“How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?”
Over the years, I don’t know how many times I have prayed this same prayer that David did. I look at all that David did for the Lord, and get so utterly amazed at how many times he was depressed. The book of Psalm is full of David’s ups and downs…and his utter dark despair!
Yet, he was a man after God’s own heart. He was a man who truly loved God with all his heart. You know what? I am too, I am woman after God’s own heart and I love God with everything in me….yet, there are times when I find myself in the dark place of depression.
If you are reading this, then I can only assume you fall into one of two categories of people. You are either right there with me, fighting, struggling with these same dark feelings; or you are one of those Christians who can fake it a lot better than I can!
I think everyone, to some degree or another deal with depression. You can open the pages of God’s Word and find people who have struggled with this despair throughout the pages.
Look at Job…he had every reason to be depressed! He lost everything! He lost his children, his livestock, and he had sores from head to toe. The only thing he was left with was his wife (who encouraged him to curse God) and three friends who had no clue!
Look also at Elijah…he had just had a face-off with the prophets of Baal, and saw God humble His enemies…and yet, we see Elijah run off that same day, hide under a bush and pray that he would die! What is up with that?
How can these mighty men of God suffer from such a crippling “disease”? The only answer I can come up with is this….are you ready? It’s really deep: THEY WERE HUMAN!
Humans are fallen, broken, unfinished works of God. Thankfully God doesn’t leave us the way we are…He calls us to live a life that is all about learning from His Word, depending on Him, and going through this messy life with as much grace and hope as possible!
I will tell you this: I don’t have all the answers to solve this problem. I don’t have a five step program that will cure depression, nor do I have the qualifications…other than dealing with it myself….to guide you in the right direction. All I can do is share with you what I do when I find myself stumbling, falling, and sitting in a pit of sadness and despair.
I allow myself time to sit there: “What? Seriously?” Yes…I allow myself to feel my feelings. I give myself 30 minutes to an hour to be depressed. I know this sounds so ungodly and so unchristian-like. However, where would we be if David didn’t allow himself time to feel what he felt…we wouldn’t have the Psalms. If I don’t allow myself a timed depression session, then I find myself stuck in that place, and can’t seem to come out of it for days, even weeks. During my “depression session”, I write. I write down what I am feeling and why I am feeling those feelings. I make sure I am completely honest with myself as to what caused my depression and what might be behind the depression…whether it might be unforgiveness, bitterness, hurt, anger or so on.
I pray: Oh yes…that sounds more godly doesn’t it? I pray and tell God what I am feeling…I call out to Him. I go before the throne of God and tell my Heavenly Father what is going on with me. Just like David, Job, and Elijah did…I tell God what is up with me.
I praise: In the midst of my negative feelings I praise God for what He has done in my life. I praise Him for all that He is and all that He has done. In doing so, I start to feel more encouraged…my perspective begins to line up.
I confess: I think this is the most pivotal of all things we can do when we feel depressed…or any negative emotion…we confess God’s word. We speak His life into our life. We pray the way David did. He told God all about his depression and ended with…yet, I will praise you and confess your mighty works. God’s word is a double-edged sword…it is alive and it will sever our depression.
I choose: I choose to continue to live my life. I may not “feel” like cleaning the house, or cooking, or going to work…but I have to choose to do it. In choosing to continue to live your life, you are not allowing the enemy to destroy you with depression. It is not always an easy decision to make…but as you continue to choose life, death can no longer live in you.
If you need more help with depression, please, I encourage you to talk to a friend, a pastor, or a professional. Get the help you need to overcome this. It is not God’s plan that we stay depressed…He came to give us life and a life more abundant.
Let’s grab hold of that abundant life!