Sunday, August 12, 2007

Overcoming Depression

This morning in church, our Pastor taught us how to overcome depression.  He believes (as I do) that there are times when a person needs the help of others, and even medication, to overcome a deep depression.  But there are other times we allow ourselves to wallow in the blues of self-pity, or the "pit of despair" when we could take steps to overcome that depression.

We often fall into depression because we are not caring for our physical needs, or our spiritual needs.  We begin to believe our feelings (which lie to us), compare ourselves or our situations with others, and focus on the negative things in our lives, even to the point of exaggerating them.  We turn inward, instead of to God.  We take on false blame, blame others around us, and vent our anger and despair to those around us.

As Moms, we can easily become so focused on our many responsibilities (homemaking, homeschooling, homesteading, outside ministries, finances, part-time work, or large families) that we neglect our physical and spiritual health.  Is it any wonder, that we find ourselves battling self-pity, anger, and negativity? 

I've found (as my Pastor also taught today) that I can regain my joy and my sense of perspective when I take care of my physical needs, and my spiritual needs.  First, as Elijah did in 1 Kings 19, we must care for our physical needs.  For me, two nights of good long rest are an amazing start to overcoming depression.  I can avoid being in this situation again by continuing to care for my physical needs:  

  • Rest!

  • Eat properly! 

  • Take good quality vitamins, including extra Omega 3 oils and B vitamins.

  • Exercise to increase your energy and health. 

Also, turn to God.  Pour out your heart to Him, instead of your friends and family.  Listen for His direction.  Believe that He loves you and has a purpose for your life, and your current situation.  Remember that He has promised that He will never leave you, nor forsake you.   (Deuteronomy 31, Joshua 1, 1 Chronicles 28, and Hebrews 13)

We ended our service today by singing the uplifting hymn "I've Anchored In Jesus" by Lewis E. Jones:

Upon life’s boundless ocean where mighty billows roll,
I’ve fixed my hope in Jesus, blest anchor of my soul;
When trials fierce assail me as storms are gathering o’er,
I rest upon His mercy and trust Him more.


I’ve anchored in Jesus,
the storms of life I’ll brave,
I’ve anchored in Jesus, I fear no wind or wave.
I’ve anchored in Jesus, for He hath power to save,
I’ve anchored to the Rock of Ages.

He keeps my soul from evil and gives me blessèd peace,
His voice hath stilled the waters and bid their tumult cease;
My Pilot and Deliverer, to Him I all confide,
For always when I need Him, He’s at my side.


He is my Friend and Savior, in Him my anchor’s cast,
He drives away my sorrows and shields me from the blast;

By faith I’m looking upward beyond life’s troubled sea
There I behold a haven prepared for me.


A few weeks ago, we sang the worship song, "Trading My Sorrows"This is another song that reminds me that my joy and strength comes from the Lord, not any of the situations I am facing. 

I'm trading my sorrow
I'm trading my shame
I'm laying it down for the joy of the Lord

I'm trading my sickness
I'm trading my pain

I'm laying it down for the joy of the Lord

And we say yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord Amen

I'm pressed but not crushed persecuted not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed

I'm blessed beyond the curse for his promise will endure
And his joy's gonna be my strength

Though the sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes with the morning

I've personally found myself depressed because I was neglecting to care for myself physically and spiritually.  I began to look at the situations around me, the struggles, and my emotions instead of focusing on God.  When I do this, I sink into depression, self-pity and anger, just as Peter sank when he took his eyes off Jesus and looked at the size of the waves around him.  (Matthew 14) 

I've written about times I've experienced that previously:  Joy Comes In The Morning, and Mother Culture and Mother Care

If you're struggling with depression, anger, self-pity, fear, and comparison ... anchor yourself in Jesus.  Lean on Him, confide in Him, rest in His love for you and His will for your life.  Take care of your physical needs, and focus on God's Word.  His Word does not lie, although our feelings and thoughts will.


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