I battled with depression for many years of my life. I was embarrassed to talk about it in fear of judgment. The truth is, everyone at one point or another has struggled with a form of depression. Depression is described as a mood disorder causing a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. There is a natural side of depression as well as a spiritual side. I am not a doctor nor am I in the medical field, therefore, I can only speak on my experience and what I’ve learned personally with my own battle with depression.
We must first recognize the root and/or source of depression. The scripture tells us in 3 John 1:2 “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” It is God’s will for us to prosper and to be of good health but because of sin, sickness and death has become part of our lives. I was ashamed to talk to anyone about my battle with depression because I thought people would condemn me but the more I did some research the more I realize I was not alone.
The Bible has several instances where some of the men and women that were used by God in powerful ways suffered a form of depression. The actual word “depression” may not appear in the Bible, however, there are several synonyms used such as discouraged, discontented, disquieted, distressed, grieved, despair, isolation, cast down, and broken hearted. Abraham in Genesis 15 shows fear and doubt and discouragement as he spoke with God about his condition and the fact that he did not have a seed (child). Job also suffered despair as he lost his family, cattle, wealth, friends, but never lost his faith in God. Elijah in I Kings 19 also suffered depression, after a huge victory, Jezebel sent a messenger to tell him that he was going to be killed which left him completely distraught. David in several chapters in Psalms describes his feelings of despair, guilt, and distress. Even Jesus himself in Luke 22:41-44, withdrew from the crowd to pray to his father to remove this cup from him. Your struggle is a sign of victory that will one day be revealed through you.
I have found these five practices to be extremely helpful when battling with depression:
- Pray. When you feel yourself getting down quickly begin to pray to God. In your prayer rebuke the spirit of depression that is trying to attach itself to you. Jesus in several prayers when dealing with sickness rebuked the sickness. In St Matthew 17:18 it states“And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.”
- Begin to Praise God. As stated in Isaiah 61:3 we are instructed to put on … “the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” Sing your favorite Christian song, Lift your hands in worship to God, Open your mouth and verbally bless and Praise God and you will immediately begin to feel a lift in your spirit why because light and darkness cannot dwell in the same place. When you are praising God, the devil has to flee. It maybe a struggle at first because we are dealing with spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12), but God has given us power over the enemy and any demonic force that may come against us.
- Keep your mind and heart clear of negativity. Sometimes we have to exclude ourselves from certain people and certain places in order to keep our mind and hearts clear from foolishness or anything that is unlike God. The scripture tells us in Isaiah 26:3 that he will keep us in perfect peace if our mind stays on him because we trust in him. When you are trusting and believing in God, it leaves no room for doubt and fear. Philippians 4:8 also tells us what to keep our minds on Him in order to be at peace. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Lastly avoid putting yourself in places or watching certain shows/movies or even listening to certain music that make you feel worse. Focus on God and his word and allow his word to transform your heart, mind and spirit.
- Make sure you have a support group. Find Godly counsel someone you can trust and confide in. I often isolated and withdrew myself from family and friends when I had an episode because I didn’t want them to know what was going on with me. Sometimes, it was hard for me to tell them exactly what was going on and why I felt the way I did. Many times I had no reason to feel down or depressed because everything was going well for me. That’s when I realized that it was a spiritual attack. The devil does not want us to be around people so he can continue to work on our minds. I am blessed with a very supportive husband who is spiritually sensitive and knows when I am going through an episode. He prays with me and sits down to talk with me and before I know it, I am feeling better. Never underestimate the power of prayer and meaningful conversations. Deliverance comes when we release what is inside.
- Lastly, LAUGH. Yes I know that sounds crazy especially when you feel like the world is falling apart around you but laughter is medicine for the heart (Proverbs 17:22). It’s hard to stay down if you laugh. Think about something funny, watch a funny movie, go out and do something fun. According to WebMD not only does research show that laughter helps you feel better but it also helps you burn calories. So keep on laughing.
Yes, there are so many things that can get us down in despair but the goal is to not stay there. You have to fight back with the word of God. You are a child of God that has purpose on your life. The devil’s job is to kill, steal and to destroy you (John 10:10) because he knows you have the potential within you to tear down his kingdom. Praise be to God that he has overcome the devil and sickness and death (John 16:33). We are healed by the stripes of Jesus (1 Peter 2:24) and we have the power to overcome these attacks. Remember you have the VICTORY!