Depression is epidemic in our society and the rates of suicide are on the rise. We live in a society that values individualism. And of course individualism and freedom are very important. But belonging to a caring community – a community that has a safety net – a society where we value one another is also very important. All important to our emotional health. We need a balance somewhere. We need to work towards a community where everyone belongs.
God did not put us in this world to stand alone. We were meant to live in community. Many people who commit suicide feel like they are all alone. Statistics show that the main reason a person is desperate enough to kill him or herself is because he or she is alienated or cut off from family, work, friends or community. It seems that when we are not valued by anyone we feel that life is no longer worth living.
As a Christian I believe that we are called to make a difference. To love one another and be sensitive to each other’s fears and needs. We can help our church provide a warm community. And we can be there for family members when they need a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on. Scripture says that “A brother is born to help in times of trouble” (Proverbs 17:17) God calls us to be there for our families. To judge less and love more.
There are several kinds of depression. First there is “medical depression” which is caused by a physical problem, an imbalance or a hormonal change. These illnesses require medical or psychological attention. And secondly there is “situational depressions” which can be caused by man’s inhumanity to man, poor health, financial problems or any number of things. Situational depression happens when our response is to become depressed when there are bad situations in our lives.
We will mainly discuss situational depression in this blog. You can depress yourself by thinking about all of the bad things that are happening in your life and talking about all of the people who are not treating you fairly, or have been mean to you in the past. And you can worry about problems in your life that seem impossible to solve, or problems that may arise in the future that may be impossible to solve.
Your mood is linked to your thoughts and your words so you have power over how you feel by how you talk to yourself and the way you tell your story to others. Instead of telling others how impossible your relationship is with this mean person, you can mention that you prayed and your difficult relationship is in God’s capable Hands and you wait to see how things will be improving now with His help. Also the Word of God (the Bible) is powerful and you can fight depression by believing and counting on God’s promises.
Scripture says: “Put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” (Isaiah 61:3) I think this Scripture is saying that praising and thanking God will help take away heaviness or depression. We have been instructed here to “put on” praise. Lose ourselves in God. Look at the Savior and not at the high waves threatening to do us in. Our victory is in Him! He promises to take care of all our problems if we try to follow Him. I have been in churches that spent time praising God and I can testify that any heaviness or sadness that I brought into the praise time was lifted when I spent some time praising God.
In the Bible we read where David talked to himself when he was depressed. “Why are you cast down and why are you miserable? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him. For I shall yet praise Him, my Help and my God.” (Psalm 41:5) When David was depressed he reminded himself that God would see him through his troubles and that God was his help. We need to do that too.
David had a lot to be depressed about. He had many people who hated him and were trying to kill him. Even one of his own sons tried to kill him! For many years David was an outcast and could never go home. He was under heavy persecution as many of God’s children are and have been. (Matthew 6:10-12) For years King Saul and all of his mighty men were searching for David, trying to find and kill him. So poor David was forced to hide in dark caves and sleep in the dirt while constantly watching for his enemies. He was out in the wilderness in the cold and on the run for such a long time. It all appeared so hopeless. But finally God did something. God always comes through for his children, but in His time frame.
You can talk to yourself and encourage yourself like David did. Put yourself in God’s hands and trust God to take care of you. If there is sin in your life, do your best to turn from it and confess it to God. There is joy in coming clean and following God. Remember, if you believe in Christ as your Savior then God is your Father, your “Abba” which means “Papa”.(Romans 8:15) Enjoy your relationship with your “Abba”.
Stand on the promises in Scripture. One of my favorite Scripture verses is Romans 8:28 “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purposes.” God promises that in the end all of His children will have victory in Christ. (Revelations 19:11-21) That is a mighty promise! Encourage yourself in that!
You can help break your depression by reminding yourself of your past victories. Don’t sit and feel bad but go out and do something good for someone else. Exercise. Eat right and get enough sleep. Have fun. Laugh and lighten up. Make friends. Sing or listen to music. Keep busy and think about good things. (Philippians 4:8)
Don’t dwell on the negative or allow it to have power over you. Refuse to be a victim. “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) Don’t allow others to make you feel ashamed of who you are (You are God’s precious child) and refuse to suffer from abnormal guilt. If you believe in Christ as your Savior then the Bible says that you have been set free from sin and guilt. Walk in the freedom that is yours in Christ.
Stand tall and don’t let any critical person drag you down. If you have been disappointed by people or by failed expectations, start fresh with new goals or visions. Don’t live in the past or allow past failures to define who you are. (Isaiah 43:18)
And if you need to do something and you are afraid you can’t do what you need to do, remind yourself that you can do anything you need to do in Christ’s power. Believe it. He will be with you. Scripture says: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) Everything we do is sacred if we do it for the Lord. Jesus died so that we could have and enjoy a wonderful and powerful life. “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)
Many of the ideas in this blog were taken from Joyce Meyer’s book, “Living Beyond your Feelings”