Monday, February 11, 2013

The Struggle Against Depression and Anxiety

And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God. And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?...11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord… –I Kings 19:8, 9, 11 (KJV)

Depression and anxiety are conditions which can rob us of our peace and joy in Christ.  I know from personal experience the challenges of overcoming depression and the difficulty associated with this condition.  Countless people struggle in silence with these illnesses in the hope that the situation will somehow improve.  I am discovering more and more how depression and anxiety are common among church leaders as well as the general population.  If you are struggling with these issues yourself take heart, for you are not alone.  The Lord is with you and will help you to rise up and go forward.  Do not delay in getting treatment.  Medication, counseling, and therapy are viable means of overcoming the insidious consequences of depression and anxiety.  Also, add to this prayer, daily time in God’s Word, and firm faith in God.

Remember many of the saints of the Bible also battled depression and anxiety issues.  These giants of the faith struggled just like us with the challenges of day-to-day life in difficult times.  One such person was Elijah of the Old Testament.  Following a great victory over the false prophets of Baal, Elijah heard the wicked queen Jezebel had vowed to kill him.  He then fled into the wilderness and at one point lay down and begged God to take his life.  A short time later, Elijah hid in cave and lapsed into a period of dark despair and fretfulness.  Does this sound familiar?  Perhaps you have hidden in a similar cave of despair and wondered if there was any hope.

God came to Elijah with a gentle call to come out of the cave and stand on the mountain.  Once he did this, Elijah experienced the gentle whisper of God’s presence.  He was then empowered to continue living life and serving the Lord.  The same can happen to us.  Let me share with you three truths about recovery from depression and anxiety.  Recovery requires the following:

  • Time.  No one was ever delivered from depression overnight.  It’s going to take time to overcome these issues.
  • Commitment.  Realize that overcoming depression is a process involving many years.  Develop a plan for overcoming and stick with it.  Delve anew into a routine of prayer, daily time in God’s Word, and worship.  Also, develop a healthy lifestyle of diet and exercise. 
  •  Determination.  You will suffer setbacks and this is normal.  Do not give up on living life to the fullest, for it is within your grasp – with God’s help.

Jesus calls us to the abundant life in Him.  Take hold of Christ, for He will not let us go or ever let us down.

God bless you today.