3 Main Steps to Overcome Depression
Have you ever read the story of Elijah in the Bible and just missed the fact that he was depressed? There have been many stories over the years I've read time after time, yet every one of those times I've learned something new. It's amazing to me how the Word of God is so fresh, so new, so relevant in my life constantly. For today. For every day. It's true that whatever you're facing God can and will use His Word to speak to your heart. To encourage you, love on you and yes, set you straight.
I was listening to Moody radio yesterday and the talk show host asked the listening audience if they were asked, "Why are you a Christian?" what their answer would be. In fact, they had taken a survey and shared their findings. But it bothered the host and his guest that none of those people answered, "because it's all true." I wanted to yell into the small space of my car and to only my listening ears - YES! Why do we make it so hard? Why do we freeze up at such a question? It really is as simple as that.
This brings me to Sunday's sermon subject: Depression. What is depression anyway? Many years ago, I heard someone define depression as "feeling sorry for yourself." At the time, I needed to hear this. I needed to be jolted out of a spiraling thought process. I needed reminded that the Word of God is true. My struggle was with belief. My struggle was that my focus was all wrong. I couldn't understand the situation I was facing wasn't about God not caring or that His silence was punishment. He was there in the silence the whole time waiting for me to stop wallowing in my constant repetition of "I don't understand". Now I get it that this definition will step on a few toes. I understand that depression is very real. In fact, I believe we've all been touched by it in way or another.
I also understand there are people that have been diagnosed with depression and it is a true mental illness and that treatment / medication is absolutely necessary. This post is not meant for you. In fact, one of the first things that our Pastor reminded us of Sunday was that God recognized that Elijah's depression was not imaginary. It was very real. And I believe that, just as our Pastor pointed out to us on Sunday, for those of us suffering from the kind of depression that doesn't require medical attention we can overcome it with three main steps.
Three main steps you and I can take when face-to-face with depression.
Ask yourself these questions:
1. How is my spiritual life? Is prayer a priority? Am I reading my Bible? Do I have regular devotions where I'm digging into the Word?
2. How is my physical condition? Am I getting enough sleep or too much? Am I getting an exercise? What about my eating habits?
3. How are my relationships? Do I have friends? Am I having any fun or relaxation? Any fellowship with other believers?
Reread the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 19. The story starts out telling us that Elijah was afraid. He had just been through a major victory and was zapped spiritually, physically and relationally. He took his eyes off God and began to sink into depression. You know what I love about this story? God met Elijah right there in the dessert. He didn’t let Elijah’s state of mind change how he felt about him. He didn’t shake his finger at him and tell him how bad he was being. Instead, God first provided for his needs. He asked questions. He listened. He understood. He instructed Elijah and gave him a new vision. A new task. He reminded him of the truth. He breathed new life into him spiritually, physically and relationally.
One last thought. Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, [don't take your eyes off me] you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32
Now when you’re asked why a situation you’re facing doesn’t cause depression and why you’re still a Christian you can answer, "because I know the truth!”
There’s a lot to unpack here in this story. What does God have to say to you personally here? What did you need reminded of?
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