Sweet friend, I have been there. Actually, I was so deeply depressed that the best way to describe it is to think about the Grand Canyon with no apparent way out. That is how I felt. I felt too tired and weary to even begin the ascent back out. I was overwhelmed with the load. I could not go on the way I was going any longer.
I do have good news!
God healed me from depression. He broke the chains that bound me for far too long. He gave me a new beginning. I have never gone back. Now, this does not say that I am living in some fantasy world. Sweet friend, I KNOW depression. But, I hate it. I do not ever want to go there again.
Wondering, how do you stay away? How do you stop its vicious attack right in its tracks? That is why I am writing this. There are some very practical things that you can do when you feel the attack come on. In fact, you can try these things when you are in the pit. They will really help out. Ready? Try this…
Get a God-getaway.
Ok…let’s get real here. How long has it been since you have taken some time apart to get filled to overflowing with God? A while? One of the best pieces of advice that I got when I was in the pit came from a dear friend. I called her one day when I was really battling. She told me to get face down on the floor and just pour out everything to God–all my pain, all my disappointment, all my brokenness, all my anger, all my grief. EVERYTHING. She told me that I was not to get up until it was all gone and that sweet peace of God flooded in. She told me to realize that God, my precious Abba Father, was there and He wanted for me to pour out everything from the very depths of my soul. He wanted to bear that ENTIRE burden. At that moment, I was holding on and trying to handle my grief of losing 7 babies and my anguish over the disappointment in my spouse and the rubbish in our marriage. It looked like there was no hope. Yet, as I poured it all out, God flooded me with peace and that hope that I needed to get up and go on.
Sweet friend, what is going on? Have you taken it to your Abba Papa? Have you carried it long enough? Have you just poured it out? Sweetie, it is time to lay it down. It is time to run into the arms of your loving Heavenly Father and just pour it all out. Tell Him EVERYTHING that is on your heart. I know you may not tell your earthly father everything, but your Heavenly Father does not want you to hold back.
Mad? Tell Him! He can take it!
Don’t understand? Tell Him! Ask Him to help you understand!
Hurt? Describe it all to Him. Pour it out.
Disappointeed? Tell Him what you wanted and why you are hurting from the disappointment. Ask Him to show you HIS vision. Ask Him to show you why He would allow this to happen to you. Ask Him to show you His heart.
Dear friend, if you are down, broken, hurting, or downright depressed, it is time to get a God-getaway. Pull back. Pour it out. Soak Him in. Don’t get up until you feel that sweet peace rush over you. Don’t move on until you have that hope that can keep you going on!
Get a Quiet Time–DAILY!
I can hear you! You are saying, “But, Cindy…I don’t have time! My house is a mess, my life is a mess, and my kids are going crazy! The last thing that I can do is have some sappy quiet time!”
Did I hear you fully? 🙂
Sweet friend, I know you have 5 minutes. If not, it is past time to grab it!
Keep it simple and easy! Grab your Bible and dig in each day. Just read a bit. Don’t know where to begin? Try the Psalms. Many are bite-size. Just pull out your Bible, read the first one. Soak it in. Really sift it for a treat today. Each day, do the same thing. You are not on a marathon or Bible challenge. Just keep it simple and easy. Actually, this will not even take 5 minutes. In 5 minutes you could probably participate in a daily Bible reading challenge. I don’t want you doing that right now. Right now, be still. Soak in God’s Word. Let it fill those dry places. Slow down and let Him speak to your heart and soul. See what happens!
Oh! Maybe you have another hindrance. You don’t “GET” the Word. Sweet friend, I have been there. God wants for you to understand His Bible. Have you ever tried a different translation? There are countless translations and versions of the Bible. Some of them are written in everyday conversational style. Those just jump out with God’s love for you and His direction. Don’t let the translation be a hindrance. Look at newer translations or versions like The Message (my personal favorite) or NLT (New Living Translation) or NIV (New International Version)…on and on. Go to a bookstore and test it. Read a few passages. See how they speak to you. Pick the one that just draws you in and feeds your spirit and mind. It will make a big, big difference! 🙂
Quiet times don’t have to be hard. In fact, they SHOULD NOT be hard. Keep it simple and easy. Keep the focus upon pouring your heart out to God and listening to Him speak through His Word. Don’t go on day-after-day-after-day without your spiritual food! Make time each and every day for a quiet time with God.
Take Care of Yourself!
You are created in the image of God. You are spirit, soul, and body. You cannot neglect any of it without serious ramifications–depression is one of the most serious!
More than likely if you are down or depressed, you have neglected one or more of these areas for far too long.
Sweet friend, you HAVE to take care of yourself. It is not an option. It is not an extra. It is an essential!
