Hope is the power to be cheerful in circumstances that we know to be desperate.
∼G.K. Chesterton, English writer & Poet
∼G.K. Chesterton, English writer & Poet
… be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…
Sometimes a person can get in the habit of negative thinking. They may habitually allow small things to ruin their outlook and hopefulness. For those with such a problem, the key to emerging from the valley of hopelessness lies in changing their habits of hopelessness. When one thinks of change, one tends to envision transformation in one area or another. Walking on water in trials requires transformed thinking; and when it comes to feeling depressed or down, the connection between thinking and profound change often centers on breaking the mental habit of hopeless, negative thinking. The scripture above tells us that the process of change comes from the renewing of the mind. Continue reading “Changing the Habits of Hopelessness”
Our theme in July is Overcoming Depression. In honor of that, I’d like to share my story of how I overcame religious confusion and disappointment in people. A disappointment that launched me into a period of depression. One of the hardest times that I’ve had in my walk with God is suffering under the burden of religious frustrations. It almost caused me to walk away until I remembered that the faith of Christ is right even if everybody doesn’t follow it. When I came to the Lord, I was so happy with church. I had great admiration for leadership and the message of Christ that was taught from the pulpit. Over the years, however, that picture eroded. As some of the pioneers died off, church splits erupted and arguments started, I was extremely disappointed in my entire religious group. For those that have never experienced religious disappointment, it can be extremely depressing. It’s a horrible feeling of uncertainty. Up to that point in my life, I had suffered hurts in many areas including health, finance, lost friendships, and misunderstandings, but I had never felt like leaving my denomination to themselves. Continue reading “LET IT GO! OVERCOMING DISAPPOINTMENT IN PEOPLE”
When a person goes through depression, often it is because of inappropriate or excessive guilt feelings. Guilt or self-blame can stem from a variety of sources. Surroundings and circumstances can overwhelm us, and problems become so internalized that the person often blames themselves for everything that is going wrong in their lives. This self-blame is a behavior that can cause ongoing bouts with depression and must be consciously put to an end. The awareness of this cycle of guilt can help victims of this emotional sabotage to overcome and lessen the effects of this line of thinking. In other words, the person should stop punishing themselves internally and realize that these problems are external. Continue reading “Inappropriate Guilt”
God spoke to my heart many years ago from the story of Elijah. In 1 Kings 19:4, when Jezebel was pursuing Elijah with soldiers, Elijah asked God to kill him because Elijah felt like death would be a better solution: “He requested for himself that he might die: and said, it is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.” (emphasis mine)
Don’t we feel that way sometimes? Lord, just get me out of here. I wish I could escape from this earth, this pain, this sorrow, or this problem. It surrounds me day and night. So here I sit here, night after night. Just get me out of here. I wish all this was over. I wish everyone and every thing would just go away Notice that Elijah slept! There is something about depression that makes you want to literally sleep your life away. You simply have no mental energy to get out of bed or interact with anyone.
Here’s a surefire way to beat depression, however. First, the angel told him to “arise and eat.” God wanted Elijah to get out of that place fast! The land of depression is not a place to linger. Joshua 1:6 says, “Be strong and of a good courage.” So be strong even if you don’t feel strong. Feelings do not make the man. Your commitment to God makes you who you are, not how you feel. Too many of us worship the good feelings we have in serving God rather than the God we serve. God did not promise us we would always have “good vibes” while we serve Him.
God gave Elijah the nourishment he needed for the journey, and God will give you a scripture or a thought that will help you overcome. The feelings won’t go right away, so you have to push past them. Resist the temptation to stay at home, close the blinds, avoid everyone, and not answer the phone.
Unfortunately, Elijah did what a lot of us do. After receiving instruction, he ate and lay back down. So many of us after hearing the voice of God cannot get the negative thoughts out of our heads. We hear the encouragement but have often gotten ourselves in such a negative pit of wrong thinking that it takes more than a notion to get ourselves out. So God had to come to Elijah again and tell him to get up! (I Kings 19:7, “And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.”)
Once you accept the level of depression Elijah accepted, it’s hard to move from that place under the Juniper tree. But you are still saved. You are still God’s man or woman, so you must get up and shine. The world around you needs your life and testimony. So keep running for your life. God will provide you a place of safety like he did for Elijah, but to get yourself there, you have to move!
Elijah felt so alone. He thought he was the only one who stood for the Almighty. It was his baggage of self-pity that made the world seem so small. But God gave him the encouragement. He told him “I have 700 prophets who have not bowed.” The Lord knows just what it takes to encourage each of us in a personal way. The lesson from the Juniper tree is get up and find that place in God that will help you move forward.