A Psychologist Discovers Joy

My Testimony

I was born in South Africa, educated in England, and worked as a professional psychologist, lecturer, and management consultant in several European countries. On June 15, 1995, I testified to a large audience how, at the age of fifty-five, I found victory in the Lord Jesus Christ from a life-long struggle with depression. During most of those preceding years, I practiced and taught psychology, proclaiming the hope of a permanent solution to depression within the methods and therapies of my profession. The paradox was that I could not cure myself. The solutions were only temporary and short lived before the symptoms would engulf me again, dragging me back to square one.

This self-defeating cycle became the pattern of my inner personal life as I tried to hide the condition from the world around me. I saw a similar pattern in the struggles of depressed clients as they entered and returned through the revolving doors of the clinic.

Eventually, I left the clinical setting to specialize in educational psychology and, later on, in organizational behavior. (This discipline is known as industrial psychology in the USA or occupational psychology in the UK.) This specialization gave me entry into the world of corporate giants and entrepreneurial executives in large multinational organizations. Large chunks of responsibility and financial resources were given to psychologists who had this expertise, in order to develop resource strategies and training programs in leadership, cross-cultural team building, motivation, creative thinking, and interpersonal effectiveness.

Many years spent in this field brought an awareness of the self-imposed stress built into such programs, where characteristics of independence, individuality, self-assertiveness, and personal power were upheld in a competitive and predominantly male environment. Here again, the focus was on strengthening the self, leading to a narcissistic preoccupation with the self that, paradoxically, brought about further stress. This observation was confirmed by the popularity of seminars on stress and conflict management, where countless testimonies of self-defeat, despair, and depression came to the surface.

My depression became larger than life and increasingly difficult to conceal. The self-deception was finally exposed when, in a car accident in January, 1990, I was instantaneously stripped of all my worldly sources of significance: my position, status, professional expertise, and other indicators of success. Brain injuries caused permanent damage to some speech, intellectual, and motor functioning, leaving me unable to continue my career and privileged lifestyle.

The self was dethroned. While in a semi-vegetable state in intensive care, the Lord brought me to the foot of His Cross. My whole life flashed before my inner eyes. The words of Isaiah 30:18-22 penetrated the scarred tissue of what was left of my memory as the strongholds of pride and idolatry began to crumble.[1] The Spirit of God pushed me to the margins of my individuality. My preoccupation with my own importance had to go so that my inner personality could be reconciled in fellowship with God, in humble identification with the Cross and the resurrected life of Christ Jesus in me (Gal. 2:20).[2] Over a period of three years, the Lord restored part of the brain damage, drawing me closer into a totally dependent relationship with Him. As He became more and more the center of my life, I experienced the words of Isaiah 30:26 and a lasting freedom from depression, despite some remaining physical and intellectual disabilities.[3]

So, five years later, as I stood in front of that audience, I felt compelled to revisit the psychology of depression with these experiences of biblical truths and the newfound power of the Christ-life in me. It took another year before the Lord sent me Charles Solomon’s Handbook to Happiness through an interim pastor’s wife at our church in Brussels, Belgium, where I now live. While reading it in one sitting, everything I had experienced became crystal clear to me and fell into place: here, at last, was a conceptual framework within which to reconcile the major psychological themes and explanations with biblical solutions! Since then, I have found Dr. Solomon s Wheel and Line in Spirituotherapy to be a powerful tool, mightily used by the Holy Spirit, not only in the counseling room but also in training seminars.

[ I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry.
He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps.
He has put a new song in my mouth–Praise to our God;
Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the LORD.”
Psalms 40:1-3.]

From The Changing Heart of Africa, by Charles Solomon, (Grace Fellowship International, 2005) 31,32. Free download of this ebook: gracenotebook.com/galatians-220-perspective-e-books/

Other Scriptures referenced:

[1] “Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you;
And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you.
For the LORD is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for Him.
For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem; You shall weep no more.
He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry; When He hears it, He will answer you.
And though the Lord gives you The bread of adversity and the water of affliction,
Yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore, But your eyes shall see your teachers.
Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’
Whenever you turn to the right hand Or whenever you turn to the left.
You will also defile the covering of your graven images of silver, And the ornament of your molded images of gold.
You will throw them away as an unclean thing; You will say to them, ‘Get away!’ ” Isaiah 30:18-22

[2] “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

[3]”Moreover the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun,
And the light of the sun will be sevenfold,
As the light of seven days,
In the day that the LORD binds up the bruise of His people
And heals the stroke of their wound.” Isaiah 30:26, (NKJV).

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