How can those who are watching along, our audience, if they want to connect with you, or learn more about your book or other ministry projects you’re involved in? How can they do that? What’s the best way?

Diana Gruver
So you can find me on Twitter at Diana Gruver, occasionally on Facebook at Diana, Gruver Writer, and then on my website, And you can find Companions in the Darkness anywhere that books are sold. It’s, you can find it on my publishers website, Intervarsity Press, or on Amazon, or any of your local bookstores.

Jason Daye
Awesome. Excellent. I encourage you guys to check out. It’s a great book, I had opportunity to read through it. And it’s very enlightening, very, very enlightening and very freeing and in many ways, and encouraging. So certainly appreciate you putting the time and energy into that and putting it out into the world and sharing it with us. So, friends, it has been a wonderful opportunity to be with you once again. And Diana, I just want to again, thank you for taking the time to be with us here on FrontStage BackStage.

Diana Gruver
Oh, it’s been a joy. Thanks so much, Jason, was good to talk to you.

Jason Daye
Yes, thank you so much. God bless you.

Diana Gruver
Same to you.

Jason Daye
Now, before you go, I want to remind you of an incredible free resource that our team puts together every single week to help you and your team dig more deeply and maximize the conversation that we just had. This is the weekly toolkit that we provide. And we understand that it’s one thing to listen or watch an episode, but it’s something entirely different to actually take what you’ve heard, what you’ve watched, what you’ve seen, and apply it to your life and to your ministry. You see, FrontStage BackStage is more than just a podcast or YouTube show about ministry leadership, we are a complete resource to help train you and your entire ministry team as you seek to grow and develop in life in ministry. Every single week, we provide a weekly toolkit which has all types of tools in it to help you do just that. Now you can find this at That’s And there you will find all of our shows all of our episodes and all of our weekly toolkits. Now inside the toolkit are several tools including video links and audio links for you to share with your team. There are resource links about different resources and tools that were mentioned in the conversation, several other tools, but the greatest thing is the ministry leaders growth guide. Our team pulls key insights and concepts from every conversation with our amazing guests. And then we also create engaging questions for you and your team to consider and process providing space for you to reflect on how that episode’s topic relates to your unique context, at your local church, in your ministry and in your life. Now you can use these questions in your regular staff meetings to guide your conversation as you invest in the growth of your ministry leaders. You can find the weekly toolkit at We encourage you to check out that free resource. Until next time, I’m Jason Daye encouraging you to love well, live well, and lead well. God bless.

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