This subject could also be called “How To Get Through When You Don’t Feel Like Pressing?” There have been times in all our lives when we felt so alone and broken that we couldn’t even pray. You don’t have to answer me but I hope you can be honest with yourself. I have been honest and what you are reading is the result.
How many times do we go to work with that plastic smile and say, “I’m ok” when someone says good morning, how are you today? Inside, you’re saying, if only he/she knew how hollow I really feel right now. If I could really say how I feel, they would be surprised! Hey, I look good, every hair is in place, and I even have on two matching shoes, I must be all right!
How many times do we come to church and go through the motions? We struggle to get dressed and push to come to the House of the Lord. We are not pretending to be happy until we hit the door. Then the fake act begins and that smile appears as we say praise the Lord, good morning, I am o, so happy just to be in God’s presence today. Inside, we know the dark cloud is over our heads, no joy is there, even though we raise our hands in worship and even muster a shout to try and get relief. We have learned to mask our pain and loneliness. Hmmph, we’ve been doing it so long, we don’t know what else to do.
BUT SERIOUSLY…WHAT CAN WE DO? HOW CAN I SHARE MY DEPRESSED STATE WITH MY CHURCH FAMILY OR EVEN MY OWN? A friend has been dealing with depression since the death of her husband. She said she has nowhere to turn because it is sort of a ‘taboo’ topic in the church. She says that most churches only believe that people should pray and fast and everything should be just fine. Christians seem to shun counseling, therapy, medications, etc. Depression and other mental health issues are ‘of the devil’.
How many times have we heard these sayings?:
THE LORD WILL MAKE A WAY SOMEHOW, JUST PRAY ABOUT IT
I’M PRAYING FOR YOU, IT WILL BE ALL RIGHT AFTER AWHILE
THIS TOO SHALL PASS, JUST HAVE FAITH…
Don’t get me wrong, prayer does change things and God is an ever present help in the time of trouble. I know this to be true for myself. BUT I ALSO KNOW THAT DEPRESSION IS REAL.
People will do different things to cope. Someone may eat nonstop, then sleep for hours to escape. Weight problems escalate and the pain is masked by that. Another will shop for so-called bargains to hide the emptiness. In the Bible, the woman at the well may have looked to men to cover the hurt. And the list goes on…
With all that said, what hope do I have when I don’t want to get out of bed and I am in physical pain. My heart can’t stop hurting. What do I do when I call someone to talk and they end up telling me their problems? I help them as I always do and when I hang up, I am more alone than before. What do I do when I don’t want to smile and pretend that I am fine. What do I do to stop the tears?
Here are some practical things that helped me.
1) You must know that you are not alone, no matter how you feel. The enemy of our souls wants us to feel isolated and hopeless so we forget where our hope lies and what God has already done in our lives. Being human, we want to see results right away. Remember, you cannot see faith. It is the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1) If He’s done it before, He will do it again and again. I know He has brought you through something! Why do I say that? Because you are still here and reading this blog. Somehow you pushed and found the strength to seek help. Praise Him now because your help is on the way!
2) Utilize the Word of God for help through the rough days. Consider David’s words in Psalms 6:2-6:
2 Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am weak; O LORD, heal me, for my bones are troubled. 3 My soul also is greatly troubled;But You, O LORD—how long?4 Return, O LORD, deliver me! Oh, save me for Your mercies’ sake! 6 I am weary with my groaning; all night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears.
Sound familiar? It is very familiar to me! BUT WE KNOW DAVID WAS FAVORED BY GOD AND HAD A PURPOSE IN GOD’S PLAN. YOU ARE ALSO LOVED BY GOD AND HE DOES HAVE A PURPOSE FOR YOUR LIFE. Truthfully, not all our prayers will be answered in the way we want them to. Listening to testimonies and reading motivational stories can leave one with the impression that most prayers for help lead to happy endings. But, consider Paul’s “thorn in the flesh.” Paul prayed three times and didn’t get the response he wanted. 2 Corinthians 12:6-8
Jonah, Elijah and Jeremiah became so depressed that they no longer wished to live. Read these stories for yourself and encourage yourself with the knowledge that if God did it for them, He will do it for you!
