Depression attacks millions of people a year. I believe it has become an accepted diagnosis.

The more we hear about depression and mental illness, the less shame and stigma it brings. One positive thing I see is that the shame and embarrassment of depression are being removed. When we remove shame, we are then free to talk about our problems and feelings and get the help we need to live in victory.

At the same time, however, I believe we shouldn’t get comfortable with and accepting of a diagnosis. While the diagnosis may bring comfort to some—finally knowing what is wrong with them—we shouldn’t let it define and identify us. After all, our identity is in Christ, not a diagnosis.

Jesus wants us to press through for our breakthrough. He took our pain, our emotional ailments, our physical infirmities and our afflictions to the cross. He took your heaviness, shame, guilt, depression and regret.

The challenge I believe we are facing as a society right now is discovering the balance between bringing depression and mental illness out of the darkness to the forefront of the platform in order to expose it and educate people. Those who suffer from it must not be passive with their diagnosis and identity.

I love what a preacher once said when speaking with a person who was divorced. The lady said, “I am a divorcee.” The pastor responded, “No, don’t identify yourself that way. You are a child of God; that is your identity.”

I run an outreach for those in need in our community. I cannot tell you how many times a week, when I am receiving requests from people, that people label themselves or their children with their conditions, such as: my husband is a disabled vet, my child has autism, or I have diabetes and heart disease. They label themselves with defeat in hopes of getting assistance or extra attention. They believe the more they tell you their ailments, the greater chance they have at assistance.

Your condition does not define you. It is not who you are. Additionally, identifying ourselves with our condition can bring in a victim and defeat mentality. We begin to accept who we are, and what we have been attacked with, as “This is the fate I have been given so I might as well put up with it.”

Jesus’ intention was never for us to live in defeat or false acceptance of who we are. He came to conquer the grave! He came to conquer darkness; therefore, while it is important to have a platform to bring it to the forefront and educate and get people the help they need, I think it is equally important that we don’t accept this is as the way we have to live so we might as well put up with it.

Your identity is in Christ; depression or mental illness is an ailment that has attacked you. It does not affect, at the core of your being, who you are and who Christ intended for you to be. You still have a heavenly assignment and are called by God. He doesn’t love you any less and He certainly did not create you to be this way. He created you in His image (Gen. 1:27). He wants you to live abundantly (John 10:10).

Begin today by renewing your mind! Read the scriptures in Galatians and Ephesians to learn who you are in Christ.

In fact, circle in your Bible where it says, “in,” “in Him” or “in Christ.” Insert your name. I (your name) am in Christ. I am seated in heavenly places. I am loved. I am chosen. I have the mind of Christ. I am made in His image. Declare out some positive proclamations. (See my book, Prophetic Proclamations, if you need assistance in prayers to speak out.) Speak out and declare out to assist you in building your faith, loosening the hold of defeat, victim and passive mentalities, and to release the authority Jesus gave you.

Declare, “I have a sound, self-disciplined, and self-controlled mind” (2 Tim. 1:7). Pray and expect Jesus to come in as the healer and deliverer He is and renew your mind and take away your depression and mental illness. He can; half of the battle is believing He can. As you declare and decree out, your faith will be charged and you’ll find the drive to fight again the battle that is before you.

The good thing is that Jesus won the battle; now you have to come alongside Him, rise up, fight, pray offensively and conquer the mind ailments that are attacking you.