Some things to keep in mind as we wind up this topic of depression and discouragement I hope you have found hope and help here. Much of what I have written here has come from my own past struggles with both these issues. Our family had a very tough go of it for a number of years and the book that I wrote on depression, and the things in this blog come from personal experience and searching for how God would want me to respond to the situation that He allowed to come to pass. Some final thoughts on this topic~ What happens daily in your life that leads you to be discouraged? Are these things that can be changed? Is there anything you can do to alter your circumstances? Such as for financial difficulties get a second part time job, for relational discouragement seek wise counsel, for loneliness get involved in activities. Change what you can change, and believe that what is unchangeable is God’s business! As yourself, “What do I want to happen? The single most often repeated response to this question is something like, “I want the pain to go away.” Oh my friend, please remember God is working in your situation, conforming you to the likeness of your Lord Jesus Christ! If there was any other way for Him to accomplish what He desires to change in your heart, He would! Please prayerfully consider changing the prayer of your heart to, “I want to glorify God in the midst of this trial.” How would having what you want make life better? Frequently, what we want becomes larger than life and begins to look like some sort of a savior to us. We begin to thing that if we could only have (blank) life would be better, we would be happy, we would be satisfied. During the time of my sorrow I initially thought that getting what wanted (and thought I needed) would be the solution to my discouragement and suffering. While emotionally it would have made me feel better, I am confident that I would have dramatically short-circuited what lessons God had planned. I would have lost a wealth of spiritual and emotional growth had I had my own way. Understand that your feelings will influence your responses. Your flesh will cry out and even scream for relief! You may feel desperate and hopeless and think this time will never end. It is so important that no matter how you feel you do what is right which is so very difficult, and so very necessary. Ask yourself if your feelings justify your responses. Sometimes we get the idea that because we are out of sorts that we have a “right” to demonstrate sinful anger, self-pity and other sinful attitudes of the heart. Keep in mind that the Christian is not to be ruled by feelings and emotions, but by the Holy Spirit. Appreciate God’s grace (2 Cor 9:8) There is no sweeter experience of God’s grace than during times you just don’t think you can go another step. I recall one particularly catastrophic day I had received some very bad news on the heels of more bad news (it was very Job-like I assure you) and I was amazed at my response to it. The grace of God enabled me at that moment to speak the words of Job himself, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” I assure you, there is simply no way that aside from God’s grace my response would have been vastly different. Serve one another (Gal 5:13; Eph 5:20) when discouraged get out there and serve other people. Get your focus off yourself! When you begin to change your thinking about your feelings and about problems, you will change your thinking about depression. James 13:17; James 1:25; Romans 6:11; 2 Corinthians 9:8; Romans 8:28,29. Learn to think biblically about your problems! Always remember:
- There are answers from God. 2 Timothy 3:16
- There is hope from God. 1 Corinthians 10:13; Romans 8:28,29; Philippians 4:13
- To plan ahead to focus on praise and thanksgiving. Ephesians 5:20; Philippians 4:8
- Keep your focus on who you are in Christ. Ephesians 1-2
- Fix your eyes on Jesus – Hebrews 12:2
- Develop a God ward outlook rather than fixing on the present.
Finally, keep the centrality of Jesus Christ and the supremacy of Christ on the forefront.
Believe that God is sovereign and keep in mind that your suffering does not eliminate His supremacy! Christ is your righteousness, holiness, and redemption. Is this not better than having “felt needs” met? As a person who has been through this dark looking glass personally, I would maintain that it is far, far better to have Christ with suffering and discouragement than it would be to have a charmed life without Him!