Feeling down; overwhelmed; frustrated; helpless; depressed??? Take your eyes off your small part of the Universe, and look!
“In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple. Hovering around him were mighty seraphim, each with six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with the remaining two they flew. In a great chorus they sang, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty! The whole earth is filled with his glory!” The glorious singing shook the Temple to its foundations, and the entire sanctuary was filled with smoke.” – Isaiah 6:1-4 (NLT)
Depression is a very real & debilitating condition.
It’s not a bad attitude. It’s not merely weak responses or poor choices. It’s certainly not a sin. It’s a state of health as valid & real as broken bones. And it’s common, approximately 1 in 3 people will be affected at some stage in their life.
BUT. God doesn’t want us to have broken bones, or broken spirits. In conjunction with medical (natural or western) support, an individual can contribute quite a lot to their recovery to full emotional and mental health. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” It is well documented that even fake, forced laughter has therapeutic benefits. There are even clubs devoted to it. But God said it first.
Isaiah 61:3 describes putting on “a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” Counsellors often describe active thought exercises to help counter depression such as taking your thoughts like a train off its tracks and putting it on a new track – making a constant conscious effort to switch your mood. Now these moods are quite often a chemical condition, but can equally become a cycle and habit. It’s therefore helpful to exercise your thinking like a muscle, and train it to new strengths like a physio’ would retrain the muscles to support a healing broken leg.
But dealing with your mind and not your spirit is half a solution, although better than none. Even cancer patients are taught to foster a positive attitude in the face of very depressing facts, because it makes a very real difference. The Bible teaches that actively focussing on giving glory and praise, honor and worship to God is a real solution to a real condition. To discipline yourself to worship when you feel like wallowing is to actively put the train of your emotions on a new track, one that’s going uphill instead of downhill. To force yourself to sing praises to God is to feed and nourish your spirit, to exercise it, and to remove it from the circumstances that surround.
How does God help? Well the Truth is God’s real. I’ve experienced Him, and what I know from personal experience cannot be countered by science, no more than what you’ve personally experienced could be changed by a world of evidence presented by someone who has not experienced what you have. And God is Love, Light and Peace. To give Him more and more space in your spirit is to push out loneliness, darkness and fear. This much is logical. The more light there is in a room, the less darkness there is. Obstructions cast shadows, so remove all obstructions in your life and just try inviting God to fill your person instead of the objects and realities which the power of a supernatural, eternal and loving God can surpass. This is as predictable as the laws of aerodynamics, lift and thrust are greater then the immutable law of gravity.
New Living Translation (NLT)
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise
An attitude of gratitude makes it really difficult to be self-absorbed. It’s another Biblical reality that consciously counting your blessings makes less room for the natural inclination to be introspective, which feeds depressive inclinations. It’s actually very therapeutic and cleansing to be real with God. He doesn’t want religious prayers. He wants real conversation with you. He can take whatever you’ve got to tell Him. To let go all the pretences and masks that we put on for people and just be broken, empty, and exhausted in privacy with God is one of the most refreshing, renewing experiences you can have.
Ignore anyone that invalidates or blames the realities of depression on the sufferer. Instead, surround yourself with positive people and thinking, people that don’t require you to be happy but also don’t support any temptation to throw a pity party. Encouragement, not enabling of more depression, is what we all need.
You’re not alone. You’re not crazy. You’re not weak or less than anybody else. You are loved, you are valid, you are important. There is help, and there is an end to depression, even though the condition itself may make it hard to see it. Reach out, to God, to friends, or to supporters such as Lifeline, today.