Challenging believers in Jesus to think and act based on Bible truth.

On My Mind #48: Eight Ways I Fight Against Being Depressed

Well, this could totally fail, or this could be helpful.  As usual, let me clear up a few things I’m not doing.

  1. I’m not writing a clinical directory for handling depression.
  2. I’m not writing in judgment of anyone who struggles with depression.
  3. I’m not telling you that what works for me will automatically work for you (see the title).

What is going on here is that I am simply sharing some encouragement.  I am willing to fight when I am depressed.  Here are some things I do when those seasons come.

1. I remember God’s truth.

When I am down, it is usually because I am struggling to understand why things are happening, or because a lot of things are going wrong at once.  In these situations, I am focused on my view of things.  When this happens, I must focus on God’s version of things.  The unknown is not for me to figure out – it is for me to trust.  I cannot let the weight of trying to understand why everything is happening consume me, so I do my best to spend extra time in prayer.

2. I focus on Scripture.

This is especially true in the times when I’m up at night and can’t sleep.  I recently went through a stretch where I was awake most of about 5 nights in a week.  Certain Scriptural passages (the sermon on the mount, Psalms) really help to re-orient my thinking to trust in God.  These passages are full of truth which help keep my mind sharp and reveal to me the lie that worrying can fix things.

3. I pray a lot.

This seems really silly to say, but let me explain.  I pray specifically about the situations that have me stressed.  I pray specifically for anyone I’m having a hard time communicating with.  I pray specifically about the unknown and I ask God to help me understand this season.  And, yes, I tell God I’m struggling with being down and I pray for specific encouragement.

4. I give thanks for trials.

I believe the enemy gives us trials to destroy us.  I cannot stand for this.  The Bible gives us a totally different view on struggle and trial.  The Bible says trials can deepen our joy, bring about greater resolve, build character, and ultimately hope.  The first portion of Romans 5 is an excellent place to grasp this truth, as is James 1.  It’s no fun to ask God to bring something good out of your trial.  Honestly, it’s more fun to pout, throw a pity party, sulk, complain, whine, .  . . can you tell I’ve had practice?  But those things do not lead to my growth.  I encourage a little release of frustration – God is ready to hear our frustration, as the Psalm writers indicate by pouring out their frustration from time to time.  But extending this only breeds a bitterness that just isn’t necessary.  I encourage you to let your trials bring trust.

5. I give praise when He shows specific encouragement.

Without fail, there are specifically encouraging things that happen.  Conflict is resolved.  A door to communication is open. You realize you’re growing because His kindness leads you to repent of ways you’ve sinned and failed.  These are all precious results of trusting God through difficult times.  It’s never fast, never simple, but neither is life.  Don’t expect immediate results like you expect the Crunchwrap Supreme to be made in minutes.

6. I force myself to stick with the routine.

It is my tendency to withdraw when I’m frustrated.  So, when I have that temptation, I do my best to fight it.  I show up where I usually show up.  I spend time with people I normally spend time with.  This reminds me the depression is not winning.

7. I treat myself – a little.

When I’m struggling, I might get one more meal of fast food, or have an extra can of pop – just as a little boost.  Hey, it’s probably an American thing, but it’s true.  It’s something that helps me cope and is in no way some false tool to mask the difficulty.  It’s not like I’m putting away 8 Big Bufords in a week and going through a case of Sierra Mist (although that really does sound fun to try sometime!).

8. I only talk about it with people I trust – and I only do so in person or via phone.

For me, it’s tempting to let seasons of struggle be the theme of every conversation I have.  I may get on the wrong side of this, but I really only try to share the struggle with people who will give meaningful encouragement and genuinely pray for me.  This rules out the desperate Facebook posts or the “look at me, I’m really struggling” type of conversations that are so tempting to me.  I think they really only bring false security.

In closing . . .

I hope you have found this encouraging and can use any or all of this.  I’m not qualified to speak to longer seasons of depression, because I haven’t experienced them.  I’ve known several who have struggled longer term and eventually emerged from those seasons, so don’t be discouraged if you’re in a longer season. No matter the struggle, lean on God and then turn to trusted friends.  He is the shepherd, capable of leading and guiding.  I hope He will bring good things out of any struggle you may be facing! Feel free to write my e-mail at burkholder.kevin@gmail.com with any specific questions or prayer requests you may have.

 

Speak Your Mind

*