Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
I am talking about the awful feeling of depression. What do we mean when we say, I feel depressed?
Now the primary causes of depression are:
Indecision – This is a built-in depressant that will destroy your peace of mind and increase your feelings of being trapped. Postponing decisions because you are afraid to say no or you are afraid of hurting the other person will only compound the hurt for everyone. We are better off putting our energies to living with the consequences of our decisions rather than avoiding the decisions themselves.
Anger – Depression has been termed frozen rage. Unresolved, repressed or improperly expressed anger in your life will inevitably cause depression! I heard about a psychologist who was seeing a lady and there was just enormous anger during a counselling session. She was so physically uptight that she broke her leg just getting up out of a chair in the doctor’s office.
Injustice – The deep felt need to right the huge wrongs so apparent in the world or in our own lives can result in depression. That is, of course, if we do not have the understanding that God is in control.
Powerlessness or Impotence – An inability to act, whether it be in decision making, anger or injustice produces crippling feelings of powerlessness. This can drive a person into depression.
Grief – Grief is a process we go through after any form of loss. Depression, due to many of the factors I have given above, will often be part of that process.
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Dealing With Depression
So what can we do about depression?
1. Own it!
It belongs to us and no one else. We have accepted it, nurtured it and even enjoyed it sometimes, so it is our choice to keep it or do something about it.
2. Identify why you are down
Is it due to indecision, anger, injustice or powerlessness? Is there guilt due to sin in your life, revealed by the Spirit but not yet repented, or are you punishing yourself after God has already forgiven you? Maybe it is a bit of everything but try to pin down all the different factors.
3. Change your self-speak
What are you saying to yourself that is helping to bring you down? Again, you need to own what you are really saying and ask yourself if it is really true. We need to have, as the Apostle Paul says, a sober self-judgement (Romans 12:3)
4. Eat well
This might surprise you, but it really helps to have plenty of protein in your system. Depression often robs us of appetite just when we need it most. A bowl of chicken soup may indeed be an aid to the sick at heart!
5. Praise God
Even when this seems impossible with our feelings so low, we can change our attitudes and our negative feelings by reading the Psalms and praising our Father through them. Psalms 42 and 43 are particularly relevant as the writer is actually going through this process of throwing off depression through praise. The Bible tells us that God inhabits the praise of his people. In praising God, we are inviting him in to an intimacy that will leave no room for depression.
Depression will occur because we live in a fallen world, but we can, by God’s grace, do something about it. Life can dig you a hole in the cellar, but you can choose whether you want to stay there!