Depression – Be On Guard

Are you depressed?  Pretty straightforward question isn’t it?  According to, 9.5% of everyone who reads this post is suffering from depression.  What is alarming is that now 4% of PRE-SCHOOLERS are clinically depressed and make up the fastest growing market of antidepressants.  This is a national epidemic.

I have been thinking a lot about depression in the context of leadership recently.  Because of the way leaders are wired, we can be ambushed by this problem.  

Here are six random thoughts I have on the subject:

  1. Aside from the chemical make-ups of their bodies, leaders give and give and give, and invest and invest and invest, and serve and serve and serve, and one day (maybe for you it is today), they wake up and have absolutely nothing left in their relational, mental, emotional, or spiritual tanks.
  2. Leadership is tied to accomplishment.  Leaders do not like wasted activity.  When unmet expections take place or the sense of accomplishment is no longer there to satisfy, depression can set in.  Alexander the Great wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.
  3. Responsibility.  There are a lot of people who depend on leaders.  Good leaders, servant leaders, carry the weight of all the families they represent.
  4. It happens to the best of leaders at the most unexpected times.  I think of Elijah in I Kings 19 when shortly after a great spiritual victory, he literally asked God to take his life.  Ever been there?
  5. As a whole leaders do not know how to properly rest.  How many late nights and early mornings have you experienced?  How many sleepless nights have you had?  The better question might be when is the last time you slept 8 hours uninterrupted in back-to-back nights?  Here’s another one – when would your spouse (not you) say is the last time you took a legitimate vacation?  Ouch, that hurts!
  6. Leaders are not allowed to be depressed.  Leaders have to inspire, motivate, and point their teams to a brighter tomorrow.  Leaders set the example.  What happens then when depression besets the leader?

Leaders, we have to be on guard.  What we bring to our organizations is too important to be hijacked.  Here are some final thoughts:

  1. Spend less time on time management and more time on energy management.  Rick Warren says “We all have the same amount of time but we don’t have the same amount of energy.”  I agree.
  2. Understand what defines you.  I am not defined by my accomplishments.  I want to be fruitful, productive, and live a life that impacts as many people as possible.  At the end of the day, however, I am defined by the fact Jesus Christ loves me and died for me.  And it is in Him that I am valuable.
  3. God is my first priority.  My wife and daughter are my second priority.  As I get older, whether they respect me or not has risen to the top of the list of the most important things to me.  Do they see me as a man of integrity?  Can they count on me?  Do I give them direction and security?

Leaders, let me know if this is helping you.  These are largely unfiltered thoughts I have on an issue that is affecting us all.  Tell us how you deal with this?

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About Brian Dodd on Leadership

I am a church stewardship and leadership consultant for INJOY Stewardship Solutions. This blog combines my personal passions of church, sports, pop culture and family into a single leadership resource. I trust your time on this site will create conversations and add value to your life.

21 Responses to “Depression – Be On Guard”

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    • John,

      Thank you for the kind words! They are very encouraging. Feel free to use my post and I hope it adds value to your readers. If you could state it’s from my site and give a link, that would be great. Thanks again and I look forward to future exchanges.


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  11. Ima_Planter Depression &/or exhaustion is a season many church planters experience. Thanks @briankdodd for raising the “d” word!


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