How Should We Deal With Depression?
by Annagail Lynes 11/16/2007 / Christian Living
If a person is depressed, is he just supposed to let Jesus fight this battle?
What is depression? The act of being depressed, which Webster's Dictionary defines as being pressed down, dejected, dispirited.
What causes us to be that way? A bad grade in school, a missed promotion at work, a spouse leaving us, abuse in our home when we were younger, someone dying or an illness.
There are so many reasons that we might be depressed--pressed down, dejected, dispirited.
I know I have been depressed on and off for most of my life. I can trace it back to the physical and verbal abuse that took place in my home.
I have always felt sad, or as if I didn't belong, as if I was an alien from another planet, who had been dropped here on Earth to be raised by humans.
To some extent, everyone has gone through depression at one time or another, especially as a teenager.
I've heard from some well-meaning people that Christians cannot be depressed.
Christians are human beings like the rest of us. They go through failures and disappointments, ups and downs, in life just like everyone else. They become depressed too.
Let's take a look at the Prophet Elijah. A mighty man of God. He had initiated a contest with the prophets of a false god Baal to see whose divine power could bring down fire--Baal or the One True God. Of course, our One True God won (I Kings 18)!
Elijah, probably feeling victorious and vindicated, soon learned that the wicked Queen Jezebel sought to kill him. Elijah ran and hid from her under a juniper tree (I Kings 19). He felt very pressed down, dejected and dispirited. He felt sorry for himself and complained to God, as many of us do.
God wasn't moved by his complaining. Nor is He moved by ours. Yes, we should bring our problems to God, but we cross a fine line when we complain and try to get God to do things our way instead of taking our problems to God and letting Him handle them.
Complaining involves a lot of questions and commentary. Taking our problems to God involves reporting the facts of our situation to God, and as my mother says, "Exchanging our facts for God's Truth."
When we are complaining, we aren't interested in truth or facts. Rather we are focused on the way we feel. We are listening to our emotions.
What does the Bible say about depression?
The Bible speaks of being broken-hearted (Isaiah 61:1) and having a spirit of heaviness (Isaiah 61:3). It says that God gives us the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness (Isaiah 61:3).
Now what is praise? When we are on a team--football, basketball, whatever sport we play--and the team wins, the players go around and congratulate each other and compliment each other on what a good job each did. That's praise.
When we praise God, we are telling Him what a good job He is doing. We pick out specific things we can congratulate Him about. When we don't feel like it, that's when we should to do it the most. This is call the sacrifice of praise.
We can sing our praises, write our praises, maybe even paint our praises as long as they come from our heart.
Praise is the antidote to the spirit of heaviness. When we begin to praise God one step at a time, our lives change. We need to praise our way out of depression. Praise our way to a miracle. Praise our way to a breakthrough, a turn-around.
Praise is the number one way to combat depression, but it is not the only way.
In our lives there will be times and seasons of trouble, but our God has overcome the world (John 16:33). We have to put our trust totally and completely in our God (Proverbs 3:5-6) and what He has done for us.
We have to trust that God is in control and that He will do what He said He would, that He will turn everything that happens in our life around for our good (Romans 8:28).
We have to put our trust in God rather than the news papers or in the news broadcasts or in what the President says. We must choose to trust God in everything we do.
One of the solutions God has expressed to me is to cast my cares (I Peter 5:7). We were never designed to carry the heavy load that we endure.
God is more than willing to carry our cares, our worries, our fears. He is just waiting for us to hand them over to Him.
God is like a bank. We have to entrust the bank with our money before they will take charge of it and keep it safe. Unlike a bank, though, we must check our cares in but not withdraw them. Instead we must exchange our currency of cares for His currency of sufficiency and provision (II Corinthians 12:9, Philippians 4:19).
If needed, it is fine to go to a counselor or psychologist. We should try to retain one who is a Believer. Someone who believes in the ways of God.
Depression can be caused by a chemical imbalance. Some require medication. Some require a professional.
Either way, though, it is well within the right of every Believer to believe God has already healed our depression in the spiritual realm. Therefore it is within our right to stand on the promises of God concerning the healing of our body and mind (I Peter 2:24, II Timothy 1:7).
When we stand on His Word, believing He will do what He said He will do (Mark 9:23), He will come through for us in our time of need. He will give us the breakthrough we need.
Annagail Lynes is a published author, pharmacy technician and starting her business as a life coach. Her work has been published in 21st Century, SeaLetter, Christian Home and School, You! and many more online and offline publications.
To learn more about her, go to facebook.com/coachannagail