We recently lost an employee at my company to suicide. And the awareness of how many people struggle with depression has been heavy on my heart. As Christians, we can pretend that depression doesn’t happen in the church, but that just isn’t true. I have many women in my life who have struggled with depression, and they are women who LOVE Jesus. Depression does happen in the church, and probably more than we would like to admit. I can tell you all day that you are HEALED, but it won’t make a difference in your life until you receive the healing in the areas you need. Because the simple truth is, we live in a broken world and will not be completely healed until we get to heaven. The blood of Jesus is enough to set you free, but we have to stand firm on HIS word, even when we don’t necessarily feel like it. So I am going to attempt to tackle a hard subject, and give you some tools to use when you are feeling down.
Mayo Clinic describes depression as “a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest.”
Now let me give you my view on depression. There are a few different types of depression:
- Physical Depression– There is scientific proof that people have a chemical imbalance that causes depression; this is the type of depression that Mayo Clinic is talking about in the above definition. We cannot discount this depression in the church! YES, God can physically heal our bodies! But I don’t know why he chooses to heal some sickness and lets us endure others. If your depression is physical, these tools can be part of your treatment plan. (If you are seeing a health care doctor, please continue your treatment.)
- Mental Depression– We have a war going on in our minds. You can mentally have a case of depression by meditating on the negative thoughts; let’s call this the typical stinking thinking. What you focus on in your mind is what will be in your heart. Therefore, if you are focusing on the negative, you will feel negative.
- Spiritually Oppressed Depression– You have a big target on your back, and you are battling the enemy. Depression can mean you are afflicted or getting attacked spiritually. We are in a battle with the enemy. Spiritual Oppression can be closely related to number 2 if we are focusing on the battle instead of the promise of God’s word. God calls us to focus on his truth that He already has the victory, but I know too well how hard the enemy works to get us to focus on the battle.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual host of wickedness in heavenly places.”- Ephesians 6:12
- Circumstantial Depression– The circumstances in your life are causing depression. You may be in the worst circumstances of your life, for example, you may have had a loved one die, had a bad break up, lost a job. Your depression is caused because those circumstances are consuming you. Remember there is no circumstance on earth that is bigger than God. Also, can be related to number 2.
No matter what type of depression you are dealing with, or if you are dealing with all, you can overcome this! All four of these areas can be healed by the power of the Holy Spirit! But we cannot just sit back and let the depression overwhelm us. We have to live intentionally, suit up and stand our ground. God has given us the tools we need to defeat the enemy. So when you start feelings hopeless or extreme sadness, or no interest in the things you should be interested in, it is time to go to war.
TIPS TO DEFEAT DEPRESSION:
- Invite God into this battle. You cannot and do not have to do this on your strength. You need HIS power, grace, and HIS blood to cover you.
- Seek God first. – Even if you don’t feel like it!
- Read his word.– Don’t just read through a book in the Bible. But meditate on his truth. Sometimes one scripture is all you need to conquer a battle. Sit and meditate on the meaning, get the word in your heart. Anyone can memorize a scripture you need to get the word in your heart not your head. (See scriptures below.)
- Pray! Talk to God about it. If you are having a hard time, tell him! If you are angry, tell him! If you are hurting, tell him! He knows and sympathizes with everything you are feeling. Talking to Him about it can start to heal you. Ask God to heal you! So often I complain about a problem, but am I even asking God to heal me in that issue? He hears us!
- Get some worship on. Worshipping can change the attitude of your heart. Instead of focusing on what is wrong, just start worshipping Him. Even if everything in your life has fallen apart, God is still good. Thank him for who HE is.
- Expect healing. You may not be healed yet. You may have physical depression and an imbalance of chemicals. We don’t want to ignore this fact. But we can say I am sick, but God is going to heal me. I struggle with some hard battles, even though I am saved and free. I have struggled with BAD insomnia for over a year. But I have to keep the mindset that God is healing me! Expect that your healing miracle is already in process.
- Claim your identity. So much of our battle is standing firm on who God created us to be even when we don’t feel like it. When you have feelings of insecurity and are feeling like having a pity party in your life, you should go right to claiming your identity. You are not your depression! You are not this battle! You are not a failure! You are a child of God. You were created for a mighty purpose. Your life is valuable to God. You are more precious than rubies to Him. You are wonderfully made! God looks at with love and grace and admiration.
Repeat after me: DECLARE THIS! I am a child of the living God. I am Gods, and He is mine. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I rebuke the thoughts of depression. I confess that I have allowed the enemy to speak into my life. I rebuke any area that I may have given the enemy permission. I claim the blood of Jesus on my life. By the blood I am healed, I am set free, I am washed clean! I boldly speak that the enemy is under my feet, and sin and death no longer have a say in my life. I am a conquer, in HIM. I am valuable. My life is valuable. God is excited that He created me and has a purpose for my life!
