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Loneliness, change in routines, the unknown future and the feeling that freedom has been stolen away is enough to cause many of us to feel depressed. Yes, I said it. That ugly word. The one we all want to hide from…the word we don’t want anyone to know about when it’s happening to us: depression.
Over my lifetime I have struggled with the ups and downs of hopelessness and despair. I wished many times I didn’t have this propensity. Like Paul who pleaded with God to take away the thorn in his flesh three times, I too asked God to take away my tendency to become depressed but it has never been completely removed. And while I have experienced victory over depression on several occasions, it’s situations like the pandemic that can usher those not-so-happy feelings back to the forefront.
Have you been experiencing sadness or hopelessness lately?
Remember it’s normal to feel down or sad from time to time, but when it starts to impact your daily life then it might be more. But there is no shame. Even King David experienced the feelings of losing all hope. His enemy was hunting him down with the intention of killing him. David was stuck in fear and despair…yes, fear can cause depression too! But in Psalm 143 David lays out a step by step plan for climbing out of the hole of despair. I like to refer to Psalm 143 as my prescription for depression and here are eight things we can learn from this prescription:
- Identify the problem (V.3)- David described what was causing his despair. He said, “My enemy has chased me. He has knocked me to the ground. He forces me to live in darkness like those in the grave.” The first step is knowing what the problem is…could it be the pandemic, financial difficulties, a diagnosis, or relationships issues?
- Express Your True Feelings (V. 4)- David didn’t hide what he was really feeling. He cried out, “I am losing all hope; I am paralyzed with fear.” Don’t try to deny your real emotions because hiding them increases their power. Instead, declare the ugly truth. If you are sad, lonely, hopeless, lost or empty…just say it out loud to the Lord.
- Remember What God Has Done (V. 5)- David recounted God’s goodness towards him. He said, “I remember days of old. I ponder all your great works. I think about what you have done.” This takes a tremendous amount of courage and faith when you are feeling depressed but do it anyway. Make a list of and write down all the ways God has provided and been there for you in the past.
- Reach Out to the Lord (V. 6)- David knew he couldn’t do this on his own. He said, “I reach out for you. I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain.” I liken this step to a baby who cries and reaches out to her mother for comfort. You too are God’s child and you do need Him…visualize yourself stretching out your arms to your Heavenly Daddy and Him embracing you in return.
- Ask God for Help (V. 7)- After reaching out to God David asked for help. He said, “Come quickly, Lord, and answer me, for my depression deepens. Don’t turn away from me or I will die.” Don’t skip this important step. Sometimes we have not because we didn’t ask for it. Make your requests to God. (Phil. 4:6)
- Tune Your Ears to the Lord (V. 8)- David positioned himself to hear what God had to say. He said, “Let me hear of your unfailing love to me in the morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I have come to you in prayer.” Many times we ask God for help but we don’t open our heart to hear His answers. Position yourself as David did. You can do this by reading the Bible or being receptive to the Spirit during prayer.
- Pray for God’s Deliverance (V. 9)- David prayed for God to rescue him. He said, “Save me from my enemies, Lord; I run to you to hide me.” Pour out your heart to God in prayer asking Him to deliver you from the depression and hopelessness.
- Seek God’s Wisdom and Guidance (V. 10)- David knew he needed God to show him what to do and to give him the strength to do it. He said, “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.” God can give us wisdom and insight during any situation including depression. Having a teachable spirit is critical and then, being willing to obey will surely help us to overcome.
When we feel ourselves sinking into depression we can turn to Psalm 143 as a prescription to help us get back up. However, depression can require professional help. If you’ve tried but the hopelessness that you feel is too strong then please reach out to a doctor. Again there is no shame. For years I went to counseling and when I combine the Bible’s wisdom and my faith in Jesus with counseling …well it’s a winning combination.
It takes courage to admit depression. But be assured I am rooting you on and I am inviting you to Chicken IN with me by acknowledging it when it happens. Yes, it stinks but it happens so don’t beat yourself up. Focus on what you can do…the action steps you can take. The prescription that King David left us in Psalm 143 so many years ago.
Here is a FREE download worksheet to help you take these steps and apply them to you today or when depression is present.
I’d like to invite you to join me on this Chickening IN journey to overcome fear, anxiety and depression.