How to Stay Afloat in the Depths of Depression: Part 4

 

girls with flower

{This week, I bring you my battle plan. Living the depressed life can be demoralizing; I know all too well the debilitating drain. But we must not give up the fight–there is hope for us, sisters. It’s all about scrupulous self-care. Read on, and be well. XOXO, Leslie}

Hit Refresh With God’s Word

Daily quiet time with the Lord is essential for every believer. So also with those of us prone to depression. Drinking in His Truth is one of our most basic needs—and helps us to stay afloat when the enemy’s lies come calling, threatening to pull us under. I recommend a daily diet of strategically chosen Scriptures, that may vary from person to person, but that will ground us in His life-giving Word. [Click here for my Depression Survival Guide, containing such Scriptures.]

Hiding His Truth in our hearts (ie, memorization) will equip us in those caught-off-guard moments of mental weakness, to rebuke the lies attempting to ensnare us.

 Prayer

Each day for the believer is a battle. We need to prepare ourselves accordingly—by getting ourselves “prayed up”. This includes outfitting ourselves—we’d never go into literal battle without being sufficiently armed. Therefore we need to suit up in the armor of God, as detailed in Ephesians 6:10-18:

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

When listening to a teaching on the 23rd Psalm recently, one verse in particular struck me: “You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” Psalm 23:5 (NIV). The speaker mentioned how shepherds (both in the Bible times and today) pour pest-resistant oil over their flock’s heads, rubbing it especially around the sheep’s eyes and ears…as a preventative measure. To deter pests.

As one who suffers from depression, this one jumped off the tissue page at me. After all, what can be more bothersome than the enemy’s pests, sent to distract and ultimately derail me from my God-given purpose? It’s my head where the trouble resides, so why not pray for strategic covering?

Recently, when reading Dr. Don Colbert’s The New Bible Cure for Depression & Anxiety, I learned a profound yet simple trick: pray over your medication or supplements before you take them. I’ve since employed this strategy–doesn’t it make sense that the God who gifted scientists with the ability to compound these remedies would bless their integration into our systems, and enhance their efficacy? I think so. Don Colbert, MD, The New Bible Cure for Depression (Lake Mary, Siloam, 2009), 83.

Worship Restores Us

“Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, Lord.” Psalm 89:15

“Worship releases the ocean of God’s grace…restores us to our original, intended state of being.” -Pastor Jeff Rasor, Faith Bible Chapel, Arvada.

When we worship, we enter the Spirit realm. The game changes as we fix our gaze on God. Our problems fade away, His greatness engulfing the atmosphere. In His presence everything is simpler; for there we can rest. Trust. Be afforded clarity in this sacred space.

On a Saturday afternoon not long ago, as I was preparing to serve for the weekend on our church’s worship team, the Holy Spirit laid a word on my heart, which I texted to our worship pastor to encourage those that were weary. I’m including it here, in hopes that it will continue to minister:

“An encouragement to those beaten down, seemingly stuck in your painful place today, who feel rendered silent here in worship by life’s pain: Come…come worship. ESPECIALLY NOW. I’ve battled most of my life with depression and often found the last thing I’ve felt like doing was worshiping. But in this painful place, God’s continually called me out to do just that. And I’ve experienced Him even more amazingly than in the easy seasons, when I’ve been nicely pieced together, whole and happy.

In our brokenness, our worship is amplified in the heavens, more vibrant and beautiful; because we’re tender–worn raw. In our pain, we’re more translucent with our Savior. We’re broken down; thereby infinitely more thirsty for Him. Open your mouth in worship to Him, and open your broken heart to His healing touch. Even your broken offering is priceless to Him.”

If you’re not musical, just turn on praise music and allow it to wash over you… remembering that even our imperfect, paltry offerings are beautiful to God.

woman sitting in light pic

 

Lastly, have a “Downward Spiral Plan”

A plan of attack, literally. Because a depressive downward spiral is spiritual attack (at least in part); our enemy can set our emotions snowballing, gaining such momentum it can seem impossible for us to harness and bring them under submission. So you need a plan—Scriptures and other encouragements to read to talk yourself down; to soothe your screaming soul, wound tightly in negativity, as to suffocate the very life out of you.

I’m working on this one. Sometimes when I start spiraling, I’m so despondent that going to fetch my “plan” seems like too much; I’d almost rather wallow in my despair than fight my way out. That’s why it’s important to have it readily available–like, in your Bible, saved as a note on your smartphone, or front and center on your desk, where you can’t help but see it. Arm yourself with a plan, and beat the enemy at his own sinister game. [Click here for my Depression Survival Guide, designed to impede the downward spiral.]

Well, sisters, we’ve covered a lot of ground this week…my prayer is that those of us afflicted by depressive darkness will find relief and solace in the employment of these strategies, in tandem with God’s guidance. That we’ll find greater wholeness and health, enabling us to stay afloat in the depths of depression.

“…the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Matthew 4:16 (NIV)


Depression Series{Navigating Depression: What Every Woman Needs to Know} is a month-long blog series devoted to the disorder. Read stories of women who have traversed its stormy seas. Receive encouragement and be equipped for your own battle against the darkness. Garner understanding, bleeding empathy for afflicted loved ones.

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