Depression: What it is and How to Fight Back

This is part 4 of the series “Invisible Illnesses.” To read the previous post, click here

depression post

The problem of depression and the Christian is complex. As with PTSD, we need to educate ourselves before rushing to errant judgement.

Depression can be split into two categories (although they frequently often overlap): there is depression caused by physical/chemical triggers and there is depression as a state of the mind. It may seem like splitting hairs, but it’s an important distinction. Continue reading

When life is overwhelming…

despair

Do you feel it?

Anger.

Apathy.

Angst.

The trio of trouble.

Anger abounds, fueled by perceived injustice, the prosperity of the ‘other,’ and the erosion of our foundations.

Apathy ambles about, numbing us to the downward slide, willing us to be indifferent to covetousness, deceit, and injustice.

Angst lives in the very air; we unwittingly inhale it’s noxious fumes and it’s effect spreads cancerously into every pore of our being.

Election years are always tumultuous here in the states, but the last four presidential elections have been particularly pernicious. One side foretells utter doom if the other side wins. One side threatens to abandon the country if so-and-so is elected (aaaand they never do). This house is divided, and if we don’t start getting our act together, it’s going to fall. Fear pervades every citizen.

Anger, Apathy, Angst—all are present for the show.

Do you feel these things?

Are we as Christians supposed sequester ourselves in a “joyful” bubble—unaffected and unaware?

I submit to you that even though the joy of the Lord sustains us, even though we know the world is not our home, we are keenly aware of the gathering gloom. It hangs heavily upon us and we are not immune to it’s influence. Temporal though it may be, we are living in this world and cannot isolate ourselves from the tumult around us.

What are we to do when the very fabric of our lives threatens to unravel?

Many who sit in the ivory towers of education negate the value of the Bible as an outdated tome of mythology. Professing to be wise, they have become great fools. The contemptuous treatment of ancient truths threatens to be our downfall.

To us who believe in the Lord, His words are the breath of life. A keen student of the word can observe patterns of human behavior, the consequences of pride, and the faithfulness of God. We find security in the wisdom an consistency of God. The words of the Bible may be ancient, but it’s truths are timeless.

No matter how we feel, nor how desperate the situation, the Lord will always be in command. While the world around us wears itself out with worry, we can rest in God.

Get down, look up, and zero in.

Get down.

Get down on your knees and pray. 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

~ Philippians 4.6-7, ESV

Get down into the word of God so that you will know His promises.

  • He promises to be with us. “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13.5-6)
  • He promises to give us peace. (see above)

  • He promises to save us. (Mark 16.16)

  • He promises to return. (2 Peter 3)

 

Get some rest.

Find a quiet spot and let your mind have some peace. Don’t overbook yourself and live life in a frenzy. Make some time for quiet.

Look up.

I am as guilty of this as most people. I look at my screen way too much. I need to look up more and see the world and the people around me. The emails and messages on my phone are important, and require my attention, but I also need to address the emotional needs of my neighbors, my friends, my spouse and my children.

The concerns of the world are like those emails, phone calls, and text messages. They have to be addressed, but they should not consume us. We need to look up and into the eyes of the God who loves us. Only he can give us the peace we so desperately crave.

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

~ Colossians 3.1-2, ESV

Zero in.

A rifle has to be zeroed-in before a hunt so the hunter can be sure of his aim when he shoots. In the same way, we need to spend time getting our mind zeroed in on God. Find a quiet place, shut off the distractions, and make a mental tally of what you are thankful for.  Commit the promises of God to your heart so that when all else crumbles you will still be standing on the foundation of God’s promises which cannot be shaken.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

~ Philippians 4.8-9, ESV

 Are Anger, Apathy, and Angst hanging out with you today?

Get down, look up and zero in.

Keep on fighting (day 23 of the #encourage marathon)

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Fight the good fight of the faith.

Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

~ ‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭6:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Welcome to mile marker 23 of the #encourage marathon. (If you missed yesterday’s post, you can read it here.)

Someone out there is tired of fighting. It might even be you.

We spent three days of the marathon talking about the armor of God:

Once you’ve equipped yourself for battle, it’s time to engage in the fight.

Ephesians 6.12  describes what we are up against:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

As much as I would love to see peace on earth, the cynic/realist/pessimist in me knows that if 1 billion people laid down their arms, there’d be at least 100 people secretly hoarding the deadliest weapons in order to stage a takeover. Satan has no desire for mankind to dwell peacefully together, being the original manufacturer of strife. So, let’s get real, and face the fact that as long as we are alive on this earth, there will be all sorts of wars—wars of words, wars of ideas, wars of conquest, wars of greed, wars to overthrow injustice, wars to resist oppression, and wars to depose dictators.

What battle are we called to fight as Christians? Continue reading

Building Trust Through Renewal

dwell

Over the past few days, I have been writing about how to build trust in the Lord.

We need to READ the Word of God daily.

We need to PRAY to God… daily.

The next step in this process is renewal.

In the previous post on building trust through prayer, I referenced Philippians 4:6-7:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Until recently, I never really picked up on the significance of the verses that immediately follow:

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

~ Philippians 4:8-9 NASB

Paul just finished saying, don’t be anxious—pray! Then he completes the thought by saying, in essence, once you’ve prayed, fill your mind with somethin else besides worry!

Imagine for a moment that your mind and heart are like a pitcher full of liquid. That liquid is a mixture of all your worry, anxiety, sorrow, doubt and fear. If you pour that pitcher out before God so that He can take care of it (through prayer), you are left with an empty pitcher. That pitcher is going to fill up with something, even if it’s just hot air.

You need to fill it with something other than the toxic soup that was there before.

Make it a point to fill that pitcher with God’s Word. Dwell on the Word, fix your mind on something good. Find the positive within the negative. Fill your mind with truth, honor, excellence, purity, and loveliness. Find something to give thanks for. If worries start seeping back into the pitcher, pour it out again and refill it with God’s Word. Remember, worry does not stem from trust in the Lord, it stems from trust in the world. Build trust by severing ties with your fears.

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:1-2

Renew your mind and crowd out the negatives.

Renew your mind and develop trust in God.