How to Deal with Depression – Part Two
Last week I gave some standard ideas for dealing with depression. Check out my blog here. In that blog I shared that I recently have been struggling with depression. We have had some difficult situations in our family, and I was feeling anxious and fearful about our future.
My wonderful, sweet husband asked me if I was able to receive comfort from the Lord when I was feeling low. I told him that Jesus felt really far away from me. He asked why? I said everything seems so hopeless. He said I have a lot of head knowledge about God, but he sometimes wonders if that knowledge penetrates to my heart. (Of course, that wasn’t what I wanted to hear right then!) I said he couldn’t understand what it felt like to be depressed given that he never suffers from it. He agreed that was true, but challenged me to spend some time with the Lord, asking Him to meet me in my place of real need.
I love the Bible, and have received great comfort from it in the past. That day, however, I was so depressed; I couldn’t focus on the words I love so much. I decided to turn to Christian music. I went to iTunes, and selected several songs where the singers despair, yet find hope because God is there with them in their pain. Here is the list of the songs I listened to that day:
“Even If” by Kutless
“Remind Me Who I Am” by Jason Gray
“Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies)” by Chris Tomlin
“Already There” by Casting Crowns
“One Thing Remains” by Kristian Stanfill
“Not for a Moment (After All)” by Meredith Andrews
“Need You Now (How Many Times)” by Plumb
“Pray”, “We Will Never Give Up”, and “Promises” by Sanctus Real
“Help Me Find It” by Sidewalk Prophets
“Who You Are” by Unspoken
“Stonger” by Mandisa
“Beauty in the Broken” by Hyland
While I listened to these great songs, I turned them into prayers that I spoke out loud to The Lord. I will give you an example of how I did this. In “Whom Shall I Fear?” Chris Tomlin sings:
I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies is always by my side
The one who reigns forever, he is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side
And nothing formed against me shall stand
You hold the whole world in your hand
I’m holding on to your promises, you are faithful, you are faithful…
During this song, I spoke aloud:
Jesus, I know you go before me
I know you stand behind me
You are the God of angel armies, and you are always by my side
You will reign forever; you are a friend of mine
You’re the God of angel armies, and you’re always by my side
And no problem or person against me will stand
You hold the whole world in your hands
I’m holding on to your promises, you are faithful, you are faithful Jesus…
(For a really interesting read, check out 2 Kings 6:15-17 to read about a time when God used his angel armies.)
After a couple of hours of speaking the truth of God’s word out loud in this way, I began to get a proper perspective on my current circumstances. Yes, the problems still exist, and I don’t know how they will get resolved. But the God who created the universe is standing beside me, and he will never leave me, nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). If he can keep the world spinning without my help, I know he will be able to handle my problems. He may not resolve them the way I would like him to, but I can trust him to work them out in a way that will grow me closer to him (if I let him), and will glorify him in the process.
Once I spent this time with Christian music, I was able to turn to the Psalms. David (the shepherd boy who killed the giant Goliath with one stone, and later became the king of Israel) wrote many of the Psalms. The Psalms were written to be sung. In them, David is honest about the hard times he experienced, (people trying to kill him, etc.). He often asks God to destroy his enemies. But in each psalm, he turns his eyes to the Lord, and praises him for his goodness and faithfulness.
If you follow me on twitter, or have friended me on Facebook, you know every Monday I quote a verse or two from the Psalms that apply specifically to abused women. Here are some psalms you might like to read for yourself:
Psalms 25, 27, 30, 31, 34, 37, 91 to name just a few.
Here is one of my favorites. Psalm 77 verses 1 – 12:
I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.
When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
at night I stretched out untiring hands,
and I would not be comforted.
I remembered you, God, and I groaned;
I meditated, and my spirit grew faint.
You kept my eyes from closing;
I was too troubled to speak.
I thought about the former days,
the years of long ago;
I remembered my songs in the night.
My heart meditated and my spirit asked:
“Will the Lord reject forever?
Will he never show his favor again?
Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
Has his promise failed for all time?
Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?”
Then I thought, “To this I will appeal:
the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.
I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
I will consider all your works
and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”
I pray that if you are feeling depressed, you will also be able to turn to the Lord in this way, and that he will comfort you.