Remaining faithful through depression is not something that comes easily to those of us who have been held down and enveloped in a sea of darkness. Many of us, want so desperately to be delivered and healed completely, totally and perfectly from depression. When that doesn’t happen, we can get a little frustrated with The Almighty Healer. We want so much to experience the abundant life Jesus promised us and yet, all we see is despair and brokeness.
We listen to all the pep talks from our well-meaning Christian friends and even sometimes from the pulpit we hear, “You just need a little faith”, or “You can do all things through Him who strengthens you”, or “Maybe God is testing you?”. All of these words that are meant to encourage us, just leave us feeling like there is something more wrong with us than we thought. We are left feeling more confused than encouraged and we go home more frustrated and more depressed than we were when we arrived.
I used to sit in church and listen to the Pastor preach and through the entire sermon, the tears would just flow down my face. I was so confused and frustrated and I felt completely and totally alone in my suffering. I knew what the Pastor was saying was true, but I didn’t know the how of it all. I didn’t know how to cast my cares. I didn’t know how to walk in victory. I didn’t know how to defeat the Enemy at the gate. I didn’t know how to be strengthened by the Lord and I surely didn’t know what it meant to have more faith.
I just didn’t know the how to’s of it all and I desperately desired was for my Heavenly Father to work a miracle in my life and replace all this darkness with His light, joy, contentment, and peace.
Oh, how I craved peace and it was one area of my struggle that I cried out to God on more than one occasion for. And it came, four years later. But, I had to go through a lot of suffering and learn a lot of things about God, and myself first.
In late Winter 2018, almost two years after I began coming up out of the depths of depression, I began to feel that familiar darkness creeping back in. I was frightened, and feeling like I would never be able to experience true, lasting healing this side of heaven. But, God spoke life into me and He taught me that I had been healed, I had been delivered the day He nailed it all to the cross for me. But, because of this broken world and the enemy prowling around like a lion, I was going to have to learn how to fight it, His way.
Remaining Faithful Through Depression
Remain In His Word
It may seem obvious, but when the depression began to creep back in, God’s Word was not the first place I ran to. I didn’t search God’s Word for encouragement, or comfort. I didn’t run to Him to see what maybe He was trying to tell me. Instead, I complained and then slowly the door began to open just enough that the enemy tried getting his grubby little fingers in to slam that door wide open.
In Matthew 11:28, Jesus tells us that if we come to Him, He will give us rest; and Romans 15:4 tells us that “through the encouragement of Scripture we might have hope.” It is through God’s Word that we can find encouragement, peace, rest and refuge. God will speak to us through His Word and it is through His Word that we find the hope we need to keep pushing forward and begin fighting from victory.
If at first, you don’t think God’s Word is speaking to you, don’t give up. He is speaking to you and He promises that when we seek Him with our whole heart we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:12-13). Our God does not scream to get our attention but whispers quietly to our hearts. We need to create enough space through the chaos to listen intentionally and closely for His voice.
Maybe you’ve heard this suggestion before, and you have for whatever reason avoided using it. I want to encourage you to give it a shot. Get yourself a plain notebook or if you want to make it fancy you can purchase a journal, or create a journaling scrapbook. The idea here is not to keep a record of your feelings; but, to take all your hurt, pain, suffering and struggles and turn them into power-packed, prayers. This is a private, yet powerful place for you to begin casting your cares at the feet of our Savior.
Post It and Pray It
When I was in counseling, one of my counselors suggested I keep a journal and told me that the reason for this was to get all my feelings out and then forget about them. That just doesn’t work. The enemy is good at reminding us of our pain and he will bog us down in the darkness if he gets the chance. When we take our pain and turn them into our prayers, we don’t want to just leave those prayers in the journal to collect dust. Posting our prayers where we can see them and pray them often not only knocks the enemy down but encourages us, lifts us up and draws us closer to our Heavenly Father, which is exactly where we want to be and where He wants us to be.
Create A Prayer Closet or Corner
You don’t need a huge walk-in closet in order to have a private place to meet with Jesus. Sure, it helps to be able to close the door and know that everything you pour out to God is between you and God; but, I also know that this isn’t practical for everybody, myself included. If all you have is a small corner of your bedroom, then use that corner. Post your prayers there, or keep your journal in that place. Make a date with Jesus and set a timer every day to remind you that it is your appointment time with Jesus. Use this time to pray, seek His Word, worship Him and sit in His presence. Simply being in the Lord’s presence is sometimes all we need to experience His comfort and healing.
Make It Declarative Not Interrogative
Make a decision today to stop questioning your faith, your relationship with the Lord, your decisions, your choices or who and whose you are. Decide you are not going to listen to the lies the enemy is so intent on declaring over your life. Instead, begin declaring God’s Truths over your life. When we begin making positive, faith-filled, biblical statements over our lives: our minds, emotions, and attitudes will begin to match up. Whatever we deposit into our minds is what we will start living out in our daily behaviors.
Proverbs 23:7 says: “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”
The mind is powerful, but it is tragically broken just like the world. It deceives us and is one area that the enemy will try to get a foothold if we let him. Sisters, we don’t have to let him. Our God is bigger than anything the enemy can throw at us. With God’s help, we can stop Satan in his tracks before he even gets started.
Every time the enemy tries to whisper in your ear that you are not good enough, you can say, “No, that’s not what My Heavenly Father says about me. My Heavenly Father says I am chosen, holy and blameless” (Ephesians 1:4a). Once God’s Truth becomes your truth, you will begin living your life as a child of the King, walking in and fighting from victory.
I have created Scripture cards that declare who God says we are in His sight. You can pick these up for free by joining The Every Chain Broken Community.
Stay Connected, Find A Bible Teaching Church, Seek Christian Counseling
I know too well how easy it is to want to just hide away and isolate from the whole world. I did this for a very long time and I promise you, it only deepens your pain. Being alone all the time creates the perfect environment for the enemy to come in and scream his lies at us. We need to be around other believers who can pray for us, lift us up and encourage us. Join a small Bible study group and drag yourself there every week. Go kicking and screaming if you have to, but go. Let your brothers and sisters in Christ pray for you, weep with you and rejoice with you.
Once you find a good Bible-teaching church, begin getting connected and serving others. Casting your cares at Jesus’s feet leaves room for us to lift up others who are struggling. We are all struggling, but we are called to lift one another up and bear one another’s burdens. Often, when we are serving others and making someone else’s day/week/month/year or life easier, it encourages and lifts us up too.
Seek out biblical, Christian counseling and be committed to attending your appointments. Christian counselors will care for you God’s way and they will pray with you, encourage you and provide you with tools to help you combat the enemy when he tries to take your mind over.
Please feel free to comment below. I’d love to hear your tips on how you have managed to remain faithful to our Savior in the midst of depression. Be sure to join The Every Chain Broken family using the form below to get your free Who God Says I Am Scripture Cards.