Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Depression vs. Joyful Trust in God

Bullying.  Low self-esteem.  Childhood abuse.  Neglectful, distant parents.  Guilt from your past.  Lack of money and success (by the world's standards).  Feeling stupid, unattractive, overweight, and worthless.  ...
All of this and more contributes to a person's self-image, how they perceive themselves, and the way they assume others see them.
Sometimes feeling low, hurt, alone, unwanted, rejected, and no good plays out in forms of seeking control (like having an eating disorder and this enabling you to control how much you exercise and the portions of food you allow yourself to eat - after all, the anorexic or bulimic asserts, If I have no control over my out-of-control life, at least I can control this).  It may manifest itself through self-injury, isolating ourselves from others, constant put-downs in our minds that ever seem to haunt and overwhelm us, or acting out by viewing porn often or being addicted to masturbation.
We may drown ourselves in the reading of many books or watch hours of television.  We may spend time with the wrong crowd because we feel accepted there despite our flaws.  We might even waste time on the internet just so we can be distracted from life's problems.  We figure that constantly having music playing or the TV running in the background will somehow drown out the noise of our insecurities or feelings of inadequacy.  ...and often times, we will find many other ways to cope with our stress, pain, poor self-esteem, or life's uncertainties (not thinking long-term as to how the choices we are making today will affect us into the future) instead of admitting to ourselves first and foremost that yes, we are not perfect and are in need of help, and then taking the necessary steps toward working on our issues.

Steps such as:

  • Reading God's word (which is truth and speaks honestly and brilliantly about the human condition of selfishness, guilt, and sin) and allowing God's thoughts in the Bible to shape our thoughts and to become the standard by which we measure everything...including how we see ourselves and view others
  • Pray to God as though you were speaking to your closest friend.  The Lord's friendship is different because unlike even the best of friends, He is always present, always trustworthy, always perfect, and always has our best interest at heart.  Psalm 62: 8, "Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us."
  • Seek Biblical counsel.  I cannot stress enough the importance of seeking help from counselors who know the word of God and will help you work through any issues from a Biblical perspective.  I have sought counsel over the last few years with a few different people and am always open to seeking help again if need be because I see the beauty of asking for help and learning how to cope with everyday life in a healthy, God-honoring manner
  • Write through email to Bible-believing, Jesus-following, integrity-filled churches and ministries asking for suggestions over resources they recommend that deal with your particular sin or problem
  • Stop putting yourself down.  This is something that took me several years to stop doing.  Several years!  I would put myself down as I saw others who were better off in life or prettier or more successful.  I would call myself names and rehearse again and again how unwanted and worthless I was and repeat often that I am no good, a reject, and haven't amounted to anything.  I would question God's character for allowing certain situations to go on in my life and family & became very angry, bitter, resentful, and envious.  I now see that rehearsing put-downs and the enemy's lies daily in my mind was adding fuel to the fire of my desperate and hurting heart & accomplished nothing but scars on my body through self-injury, tears when I felt overwhelmed, and distance between me and the Lord because I was so upset and felt incredibly alone.  I have discovered that similar to lust which is insatiable, putting ourselves down has the same effect: No matter how much we put ourselves down (or the ways we feed our lust), it will never deliver in the way we are hoping.  There were times I felt so low that I thought even the fires of hell would not suffice in the torture I deserved.  (Please understand these were my thoughts at very low times in my life and when I wasn't following after the Lord.  They were the words of a hurting teenager or early twenty-something who was sad and depressed.)  And you know what's amazing?  I am no longer that girl.  What was once darkness is now beautiful, bright sunlight (I love sunlight because it shines and is beautiful to behold - especially during Spring when it isn't too hot or cold outside and flowers and trees look lovely!)  What was once mourning has now turned into dancing (Psalm 30: 11).  What was once a sad and hopeless outlook with no hope for the future because I couldn't see past my current or past circumstances and experiences has now become a restful trust in my perfect Savior who has my whole heart (Second Chronicles 16: 9) and has set me free and made me new (Second Corinthians 5: 17), who has restored me (Joel 2: 25) and cleansed me from my sin (First John 1: 9), who loves me and who has put a new song in my mouth (Psalm 40: 3).
Readers, if you are hurting inside, please remember that it is NOT shameful to seek help.  It isn't even shameful to feel depressed or sad (we all go through times - or years - like this to a greater or lesser degree and there are many factors to how we feel).
If you would like to share what is on your heart with me, ask questions, would like recommendations for different ministries that address what you are going through, or just want someone to be an encouragement to you and point you back to the truth of God's word, you may write to me at:
" 'For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.' "  Second Chronicles 16: 9
" 'O our God...we are powerless...nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You.' "  Second Chronicles 20: 12
" 'The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You.  Trust in the LORD forever, for in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.' "  Isaiah 26: 3-4


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...