If you’ve experienced depression in your life, God wants to reassure you today that you are not a “bad” or “weak” Christian. On the contrary! Whether you deal daily with the deep darkness of depression, or have experienced isolated incidents of its ominous oppression, God wants to let you know you are a “much-loved” Christian. He loves you! He cares about you! He wants to help you.
We live in an age of tremendous catastrophes. Disasters such as September 11, the Christmas Tsunami, and Hurricane Katrina are happening at an alarming rate. Reports of terrorism, war, violence, and distress fill the news. Add to this our own personal problems and many of us find ourselves overwhelmed or unable to cope.
What’s a Christian to do at such a time as this? If you find yourself or your loved one experiencing seasons of depression, here are some tips to help.
IT’S HEALTHY TO GRIEVE
If you struggle with depression because a loved one died or have recently experienced a personal trauma such as a debilitating accident or loss of a job, don’t try to sweep the tide of your emotions under a rug. If you do, one day when it’s least expected, you’ll slip on that rug and all your emotions will come pouring out in a destructive flood.
It’s important, even as a Christian, to allow yourself time to grieve. Many experts agree that we need a full year to go through the various stages of grief—the anger, doubt, confusion, and sorrow. We have to face each holiday and experience all four seasons at least once to adjust to the drastic change in our life.
During this year, however, it’s important not to let our grieving process ruin our relationship with God, with our family, or with ourselves. One way to do this is to evaluate your situation. Would it help to pay for a short-term housecleaner? Would it help to have friends or family bring over a meal at least once a week? Would it help to take a short break from work if it is financially possible? Would it help to volunteer at a homeless shelter to bring comfort to another less fortunate than you? Pray about practical things you can do during your year of grief to keep depression from overwhelming your soul.
LEARN TO KNOW YOURSELF
There can be many causes of depression. As surprising as this may seem, for some people depression can be brought on by lack of sleep, poor diet habits, allergic reactions to perfumes or soaps, or overstimulation to loud noises. Learn to be aware of what triggers your seasons of depression. Modify your lifestyle to minimize these opportunities.
JOIN GOD IN THE JOURNEY
God is here beside you with arms open wide. He wants to be part of what you are going through. Join Him in your journey as you learn to deal with depression. Look in the Bible for His followers who also struggled with depression such as Job, King David, Elijah, Hannah, and Paul. Read their testimonies and draw encouragement from their example. Read the Psalms often for strength to face each day. Print out a list of Scriptures on the link for Scriptures for Comfort. Post these Scriptures in places you can read them throughout the day. Spend time praising God for the blessings He’s given you rather than focusing on the losses you’ve experienced.
Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. –Isaiah 12:3, NKJV
Dear God, thank you for providing wells of salvation for my soul. Give me the strength to come near to these wells and draw water. Pour out a deep inner joy within my heart even as I am learning to deal with the depression that weighs me down. Help me grow closer to your heart in my journey. Wrap your arms around me and hold me close. Nourish my soul and refresh my heart so that I can carry on. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
For more encouragement and comfort, look for Depression: What’s A Christian To Do? at your local bookstore or at online bookstores such as Amazon.