I dread the holidays. I know this sounds terrible, but for the last few years Ive gone through the month of December stressed and tired. No matter how hard I try, nothing good seems to happen. Id sleep through the whole month if I could. I feel like I have a little black cloud hovering over me. Any advice that you can give would really be appreciated....(Internet)
Psalm 40:1-2: I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
A: Depression can be a depressing topic, but we want you to know and understand how important it is to see it from Gods perspective. Please know that depression is a complex affliction and one that should be handled medically if there is a chemical or hormonal problem. And if this is the case, prayer is needed in seeking a doctor and the remedy.
Feeling blue is very common around the holidays. The colorful lights and decorations, the wonderful smells, and the beautiful festive music will bring up memories. Those memories or thoughts stir up our emotions; our emotions then cause our desires; and, our desires produce our actions.
When depression is consuming us during the Christmas season, we are choosing not to deal with our thought life. We are allowing our thoughts to cause us to sink into a horrible pit and land us in the miry clay of depression.
So how do we control our thought life and get out of the miry clay of depression? We must understand that our thought life (mind / memories) is the battleground. We are in a war and the war goes on within us between the Power of God and the power of sin in our souls and our bodies. Romans 7:23 validates this when it says, But I see another law in my members [body], warring against the law of my mind [Law of the Spirit] and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin [power of sin] in my members.
We can make a faith choice and follow what God desires us to do, by saying "Not my will, but thine," and depend upon Gods supernatural power to take away our depression and fill us with His Love, joy and peace; or, we can make an emotional choice, and choose to follow what we think, what we feel and what we desire and depend upon our own strength to accomplish it in our lives (which will leave us in the pits of depression). If you choose to make the faith choice of giving God your depression, then go to Him in prayer and pour your situation out to Him; it might even be good to write it out. Then cease striving, let go, relax and know that because He is God and because you cried to Him for help, He will help.
Be honest with God. Take responsibility for following the emotional way of thinking (having a pity party, being irritable, having low self-esteem, feeling sorry for ourselves, being stressed, etc.). We can say, "Father, I confess I am depressed (I "own" these emotions). I confess I have chosen to entertain and follow these feelings (hurts, loneliness, fears, hates, etc.) over what You would have me to do, which is give them to You, and it has quenched Your Spirit in me. Thats sin. I now choose to turn around (I repent) from following what these things are telling me to do (which is sleep all the time, be irritable, be angry, etc.) and choose instead to follow You."
We are not responsible to change our own feelings. We cant do that. We are only responsible to put in charge the Person who can change our feelings, and that Person is God. As we walk by faith, well find that God is always faithful to align our feelings with our choices. Be assured that when we are in this state, Satan is going to want to keep us consumed in our negative thinking. God promises, though, if we will give Him our negative thoughts, He will take them "as far as the east is from the west" and meet all our needs. Taking time to be with the Lord, in worship and prayer, is the key to getting out of the miry clay of depression and setting our feet upon the rock of Jesus.
Martin Luther wrote a great deal about depression. Because of his unhappy childhood and an overbearingly strict, religious upbringing, he had a constant battle with low self-esteem and depression. Below are listed a few practical steps that he wrote about and a few of my own, which I pray will be helpful.
- Avoid being alone. When we are depressed, we dont want to be around people and we withdraw. But withdrawing means isolation, and isolation during depression means alienation. Force yourself to be with people.
- Seek help from others. During depression your perceptions change. Seek out a friend or friends that you can pray with. Real friends will keep you accountable and help you see how things truly are.
- Sing and make music. Listen to praise music in your home and car. Sing out loud! ( 1 SAM. 16:14-23 ) Davids music was the only cure for Sauls depression.
- Praise and give thanks. ( 1 Thess. 5:18 ) "In everything give thanks" Theres always something we can be thankful for.
- Get plenty of exercise. Endorphins will kick in and help to fight depression.
- Lean heavily on the Word of God. Where do you focus your devotional time? Is it in a book written by man, or do you get into the Word of God?
- Eat healthy foods and drink lots of water.
Those who belong only to the world have only the wisdom, counsel, and support of the world to turn to. And the world is without hope and without God (Ephesians 2:12). Our hope is in God and all He promises to be for us. The ultimate cure comes always and only from the One whose name is Jehovah Rapha -- "the God who heals."
Kings High Way Manager