The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. –Psalm 34:18
As I sit here trying to decide if I should try to write today I realize that there may be those that need to hear the words that lay heavy on my heart. I’ve been in a place lately of deep sadness, spiritual depression, darkness of the soul or whatever term you want to use.
It’s not a new place, it’s been a life struggle. Today I find myself here again. The dog of depression has been hunting me down for several months now. For the first time in quite some time he has over taken me. I began to recognize it as I realized that my discouragement had gone to depression. Looking back I see that I didn’t fight. I didn’t run. I just sat here, alone, with my thoughts. I didn’t cry out for help. I didn’t pray. I didn’t call a friend for prayer. In fact I just put on my happy face and faked it through the day.
These my friends are deadly to one who is prone to discouragement and depression. We must be brave enough to allow others to walk with us during these times. Even now as I write this I know I should just pick up the phone and let my sister/friends know where I am. Let them know to pray for me. I know these few friends understand, they know my heart so there is no judgment, only love and grace. But still I hesitate and I don’t even know why. Why is it so hard to pick up a phone and say, “hey I need you, my weakness is showing”?
Why? Because we want to be strong. We have bought into the lie that we have to have it together and we certainly can’t show our weaknesses. It’s just not true. It’s a bald face lie of the worse kind. I hate that I have fallen prey to the lie again. I hate that I have forgotten what I have learned. So as a reminder to myself and to those who might need it today here are a few things I have learned long the way.
Ask Questions. I love to read the Psalms when I am feeling depressed. David understood and he wasn’t afraid to ask questions of God and himself. These were not questions that questioned who God was or what He was doing, but David sought understanding. They were questions that always pointed to the One who would help him.
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart all the day? Psalm 13:1-2a
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 42:5; 43:5-6
Sing Songs. When we are sad or depressed singing is not something we feel like doing but do it anyway. Put worship music on. Songs that remind you of truth. Songs that point you to His character. A word of cautions here, there are songs that will only make you sadder so be discerning. I always use worship songs, not just any Christian music or artist.
But let all who take refuge in You be glad, Let them ever sing for joy; And may You shelter them, That those who love Your name may exult in You Psalm 5:11
And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me, And I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD . Psalm 27:6
You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32:7
By day the LORD commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.” Psalms 42:8
Speak truth to yourself. Read through the Psalms. Read over them and then pray them back to God. Remind yourself of who God is and the promises that are yours. I find that when I am in the midst of depression my thoughts are very dark. They tend to go toward hopelessness, fear and anxiousness so I must be filling my mind with truth. If I can’t then I MUST ask for help and let others speak truth to me. Also, sometimes the truth is that we need medical help. Don’t be afraid to seek the help of a doctor. But I know from experience that medicine is not a cure all, we still must speak truth to ourselves.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever . Psalms 23:6
I will rejoice and be glad in Your lovingkindness, Because You have seen my affliction; You have known the troubles of my soul… Be strong and let your heart take courage, All you who hope in the LORD Psalm 31:7,24
For I hope in You, O LORD; You will answer, O Lord my God. Psalm 38:15
Remember you are not alone. God is with us. He will never leave or forsake us. It is in Him we find our strength, He will be our help. We must also remember that God places His children in our lives to help us too. When we are in darkness we feel alone. We feel isolated from God and our friends, but it’s a lie. I have a friend who has said to me in the past, “if you don’t tell me how will I know? I can’t read your mind”. We must be willing to share our burden with those who love us.
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Psalm 68:19
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26
For the LORD will not abandon His people, Nor will He forsake His inheritance. Psalm 94:14
My eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me; He who walks in a blameless way is the one who will minister to me. Psalms 101:6
Continue to seek Him. The tendency when we are depressed is to withdraw from God but we must fight it. We must press in hard, go to His word, study it. Keep reading, praying and seeking even if you feel like it’s for naught. God will revive you. He will meet you.
O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1
The humble have seen it and are glad; You who seek God, let your heart revive. Psalm 69:2
Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; And let those who love Your salvation say continually, "Let God be magnified. Psalm 70:4
Preach the Gospel. This final thought is probably the single most important. We must recognize that there is nothing in us that can help. No matter how hard I try I can not move myself out from under the cloud of darkness. I can put on a happy face but it will not help the state of my soul.
Only God’s grace can move me from sadness to joy again. We are reminded in Psalm 44:6-7 that our “bow” or “sword” can not save us only God can. I am weak and unable to save myself. But God can and will save me. He came down from heaven to save me! He will deliver me! My hope and joy rest in Him alone!
This is preaching the gospel to yourself every day; knowing you can not do it, but Christ can and will. I am weak but He is strong and will strengthen me. His grace is sufficient in our weakness.My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. "Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” 2 Cor 12:9
He will send from heaven and save me; He reproaches him who tramples upon me. Selah. God will send forth His lovingkindness and His truth. Psalm 57:3
Disclaimer: Depression can be a serious condition and you may need to seek medical help. Please know that it’s okay. It does not show a lack of faith or trust in God. Depression is not sin, although it can be caused by it. Depression can also be caused by a chemical imbalance or side effects of other medicines. So if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, feel like you want to harm yourself or can’t seem to even get out of bed please seek medical attention.