14.8 Million adults in the United States suffer from depression. If you are reading this article and you are suffering from depression, please get help.
I know the feeling. Depression and disappointment makes a heavy heart. Feels like Langston Hughes’ description of heart ache “Does it weigh down like a heavy load or does it explode?” My mother used to say that her heart hurt so bad she wishes she could take it out and put it on the counter.
But there are a few steps I’ve learned over the years that seem to help me shake these blues.
- Pray now. This seems obvious, but “you have not because you ask not” James 4:2 becomes their reality. But God is interested in every part of our lives, including our depressive thoughts. One prayer I pray is a prayer of exchange that asks God to take the thought that is depressing and heal it. I expect God to help change my thoughts so that I can see differently. For example, “Lord, I give this concern about my job to you. I give it to you for healing.” Scripture tells us to pray right then for relief. You don’t have to wait until you go home or are off from work. You can pray at the beginning of a harmful thought.
- Fast from Wrong Thinking. My sister asked me one day, “How are you doing?” Glad she asked, I began explaining all of my ruminations about the world and all of it’s problems. I was very depressed. Then, she asked a simple question, “What are you thinking?” This was the real reason for the depression. My mind was a host site for negative, nonproductive thoughts. We can replace these negative thoughts with the Word of God so that our minds are abstaining (fasting) from idol thoughts and deliberately thinking of His promises.
- Be Grateful. Sometimes, we are depressed because we wanted something and it didn’t happen as anticipated. Then, our attention is on what we didn’t get from God instead of all of the things He has done. One of the ways to overcome the blues is to pay attention to those things that are working. Pay attention to good things such as loving relationships, your pet, the beauty in nature and the fact that you were able to get up this morning. Holding those things in your mind as a meditation will break the cloud of depression and allow you to see that God is still with you.
- Do What God Tells You to Do. There is power and deliverance from following God’s instructions. Some of us are depressed because we know that God has given us an instruction – “something” He wants us to do and we’re running from it. These instructions can be difficult, challenging and frightening. So, we ignore the instruction and try to keep going. This can lead to depression and anxiety. There is a simple solution ask God, “What would you have me to do?” And ask for His help. And, He will answer your prayer. Following His instructions could free you from depression.
Then, praise God for the victory. He knows about you, cares and He has the answer.
National Suicide Prevention line 1-800-273-8255.