Today’s topic is very personal to me. I have a dear sister whom I’ve watched struggle with depression for several years. She is one of the strongest women I know, but this debilitating illness can put her in bed for weeks and make it nearly impossible to live a productive life.
Some of us have not hit the bottom of the depression ditch, but many of us have fallen far enough into the darkness to know its grip is very powerful.
My own struggle with depression begins when those “insecurity creeps” that we talked about last Thursday go unaddressed. It usually means that I’m allowing gloom and worry to become comfortable in my life. (Never a good idea!)
Exhaustion is the worst culprit. After several days, weeks and months of busyness, my capacity to deal with day-to-day issues lessen and my thoughts start to wage a mighty war. Negativity is another issue that nips at my heals. If I do not make positive changes to overcome the negativity that ravages my mind, heart and body, then the darkness will descend on me. And finally, worry will take me down into the ditch every time.
The result? Depression.
Depression is real. The degree to which each of us suffers depends on the person. The darkness of depression is scary and lonely. We are stuck in the abyss. We allow fear and pride to keep us prisoner. Seeing past our own circumstance seems impossible.
How can we keep this evil character from taking over our lives when we think we are too weak and tired (from life, parenting, work and so on….) to fight against it?
The answer is: God doesn’t give up on us even when we give in to depression.
No matter where we are in the spectrum, God empowers us to be who we cannot be without Him. The ways of this world weigh heavily on us, but God is bigger. Depression can consume us, but God will pull us through and lead us to safety.
However, we have to acknowledge that we will never fully live freely and fearlessly if we do not submit to God’s will and plan for our lives. (Oh, so scary, but worth it!!!)
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the peace of God will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9 (NIV – The Journey)
I LOVE that verse! It tells me exactly what I need to think about and that I need to PUT INTO PRACTICE what Jesus has taught me! Hmmm…easier said than done!!
Regardless of where we are in the struggle with depression, we have to arm ourselves with weapons to fight this powerful attacker. (See Ephesians 6:10-18 for some good insight!)
Here are my Top Four Ideas to combat hopelessness and despair:
- Read Scripture – Jump head first into the bible and fight depression with GOD’s Word!!! It’s easy. And it works! Check out Matthew 4:1-11 where Jesus used scripture to fight the devil. Pretty cool and if it’s what Jesus did, I’m pretty sure I should do the same!
- Pray – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6. This is HUGE! Realize that God is saying “Just come to ME! I want to answer your prayers, but you have to ask!” So, ask!
- Think Positive Thoughts– Keep negativity out of your head and from coming OUT OF YOUR MOUTH! This is hard, but SO effective. I’m REALLY trying to do better since I struggle with this!! However, you truly can change your attitude by thinking positively. Try it! And blast those blues right off the planet! Negativity is not what God wants us to dwell on!
- Do – Yes, we actually have to stay out of bed and DO something in order to not continue to lie in our afflicted state. Proverbs 20:13 – Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty; open your eyes, and you will have plenty of eat. (I sure don’t want to go hungry!)
I hope these help!! I would love to hear from you about your struggles with depression and MORE IMPORTANTLY your successes of overcoming depression!
Some Wisdom for Today: Proverbs 13:14 – The teaching of the wise is the fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death.