- Confess. Let me be blunt, sin can make you sick. I am NOT saying that all depression is caused by sin because that is not true! I have had people assume I am in sin because I am in a hard battle, and that’s not fair because sometimes you are in a hard battle because you are doing everything right. So I am not saying that! But I am saying if there is habitual sin in your life, it could be causing you to feel separated from God, which could cause depression. God may want to free you from bondage. Do you have habitual sin in your life and are feeling depressed? God may want you to look at the reason you are sinning and heal you in that area. Remember if you are feeling guilt or shame that is not of God. God raises us up, tells us we are better and helps us turn away.
- Ask for help. It takes a confident, mature, and humble woman to ask for help while they are hurting in the battle. By asking others for help, you are bringing this battle to the light. Remember you are not alone. You don’t have to handle this alone. Ask friends and elders to pray for you. Asking for prayer is biblical, read James 5:13-15! Get counseling or talk to someone! This is your life, and you are important! Take some time for yourself to focus on healing. We don’t want to ignore the problem, tucking it under a rug will only make it worse. We want to get the problem healed! Find a trustworthy Christian counselor or pastor that you can talk to about what may be going on.
- Stay in community. Isolation makes depression feel so much bigger. Find a strong faith-based community. Surround yourself with others that encourage you, build you up and point you to the arms of Jesus. You are not in this alone!
- Remember you have the victory in the battle in your mind. Whether you suffer from physical depression or a spiritual attack, your thoughts matter! We must hold every thought captive. When we are always meditating on negative thoughts, we will be depressed. YOU have a choice on what you think. Every time you think a thought, you have a choice to believe that thought or to rebuke it and replace it with the truth. Start to notice what you are thinking. Are you thinking things like “I can’t do this? I don’t even want to do this. I don’t even want to wake up today. I don’t even care. Nothing matters. etc.” If you notice you are thinking negative thoughts, no wonder you are depressed. We must get into the habit of ending that thinking and replacing it with God’s word even if you cannot feel the truth. If you have to, get alone and yell these scriptures out loud! Taking charge of the battle in your mind is the most important tool to battle depression! You need to battle each thought as they come into your mind.
Scriptures to defeat depression:
• I am from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in me is greater than the one who is in the world! (1John 4:4)
• I will trust in the Lord will all my heart, and not lean on my own understanding. Proverbs 3:5
• I choose joy, for the joy of the LORD is my strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)
• I can have peace. In this world I will have trouble. But I will take heart because God has overcome the world! (John 16:33)
• Anxiety in my heart will cause depression, But a good word makes it glad. For I will stand on your truth. (Proverbs 12:25)
• I will not fear for God is with me, He will strengthen me. He will hold me up, He will help me. (Isaiah 41:10)
• The eternal God is my refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. (Deuteronomy 33:27)
• You are my lamp O Lord; the Lord turns my darkness into light. (2 Samuel 22:29)
• Anyone who is among the living has hope. (Ecclesiastes 9:4)
• The Lord knows how to rescue me from trials. (2 Peter 2:9)
• I will be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. I choose to put on the full armor of God, so that I can take a stand against the devil’s schemes. For my 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. Therefore I put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, I can stand my ground! I will stand firm, with the belt of truth buckled around my waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with my feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, I take up the shield of faith, with which I can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. I take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 10-17)
• But he lifted up our illnesses, he carried our pain; even though we thought he was being punished, attacked by God, and afflicted for something he had done. He was wounded because of our rebellious deeds, crushed because of our sins; he endured punishment that made us well; because of his wounds I have been healed! (Isaiah 53:4-6)
• God hears my cry. He lifts me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he sets my feet on a rock and gives me a firm place to stand. (Psalm 40:10)
Remember God is with you. And he is not a God that doesn’t understand what you are going through but He is a God who went through the worst of it all just because He loved you enough. He understands and he wants to help you. Use this trial as a reason to draw close to him, right now tell God that you know he has so much for you to learn right here in this battle. Declare that you will depend on Him to get you through it. Whatever He is trying to teach you in this battle, surrender to Him.
We have put together a worksheet for you to use daily to intentionally, battle this depression. Every day fill out one of these sheets, you can include this with your quiet time.
Don’t feel discouraged if this process takes some time! Every day draw closer to your father God and use the tools of His word to help you battle those thoughts. Continue to keep bringing the battle to light. Remember we didn’t get in this battle overnight, so we may not get out of it overnight. But when you overcome, you will be stronger than ever!
**If you are having suicidal thoughts PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 FREE or get to your nearest ER. Your life is precious and valuable.