“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43:1-2
Note: Depression can be a serious condition requiring professional help. If you believe you are suffering from persistent depression, in addition to these spiritual helps, contact your physician or a licensed professional counselor.
Most people feel depressed at times. Facing a mountain of problems, some become discouraged. We may be disappointed about things that have happened. For some, this depression can be severe. In fact, more than 16 million adults in the U.S. experience at least one major depressive episode each year. Depression can be momentary, but it can also be persistent, lasting for months, years. Depression is not a simple black and white thing. There are many degrees of discouragement on a continuum into the most debilitating kind of depression. If your depression persists for more than a few weeks, you should certainly seek out a medical professional.
Christians are not immune to depression. We all face challenges and trials. We can be discouraged about our job, family, marriage or other circumstance. We can be confused about our direction and wonder what to do. We can feel overwhelmed by financial needs and sicknesses. We can feel defeated by sin and mistakes we have made. We can be burdened by unsaved loved ones and oppressed by the forces of darkness.
The Bible assures us that God has given us the power to be freed from depression. We might go through waters and fire, but God promises to be with us. And He promised that we would not be burned or be swept over by the floods of life. Today, if you feel overwhelmed by the weight of the world, turn to God. Repeat and agree with the words of Isaiah. Do not fear.
Be willing to wait on God. Psalm 40:1-3 portrays David mired in the darkness and waiting for the Lord. Much Christian obedience consists of waiting for God to do what we need Him to do when the timing seems very slow to us. If you can, insomuch as you can just make it a few verses, be in the Word every day. Even though in depression you don’t feel like fighting, give yourself that medicine every day.
Prayer: Father, right now, I entrust my life to You. Thank You that I can trust You. Take away my worries and give me Your peace. Thank You for being with me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
A practical way to overcome depression is to connect to other people. Social withdrawal is the most common telltale sign of depression. In depression, social isolation typically serves to worsen the illness and how we feel," says Stephen Ilardi, Phd. "Social withdrawal amplifies the brain's stress response. Social contact helps put the brakes on it.” Gradually counteract social withdrawal by reaching out to your friends and family. Make a list of the people in your life you want to reconnect with. Some easy ways to connect are:
- Phone a friend you haven’t talked to in a while.
- Write a card or note to someone who has been helpful or kind to you.
- Check on a neighbor to see if there is a need they have that you can meet.
- Call your local community center to see if you can volunteer to help.
- Find a place to serve at church.
MORE HELPS FOR DEPRESSION
Here are some online resources that might be of help to you if you are suffering from depression. Note, these particular suggestions are more practical than they are spiritual:
- SAMHSA Help Line (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services), 1-800-662-HELP. This service is open 24/7, 365 days a year, in English and Spanish.
- Common Depression Traps to Avoid from WebMD
- 20 Things to Try to Fight Depression from Healthline.com
- Info on Depression from the National Institute of Mental Health
- Info on Depression from the Mayo Clinic