Dealing with Depression

Dealing with Depression

Depression is not something a lot of people like to talk about or reveal. I’m not talking about the light stuff. This is the deep down, “I just don’t want to live anymore,” kind of depression. I’m not ashamed to say I’ve been through it. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Through a testimony I gave recently, other people have approached me about their own depression. It is more prevalent than we like to think. The saddest thing about it is that because we hide what we are going through we miss the opportunity to connect with others that can help us. From my own experience, I’ve found that once you’ve gone down the darkest path possible in your thoughts it never completely leaves you. If I’m not careful it has its moments when it passes by reminiscently. Caressing my thoughts and darkening the edges of a forced smile. In a moment futility hits me… then I shake it off the best way I know how – with God.

As a Christian, I deal and have dealt with my dark moments with the Word. That double-edged sword that cuts deep both ways. Cutting the enemy/sin and also yourself with its pure and unadulterated TRUTH. A truth that acts like an ambient light, making no room for shadows. My prescription is a hearty daily dose of the bible. Nothing else has worked for me. Not even just reading other Christian books or listening to motivational speakers. It’s the word that He passed down to us to help in all our seasons that has proven my most powerful pill. In Philippians 4, Paul tells us not to let anything bring us down but to give everything to God so that His peace that passes all understanding would guard our hearts and minds. He especially tells us to think on good things; the noble, pure, lovely… The bible does that for me. It keeps my thoughts on the right things.

I recently read Esther and her story encouraged me. Here is a woman who did not know that God was placing her in a position of crucial importance and timing. Where her access to her husband, saved a whole race of people. Even knowing she could die, by just trying to speak to her husband – the king, she still went forward saying:

Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast for me; and neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. I also and my maids will fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law; and if I perish, I perish.
Esther 4:16 (AMP)

“If I perish, I perish.” Wow! that line hits me to the core. Esther was dealing with a situation where if she did nothing she would die, maybe not immediately but eventually, and if she did something she could still die. A seemingly hopeless situation. However instead of miring herself in depression, she stepped out despite her circumstances to make a difference. When I read accounts like this I feel strength and hope. Also, a giddiness bubbles up from right beneath my breastplate that makes it hard not to smile ruefully. In those moments, my thoughts leap into thankfulness and wonder.

How wonderful is our God! How excellent are His grace and mercy! The Lord of Heaven’s Armies so powerful is your might! Who shall I fear? on earth??? No one compares to you!

I understand how David could burst into song because of his God. Even when he was going through the worst moments of his life, he thought of God and rejoiced! As I wrote in “Women of Blood” the only audience you should really care about is the one On High. For Him, even when I’m feeling low I put a little bounce into my step, a little jig in my hips, and a smile on my lips that says everything is and will be ok. Soon my spirits are up. I want God to look at me and know that I am thankful for everything.

But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, “Great is the LORD!”
Psalm 40:16 (ESV)

In the Potter's Hands at notsoskinnydreams.com for spiritual guidance

In the Potter’s Hands

My previous post “Just Do It” sparked some interesting conversations between my pastors and myself. I received so much more insight as a result. The first part of the insight was FEAR. How debilitating it can be to our faith and to fulfilling the will of God in our lives. I was given yesterday’s daily bread to peruse over ( link)

My favorite line was:

In the light of God’s love and grace and truth, we can find courage, help, and strength to live for Him.

He gave us the Light of the World in Jesus Christ that dispels all darkness. For I equate my doubts and fears with that darkness. When I feel reassured by God’s promises and His word, they are dispelled. How does this tie in with “Just Do It”? Well To fulfill #1 and go in faith as Abraham did to follow the will of God we must defeat fear. How do we defeat it? By holding on to the promises God has given us. Holding steadfast to the knowledge that he is our ultimate provider and would not send us out on a task without preparing the way.

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)

Another insight I received was IMPATIENCE. That in seeking how to answer God’s call we can get off track by trying to do things our way. Instead of checking with him to show us the way to go to Madagascar, we plot our own way to fulfill his call to go. A good example that was given to me was of King David. He had good intent in taking the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem but his first attempt resulted in disaster (2 Sam 6:1-10). What King David had failed to do was to seek God in how to do what needed to be done. If he had he would’ve quickly discovered that God had already stated how the ark of the covenant was supposed to be carried (Exodus 25:12-14; Numbers 4:15; Numbers 7:9). His impatience and lack of seeking God’s guidance in fulfilling this task resulted in a death. If you want to read more about this, here’s a nice article to get you started: ecclesia.org.

