Depression is possibly responsible for more pain and distress than any other affliction of mankind. The dictionary defines it as an ‘emotional condition, characterized by feelings of hopelessness, inadequacy, gloominess, dejection, and sadness.’ It is often accompanied by a difficulty of thinking, concentration, and inactivity. Depressed people often have a negative self-image which is often accompanied by feelings of guilt, shame, and self-criticism.
We all get depressed from time to time. However, some people battle depression their entire lives. I knew one friend who actually named his depression and would share that his ‘friend’ was coming over for a visit and wasn’t sure how long he would stay. If a person suffers from ongoing depression, it is good to seek a godly, Christian counselor for help.
When we get depressed we often are concerned only with feeling better. Depression may lead to many negative consequences, including suicide. Putting our life in order spiritually is a positive way to deal with depression.
I always encourage a person, depressed or not, to accept Jesus Christ as their own personal Savior. Christians are not without problems. In fact we have problems just like everyone else. However, as a Christian, I have some resources to help with all my problems, including depression – Jesus.
So let’s look at 3 things you can do when you are depressed.
1. Spend time each day meditating on the Bible and applying it to your life.
Since we are all born with a selfish, sinful nature, we tend to automatically do the wrong things and think the wrong thoughts. These things will lead to depression and self-destruction. To change feelings we must change thinking.
Our brain is like a computer. We must choose to reprogram our ‘computer’ brain to God’s way of thinking instead of our own crazy way of thinking. This can only be done by frequent meditation of God’s Word.
In Psalm 1, David compared a mentally healthy man to a tree growing by a river: “But his delight is int he law of the Lord (Bible); and in his law doeth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doth shall prosper.” In other words when troubles come, the Christian can remain stable and survive because of having been programmed with reliance on God’s Word.
2. Get rid of grudges.
“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath” (Ephesians 4:26). Anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness are a sure path to depression. Only as we forgive others, will we receive the peace that God’s forgiveness gives us. Many are depressed because they choose not to forgive. Holding anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Don’t allow your anger to hurt you. Forgive.
3. Spend time every day with your family. Do all you can to resolve family conflicts.
Intimacy with your family is more vital to your overall mental health than most people imagine. Much of our self-worth is based on our family relationships.
One of the results of depression is a person’s desire to be alone. Yet, this can multiply the depressed feelings. We sometimes need to force ourselves connect with family members.
It’s not just the quantity of time, but the quality of time we spend with our family. Take time every day to communicate with your spouse and children on a deep and intimate level. Cultivate intimate friendships with your parents, brothers, sisters, and other close relatives.
Don’t ever get vengeance on family members. Unresolved family conflicts can continue for years and years. Heal the wounds the best you can and leave the rest to God.