I know the chatter out there about how that if you were a godly person, you would never experience depression. RIGHT! (reminds me of Job’s friends :()
That COULD be true. However, at one of my most precious times of my life spiritually, I allowed the enemy to take me captive and torture me with depression simply by not taking good care of myself.
Don’t buy the lie! Godly people DO get depressed.
In fact, think of some of the greatest men and women throughout history–Job, Elijah, Hannah, Spurgeon, on and on. They battled this giant. It had NOTHING to do with their position in Christ–their godliness, their righteousness. Well, except that the enemy wanted to devour them! Of course, he wants to devour and destroy all of us! You have to be on guard. If you think that spirituality is your safeguard, beware! The enemy will shackle you very quickly. Take care of yourself!
Take a Walk–Daily!
Want something that you could do that will make a big difference? Walk!
Don’t discredit it! Walking is SUPER for you. If you are depressed, how long since you have taken a nice walk? A while? Probably.
Grab your iPod and those walking shoes. Get outside. A 20-30 minute walk will do wonders. Try an hour prayer-walk. It will do MIRACLES!
You have probably read all of the perks through the years–balances your hormones, increases endorphins, clears your mind, Stills your spirit, gets you in shape, on and on. ALL of those things can help you when you feel down. All of those can help you walk out of the pit of depression. So, take a walk–daily!
Did you suspect that I would ask this one? Stick with me, dear friend!
Caffeine? Caffeine is mood-altering. It affects our ability to cope. I know it hurts, but try cutting it cold turkey–completely cutting it! Take an Aleve for the headache. Take a nap (a great idea anyway…more on that in a bit). You will begin to see a drastic difference in the way you feel emotionally.
Sugar? Same thing! Sugar will give you a rush of energy and excitement and will crash you out. Depressed, cut back your sugar intake. See if there is a difference.
Fruits, veges, proteins??? Are you eating a well-rounded diet? Are you eating a lot of processed foods? Try a fresh salad. Try baked salmon or chicken. See if these help.
Breakfast? Oh! YES! Are you grabbing your Coca-Cola or coffee and skipping breakfast? Wonder why you feel so tired and weary? Grab some hot oatmeal. Include some protein first thing. See if you get more balanced out emotionally as you balance out your eating.
Skipping meals? Humm…skipping meals and wondering why you feel bad? Talk about the worse thing for your blood sugar levels. And, blood sugar levels completely affect your moods. Every three hours, choose either a healthy meal or a healthy snack. See if that doesn’t help you very quickly.
Get Some Sleep!
Years ago, the first thing I noticed, as my doctor put me on Celexa for depression, was my need for more sleep. I could not help it. I crashed in the middle of the day every day. I also had to go to bed at a decent hour or I just crashed. It took about a year to get my sleep patterns regulated, but the change was as distinct as night and day.
Years and years have gone by. I still have to really watch my sleep. If I burn the candle on both ends, I pay. I don’t feel very well. I get grumpy. I get snappy. It doesn’t take much before I feel down.
I don’t want to go back into the pit of depression. There are certain things that I simply have to guard against. Sleep deprivation is one of the biggies.
How is your sleep? Are you staying up WAY TOO LATE? Are you getting up so early that you are sinking mid-morning? Are you able to slow down during the day and take a quick nap? Are you getting up all night with babies, sick little ones, or a sick family member, but trying to go on as though life is the same?
Sweet friend, you NEED your sleep. It is so important that God commands in Scripture that we even have a DAY OF REST. I think it is interesting why He says we need the Sabbath each week–to remember that HE IS GOD. Hummm…thought about that one? Boy, that hit me between the eyes!
For a long time, I burned the candle on both ends. It was because of many, many good things that I felt that God wanted for me to do. I was “helping” Him. OUCH! The “ox was always in the ditch” on Sunday. The work just could not be done unless I stayed up late and got up early. It did not take long until this really made me sick, physically and mentally.
Today, I am strict with myself about rest. My Sabbath begins each week on Saturday evening and always continues for 24 solid hours–more if I can. My daily bedtime is with my husband who gets up early. I rarely get up before him. And, if I am feeling bad or feeling down, I take a nap. It makes a world of difference!
So, have you been resting? God made you with a need for rest. He COMMANDS us to rest, just like He commands us to be faithful to our spouses, honor/obey our parents, never kill or steal or covet. Think about rest in that light. It is very serious when we do not rest. So, sweet friend, it is not an option–get some sleep! 🙂
Ok! If I haven’t meddled enough already, this one gets down to the heart. I only hit this one because we need to get honest. We need to get real. If you have battled with depression, too many people will tip-toe around this because they don’t want you mad at them. I am going to hit it because I want to see you HEALED. I want to see you WELL.
