A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. – Proverbs 17:22
Spring dawned upon us yesterday, and it could not have come any sooner. I try not to let weather affect my mood, but with snow a constant element that I had to drive through, dig through, and slush through these past few months, I am beaming under the golden ball that is brightening my day. YAY for spring! Depression seems to be prevalent through the winter months. People tend to be “diagnosed” with the winter blues, and for good reason. Freezing temperatures keep people indoors, and the sun playing hide-and-go seek with giant looming clouds does not exactly encourage happy smiling faces.
BUT! And you know I was coming with a but somewhere in this note, I must bring to the light a beautiful verse written by Paul in Philippians that I had to remind myself of daily over the last few months.
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
When I think of the apostle Paul and the outrageous circumstances, he repeatedly found himself in for the gospel, it amazes me that he was full of joy. I mean this man was beaten, verbally abused, shipwrecked, abandoned by his closest friends, bitten by a poisonous snake, and imprisoned, and yet through all of these things he found JOY! Joy!
I know depression is the real deal. I’ve fallen into that black hole a few times in my life, and there is nothing that compares to that aching in the heart, the head, the body, so when someone says they are depressed, and I can tell that they are genuinely depressed, my heart goes out to them.
Depression can be brought on for different reasons. Different things trigger different people. My spells were triggered by death, sickness, and disappointment. In some instances, I got out of it in a few weeks. Other situations, it took me months.
Anyone and everyone can be affected by depression. No one is immune from its grasp. It does not distinguish between the wealthy or the poor, the single or the married, the successful or the unsuccessful, the student or the worker, the genius or the average joe. Depression is depression. It’s powerful; it’s real; it’s not for the faint of heart. It is a powerful weapon wielded by the devil to hack down everyone in its path.
However – and you know that I had a however.
There is something that is more powerful than depression, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. And what is the second fruit of the spirit? JOY!
No matter what your circumstances are, you can overcome it. You can, you can, you can. I cannot emphasize the can part enough, but you must attack it full on with the help of Jesus Christ. You must surrender it to Him. You must tell Him, you want out. You want to get over it, and you want His joy. Notice, I did not say happiness. Happiness is a fleeting emotion that is based on your happenings. Joy comes from the inside. True joy only comes from Jesus. A person can be joyful when his world is literally falling apart around him. Can someone be happy in every circumstance? umm NO! We live in a fallen, broken world. Pain surrounds us 24/7, but joy can be found in all things when we look to Christ.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete lacking in nothing. – James 1:2-4
Give your depression to Christ. Through Him alone, can you overcome it.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:37-39
Overcoming depression is no easy task, but remember that the Lord is with you always.
Whenever, you feel the fingers of depression creeping up on you, start singing to yourself: the Joy of the Lord is my strength!!
And do not be grieved, for the Joy of the Lord is your strength – Nehemiah 8:10B