What I took from all of this was that even when we know without a doubt that God gave us a command, hearing from him does not end there. The process in accomplishing his command still requires hearing from him every step of the way. Even if it seems tedious waiting to hear what we should do next, it can be disastrous if we don’t. Something that should have been done in one go now takes years because of our haste and our lack of insight. Another thing we must ask is when. God may give you a command today that is supposed to be enacted weeks, months, or even years later. Being sensitive to His will is the only way we can discern the right timing.

A third insight I received was that in the pursuit of fulfilling God’s command / will in our lives we can fall prey to many set-backs. Or at least what seems like set-backs to us. However these can actually be molding experiences preparing us for the task ahead. A popular phrase is “in the potter’s hands” where we the children of God are equated with clay that God can mold into any shape necessary for his glory. My pastor gave me this link to help me understand the whole process better. My favorite part of the article is:

God has to take us into the valley and put us through fires and floods to batter us into shape, until we get to the point where He can trust us with the reality of the vision. Ever since God gave us the vision, He has been at work. He is getting us into the shape of the goal He has for us, and yet over and over again we try to escape from the Sculptor’s hand in an effort to batter ourselves into the shape of our own goal.

I completely relate to what this says. In my own effort to fulfill God’s calling I have tried so many ways that weren’t his ways. Every attempt I made resulted in what I considered huge set-backs. After years of trying I felt really battered. I’d actually given up trying several times. The last time just passed recently. However, His call is persistent. Even when we want to put it down He wont allow us. Even when people think we are crazy.

But don’t lose heart in the process. If you have ever had a vision from God, you may try as you will to be satisfied on a lower level, but God will never allow it.
(utmost.org)

I thank God for the counselors he has put in my life. They have really given me a better perspective on my journey to be obedient to God in fulfilling His command to me. Now I know that as battered as I may feel about trying again, that all of it was for my good. I KNOW I am a better person today than I was in the past. I am stronger, more patient, more receptive, more loving, closer to God, and just so much more than I was. My potter is still molding me and I am allowing him to spin me freely in to the shape he desires.

(another resource that helped me was this video by Heather Lindsey)

Jesus asked, "Will you never believe in me unless you see miraculous signs and wonders?" John 4:48 (NLT)

Signs and Wonders

Am I the only one that waited for “signs and wonders” to confirm my faith? Confirm might be the wrong word. It was more of a feeling of jealousy. Miracles seemed to happen to people all around me except for me. When I say miracles I mean SUPERNATURAL MANIFESTATIONS. The kind that only God can do by stepping in personally. Think Daniel 5 when God wrote with his own hand cursing King Belshazzar’s blasphemy. Then think about testimonies people make today about supernatural events that God has enacted in their presence. Visions, healing, money appearing out of nowhere in just the nick of time, and even greater events. It got to a point that I actually would get annoyed at hearing another one of these testimonies. let me not leave out prophets that come and see into the lives of people. Yet I would always go “unseen.” It weighed on me heavily that I wanted it so much but He wouldn’t show me just one flash of his supernatural powers. I became the fasting queen, begging God to show me his power! It got so bad that I didn’t even care if it was good or bad. I just wanted something. Thank You God for not allowing the bad, and ignoring my foolish desires. Amen.

I’ve since been delivered from those selfish wants. They were selfish. God was doing many things for me, but I was always ungrateful because it didn’t seem like “magic.” The I see a burning bush and my hair goes white kinda stuff. Even in the way I was supposed to hear from him I wanted to HEAR from him in an audible voice. When I didn’t, I felt like I must not be “worthy” enough, or spiritual enough. Maybe my walk was still too early for that kind of special treatment. I know now that this kind thinking can get us in trouble. The enemy also answers in supernatural ways. You can get lost seeking gratification and confirmation in this way. If you’ve been waiting for supernatural manifestations, and something shows it to you, albeit not from God, it will be very hard not to turn your focus from God to something else. For now, I am asking God just to help me grow further in him. I do believe when he wants to use me supernaturally he will. However that is in his time not my time. In this season I am practicing patience and knowing him more. Instead of wanting to see “signs and wonders” I am praying for him to use me for “signs and wonders.”

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.”
John 14:12 (ESV)

For me, there is no better blessing than to be used by God for his works. My prayer is

In Jesus name, God use me for your work. I have died to myself and live for you only. My desire is to fulfill your plan in my life. Help me on that path. So I do not lose my way and seek you only in TRUTH. For my will is not important but only your absolute will in my life should reign sovereign. Amen.