3) Seek help if you need it. It’s ok to find someone to talk to. Counseling is not a taboo. Everyone needs someone to talk to sometimes. In a perfect world, we would be able to go to our churches without fear of your business getting out. I hope everyone will come to realize that playing church is over and we need to uplift each other, not tear down.
I purchased a book after my dad’s death in 2008 about dealing with emotional hurts. It has helped me so much with my own feelings and caring for my mom. (http://www.firstaidforemotionalhurts.com/) There are resources available all around you to help through the internet, libraries, etc. I found this website to be very helpful in finding out information on what I was experiencing. (http://www.upliftprogram.com/depression_stats.html)
Today, I can even admit that I still struggle with taking anti-depressants to help deal with anxiety and the pain of fibromyalgia. I was ashamed at first to think I was not strong enough to “just deal with it”. But the meds have helped me have a desire to be better. You have to work with your doctor to find out what will be best for you.
Practically, let’s stay on the real side. Ok, sista Vic…I heard all you said….I need to remember I’m not alone, I need to read my Bible and speak those things that are not as though they are, I need to pray, I can go talk to a counselor if my health insurance will pay. But I may not have health insurance or a job, what can I do? What can I do when it’s late at night and I can’t sleep? What can I do when I just can’t get it together? What can I do to get out from under the cloud?
Well, there is hope. It is two syllables but is one word that made the difference no medicine ever could. When you don’t know what else to do and can’t pray, just say JE-SUS! JE-SUS! JE-SUS! JE-SUS!
WHEN ALL YOU CAN DO IS MOAN, JUST SAY JESUS!!
JE-SUS – THE NAME ABOVE EVERY NAME!
JE-SUS – AT THE MENTION OF HIS NAME, DEMONS TREMBLE
JE-SUS – THE AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF MY FAITH
JE-SUS – THAT BRIDGE OVER MY TROUBLED WATERS
JE-SUS – THE KEEPER OF MY SOUL
JE-SUS – THE MAN WHO DIED FOR MY SINS SO I WOULDN’T HAVE TO
JE-SUS – THE ONE WHO CAN CALM ANY STORM OF MINE
JE-SUS – THE ONE WHO HOLDS ME WHEN I FEEL ALONE
JE-SUS – THE ONE WHO COMFORTS ME WHEN NO ONE ELSE CAN
JE-SUS – WHO IS NEVER TOO BUSY TO LISTEN TO MY MOANS
JE-SUS – WHO WHISPERS IN MY EAR THAT HE LOVES ME JUST LIKE I AM AND HAS REDEEMED ME UNTO HIMSELF
JE-SUS – THE ONE WHO CHANGED MY LIFE AND MADE ME A NEW CREATURE IN HIM
JE-SUS – WHOSE GRACE WAS AMAZING BEFORE I WAS EVEN BORN
COME ON SAY IT WITH ME NOW…TWO SYLLABLES, ONE WORD, JE-SUS!!
BECAUSE OF HIM, YOU ARE READING THE WORDS FROM A MIRACLE IN PROGRESS, AND YOU KNOW WHAT???? I KNOW IT FOR MYSELF AND CAN SAY WITH CONFIDENCE –
THE LORD WILL MAKE A WAY, SOMEHOW! EVERYTHING WILL BE ALL RIGHT!! THIS TOO SHALL PASS! MY FAITH DID SEE ME TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THROUGH!
TWO SYLLABLES, ONE WORD – JESUS!
HALLELUJAH! THANK YOU, JESUS, FOR ALWAYS BRINGING ME OUT OF THE DARKNESS INTO THAT MARVELOUS LIGHT!!
Until Next Time, I Remain Your Advocate for