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Finding Hope In A Hopeless Depression
by Greg Baker
2/28/2011 / Self Help
One of the worst depressions a person can suffer is that of feeling hopeless. When you feel your situation is never going to improve, that you are trapped forever in it, you will most likely slip into a severe depression. This article is meant to, hopefully, help you find hope in what looks to be a hopeless situation.
HOPELESSNESS COMES BY CLINGING TO DEAD HOPES
It is important to understand why you see your situation as hopeless. Because every person's circumstances are unique, you will need to apply these principles to your situation to clearly see the 'dead hopes' you are still clinging to.
Dead hopes are former hopes that we come to believe will never happen. Interestingly, we still cling to these hopes knowing or believing we will never achieve them. This is the primary source of depression in a hopeless state. It is not so much the absence of hope, but the clinging to of 'dead hopes'.
Let me explain. A person with a terminal disease may have tried every doctor and clinic on the planet to no avail. He may have tried every drug, every clinical trial, and every experimental drug available and still found no cure. He could be a believer in God and tried faith healings, prayer, and other spiritual remediesall to no avail. As a Pastor myself, I have witnessed people who have come to the end of their ropes, having tried everything to no end and then suddenly sink into a massive depression. You see, once a hope appears to be dead, we still cling to it and thereby trapping us in a state of emotional, mental, and spiritual bondage.
Don't get me wrong, no hope is ever dead. God is still in charge and while there is breath, there is hope. But that is not how people who are trapped see it. To them, their hopes and dreams are dead and even though they are dead, they are unwilling and unable to let them go. Clinging to something dead like this poisons our spirit and sends us spiraling down into a heightened state of depression.
When a person feels that he has nothing but dead hopes, he will never see any light at the end of any tunnel.
YOU MUST GET RID OF YOUR DEAD HOPES
The first thing you must do to find hope is shed your dead hopes. This is not easy, nor is it something that can be done quickly. We all have clung to certain hopes for so long and even if they are dead ones, they have become part of us. We have given much to these hopes and so just tossing them out the window is akin to cutting off body parts.
Nevertheless, we must learn to set aside dead hopes and cling to new hopes, ones that can revitalize our spirit and rejuvenate our purpose again.
To do this, we must learn to accept what you cannot change. Acceptance of a bad situation is necessary before you can hope to overcome the depression attached to it. We've all heard the phrase, 'If you can't beat them, join them.' It is a bit whimsical, perhaps, but it does contain a nugget of truth. At some point, acceptancenot surrender, there is a differenceis necessary to move on and live a life of joy and happiness.
Philippians 4:11 - Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
Paul didn't surrender to the inevitable, he accepted it, made it his, and then used it. If he had to be in prison, he decided to use that circumstance to tell others about Jesus. He didn't mope around all day at the unjustness of his incarceration. He couldn't change it. So he used it.
This is what everyone who is still clinging to dead hopes must do. If you have cancer, find a purpose for that cancer and make something valuable out of it. Lying around all day in depression because God hasn't miraculously bowed to your wishes and healed you is accomplishing nothing.
My father was born without thumbs and arms only as long as your elbows. His wrists are twisted in two different directions, and he has lived this way all his life. Try doing everything you do with no thumbs! He could lament at not having thumbs or long arms. He could get bitter and always compare himself to those that have what he does not. Or he could accept what he cannot change and use it. And my dad sure does use it! He has worked a Jr. Church for kids for years now at his church. He uses his hands as a means of teaching boys and girls truth, character, humor, and telling them of Jesus Christ. He is one of the happiest men you'll ever meet. He doesn't cling to a dead hope of having straight arms and thumbs. He just uses it.
Have you suffered greatly? Feel you are trapped in a black hole with no escape or hope of escape? Use it. Claim it as your own. And then use it.
FIND PURPOSE IN YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES
This may require you to end your depression, so beware. I believe the Scriptures when it tells me 'All things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to his purpose' (Romans 8:28). The key word for me is the word 'purpose'. When you have purpose, especially God's purpose, it doesn't matter what the circumstances are, they all work together for good!
Several very dark times in my own life were turned around when I began to use those dark times for His purpose. Suddenly, things started to make sense. Suddenly, there was light at the end of the tunnel. In a few cases, I've even asked God to keep me in the dark place for a while longer because I was so excited at how God was using it in my life!
You are able to carry any burden if there exists a good reason to do so in your mind. Sprinters will train with ankle weights to strengthen their legs. Who in their right mind would want to run around with ankle weights? Those who see how it can help them win a race!
It does not matter the area of your life you feel trapped in. It could be financial, physical, relationships, job related, or spiritual. Whatever state you find yourself in, accept it, claim it, and then use it for a higher purpose.
In doing this, you will discover new hopes, ones that are not dead. This will renew your spirit, your joy, and your life. In the process, you can heal.
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