Is there anything you need to let go of?
Maybe it is your past? Has it held you in chains long enough? Or…do you enjoy fellowshipping with your sad story and wrongs that have been committed long, long ago. I am NOT making light of abuse or pain from your past. But, are you letting the enemy defeat you and steal your life because of that? When are you going to let it go so you can move on? When are you going to let God into your life so He can bring your healing? Do you love your past more than you love God? Trust me beloved, the healing feels much, much better than picking at the scab from this wound. You can be free! You can live victoriously! You can break from the chains that have bound you long enough. Just let go of that past–every bit of it. Unwrap every finger. Let it fall away. Grasp onto all that Jesus Christ died to give you!
Maybe it is unforgiveness? Ok! Sure that I am meddling? 🙂 Yep! And proud of it! Sweet friend, I am not making light of what was done to you. Instead, your only hope is forgiving. Forgive God for whatever you think He had to do with it–sweet friend, God is not the one who did that to you. Where was He? He was right there wanting to help you through it all. Have you run TO HIM or FROM HIM? It makes a big difference! Until we run TO HIM, we cannot grasp onto the comfort, compassion, healing, love, mercy, wisdom, and understanding that is ours. Mad at God, today is the day to pour it out and let that go! Forgive those who hurt you. Yes, everyone of them. Wipe the slate clean for them AND YOU. The big test is how you are able to treat them–can you welcome them with the same enthusiasm as your very best friend? Do you keep them at arms length and shut them out? Would you treat them just like your best buddy? If they asked for the same thing that your best friend asked for, what would you do? Our hearts are deceitful. They will keep us in chains. We need to learn how to walk in the spirit of forgiveness. Now, I am not saying to open the door for someone to abuse you again. I am saying open your heart to love again. To love them with 1 Corinthians 13 love–OUCH! Everyone of us needs forgiveness. Really realizing how easy it is for us to hurt others, including God, can humble us and bring us to the point of forgiving those who sin against us. No one can sin against us as much as we sin against God. We can offer up those wounds to God, knowing that Jesus paid the price to bring wholeness and healing to every one of those wounds. So, need to take some wounds to the cross today? Take them. Lay them down. 70 X 7 times if needed! Forgive! Let go of all unforgiveness.
Maybe it is unreasonable (AND reasonable!) expectations? Tired of trying to be super-mom? Tired of being a mommy martyr? Girlfriend, I AM DONE with super-mom! For years, people put me and my family in a position where me and my kids were expected to be PERFECT (for real!) because we homeschool…because I write about the godly home…because I teach Bible studies…on and on. People have been so presumptious that my children got sick and tired of the pressures. I did too! I decided that enough was enough. We had people tell us anything from what we were SUPPOSED to wear to what we were SUPPOSED to read to the Bible we were SUPPOSED to use to how I am SUPPOSED to feed my family to what we were SUPPOSED to act like…on and on. Maybe you battle with pressures from others that feel so pressing, yet are really unreasonable. We need to KNOW them and recognize them for what they are. We don’t have to GO THERE! And…let’s go one step further…reasonable expectations. There are times that we COULD get things done or we COULD expect ourselves to react a certain way. Yet, sometimes those very expectations become unreasonable because they are just plain and simple TOO MUCH. We are human. We all have limitations. We all mess up. Maybe you are down and out because you have tried to be little Miss Perfect for long enough and you keep on messing up. Maybe you are down and out because you have tried to be the model Christian, instead of just BEING who you are in Christ. Maybe you are down and out because you COULD do things, yet today you just need to pull back. Let go!
Maybe I have not even touched what you need to let go of…
…circumstances beyond your control
…broken, shattered dreams
Maybe today you know you are depressed–not just a little down. Is there anything you need to let go of? Right now, take it to God. Lay it down. Just let it go, sweet friend. Loosen your grip upon the very thing that has kept you in bondage. Empty your hands. Empty your hands so you will be free to grasp onto all that Jesus has died to give you.
God wants for you to have LIFE. Jesus called it life more abundant. Are you there? Are you living the life Jesus died to give you? Is it abundant? Lavish?
Or depressed? Down? SICK-AND-TIRED? Weary? Desperate for a change?
Today can be that day you have longed for. Sure, you might look around you in the natural and things would look the same. But, want to get a view from beyond your circumstances? Want to get a vision that gives you hope? Want to see what God sees? Your good news today is that things won’t always be like they are. You can be healed! You can break free! You can get a new beginning! You can beat depression.
So, what can you do TODAY? What is God telling you to do? Your journey from the pit begins one step at a time, hearing which step God wants you to take each step of the way. What is your first step?
Time for that first step, sweet friend. Step!