Dealing with Depression
- Wednesday, August 02, 2006
I learned a lot from Neil T. Anderson's books about my identity in Christ and how I can resist the devil, take authority over my thoughts and put them in God's hands. Watchman Nee's book on Romans helped me grasp what Jesus did for me on the cross and what an impact that has in my life. Christ died for me; I do matter to him. He took my sins and my pain, and he loves me. That's a revelation that still gives me strength and hope.
I bought myself a cross necklace to remember what Christ did for me—and to remember I'm a new creation. Because of his death and resurrection, I don't live under condemnation anymore.
I also learned to give God control over my life. Things won't always be perfect or go the way I want them to. But I know that in losing my life to him, I'll gain it back abundantly. My life still isn't always easy, but I know Jesus Christ is my Lord. He loves me and I love him. And that gives me hope.
This might sound trite, but when I'm depressed I've learned that stepping back and really looking at the situation with new eyes is a big help. Many times when I'm depressed, I've gotten in a rut of thinking about the problem or situation in the same way. I need to stop and ask myself, What is God trying to teach me here?Am I feeling stuck and depressed because I haven't learned the lesson I'm supposed to?
Sometimes help comes in simply accepting this is where God has me right now and that I need to stop demanding my own way on my own timetable. If I get rid of the negative selfish emotions and really look, I can see the positives and what God is teaching me. Many times this shift in perspective and attitude is the first step in getting out of depression.
Just four months ago, I was able to purchase my first solo home at the ripe age of 29. The first two months were great; I spent most of my time unpacking and setting the house up the way I wanted it. But I eventually finished unpacking and there was nothing left to do but be there … alone.
Then my only sister and I got into an argument, and she quit speaking to me. This led to a fallout with my parents, and I was left with no one to talk to. As the depression started to sink in, I decided to drive to my parents' house to talk things over—only to discover they'd invited the family over for dinner but had failed to invite me.
That night, I drove all over the city, crying my eyes out and letting the depression set in deeper. When I got home, I didn't want to leave. The next Sunday, I didn't even set my alarm so I'd get up for church. The following week, all I did was come home from work, sit on my bed, and cry. Soon after, I couldn't even get out of bed. It seemed no one cared about me.
Then a line from an old Amy Grant song popped into my head: "I'm raining on the inside." That's what I was doing. I hadn't heard that song in more than 15 years, but God brought every word to mind. As I lay in bed singing this song out loud, the Lord met me. He reminded me I'm his child, and that if I looked to him, he would take care of me. I got out of bed and was able to make things right with my sister and parents. And I attended church the next morning. I promised God I'd never again let anything get in the way of honoring him.
In the days following my return to church, I heard from a friend I hadn't talked with in a long time. She needed some part–time work done and wanted to know if I was interested in helping her. She had no idea what I'd been through the previous weeks, but God did. He knew I'd probably face loneliness again, but he sent her to rescue me.
I've since finished the part–time work, but I'm not lonely or depressed. I know I might get depressed again in the future, but I also know God is right beside me no matter what.
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