The Issue of Depression
I have struggled with depression for many years. When I let depression get a hold of me, it is mostly for selfish reasons. Some days I refuse to be comforted. I tell myself that no one cares and that I am alone. I can be perfectly happy one day and the next day I am captured by sadness, entrapped in the darkness of my wallowing. The leading cause of my depression is because I lose focus on what is really important in my life and focus on small things that are going wrong or happened in the past. I must realize the true blessings in my life. All I focus on is the pain that I’m feeling when what I really need to be doing is hugging the people I love and thanking God for my wonderful life. There is no reason we should ever be depressed. We are blessed and loved.
Depression is everywhere. It can strike anyone at anytime. Maybe you had a hard day at work and everything went wrong. Your boss yelled at you and you feel like a failure. You don’t know what to do or where to get help. You lay in your bed feeling hopeless. But there is no reason to feel like this.
God has Everything Under Control
You may be depressed because it seems like nothing is working out in your life right now. Maybe you lost your job, you’re in the middle of a divorce, or your health is fading. You can’t ever imagine life getting easier. This is where you are wrong! You are worrying for no reason. Your life is out of your hands. If Christ is your savior, God is the one that is in control and he will work all things out for good.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
The future seems like it’s so far away doesn’t it? Right now you may be stuck in a trial that feels like it will never end. You have to remember that God puts you through trials so you can learn and get closer to Him. Things will get better! If you trust in God and wait for His timing, He will get you through it! God wants and plans to give you a “future and a hope.”
“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”
God is Always with You
You may feel alone and hopeless, but you are never truly alone if you have Christ in your heart. If you need someone to talk to, talk to God! He is your best friend and will listen to anything you have to say. You can lay down your burdens at His feet. He will always listen! God is the only one that can give you the peace and comfort you need.
One issue with us humans is that we are looking for happiness in worldly things. We look for happiness in social media, friendships and things that will soon pass away. We may be able to get temporary happiness from those things, but the only way that we can get true joy is from the Lord. With God, you don’t need anything else. He is all you need. We are too weak to do life alone. But with God by your side, you can get through anything life throws at you. If you truly have Him in your heart, then there is no reason to be sad and depressed about your life.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Your Are Blessed
You most likely live in a house with a roof, heat, and food in the cabinets. You also have a family that loves you very much. Most of all you have a loving God that will always be there for you. What else could you possibly need? Yeah, you may have issues every now and then, but there is no reason to waste an hour, a day, a month, or a year being depressed. You are not only hurting yourself, but also the people you love. So when you are depressed, remember to count your blessings. Even small ones like your clothes, clean water or the pens you write with. Everything is a gift from God and you should be thankful for every little thing in your life.
Also, If you are a born again Christian, you are saved. This is the best gift anyone can ever receive. You are blessed because God chose you to live forever with Him. What more do you possibly need?
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.
Your Life was Given to You for a Reason
God didn’t put you on this earth just because He wanted to. He put you on this earth so He can love you and so that you can tell people about His amazing love! For this reason we should be happy! God didn’t say “I put you on this earth to be depressed and hate the life I gave you.” He said:
“For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”
God wants us to enjoy our lives and live for Him! Picture this: Your child grew up and said this to you “Mom and Dad, I know you love me and I know you worked hard to provide for me my whole life, but I love myself more than you and I am going to go live life how I want. I hate you and my life so I’m just going to go wallow in my own self pity. Thanks but no thanks.” You raised this kid, loved this kid, provided for this kid, and yet, he turned his back and on you and spit in your face. That’s what we do to God when we are depressed and ungrateful for our lives. We turn our backs and ignore Him. Do you want to make God happy by showing His love, or do you want to be depressed and show people that you don’t care about your loving Maker?
Depression is a Sin
Many people don’t realize it, but depression is a sin. I do not believe this includes clinical depression. The depression that I am talking about is hating your life and wallowing in your own self pity when there is no real reason to do so.
God calls us to be joyful and full of praise! We should be joyful because we have Christ in our lives. If we aren’t joyful but we claim to be Christians, then would lost people want the God that we have? No way! They would want to keep living their “happy”, comfortable lives. As seen in the verse below, we are to rejoice, pray, and give thanks in all circumstances because this is the will of God. Let the light of Christ shine through you by showing your joy and happiness even in times of trial.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Depression is Self-centered
The last point I want to make is that depression is very self centered. If you have payed attention, every single point that I have made is about how YOU feel. Think about why you are depressed. You may be saying something like “…because this happened to ME.” or “…he did that to ME!” If we’re supposed to be selfless like Christ, shouldn’t we be worried about others? Shouldn’t we be fixing issues that we have with other people?
Right now I am reading an amazing book called Living Virtuously by Erin Harrison. In one chapter she talked about her issues with depression. She said she only cared about herself to the point where she wanted to die. She went on to say something very powerful that struck me right in the heart. “Depression is selfish. When you are depressed, you are only thinking about yourself – about poor unfortunate you.” Ouch!
I know it’s hard to get over depression, especially when someone has hurt you. But instead of just caring about how you feel, ask them how they feel too. You will feel much better once you make things better with that person. Trust me… I know!
What to do and NOT do when you are Depressed
The biggest mistake I make when I’m depressed is going in my room, shutting my door, and crying in bed. I don’t let anyone in to try and comfort me. I almost force myself to be sad. The biggest thing I do wrong is ignore God. Seriously, Erin? What’s wrong with you…. When you are depressed, the number one thing you want to do is pray and meditate in Gods Word. He is the only one that can truly calm and comfort your soul!
The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
Here are a few things you can do to try to get out of depression:
- Pray and read the Bible. Take comfort in God. Focus on Him not on yourself.
- Get active. Don’t stay in bed all day! Go for a walk or a quick drive around the neighborhood.
- Write in a journal. Writing down your feelings can help clear your mind. Plus, it’s cool to be able to go back to old entries and see how your life has changed!
- Talk with someone. After you have a nice long talk with God, call up a friend or talk to your spouse. It is good to have an accountability partner so they can keep an eye out for when you are depressed and remind you of your precious life.
- Do something fun! When you are depressed, go do something you love doing whether that’s reading a book or riding a bike. Get your mind out of the gutter!