“We are women of a different status,
this world we will impact.
We are women of a different status,
31 to be exact”.
“We are women of a different status,
this world we will impact.
We are women of a different status,
31 to be exact”.
Deep depression is embodied emotional suffering. It is not simply a state of mind or a negative view of life but something that affects our physical being as well ~ The Depression Epidemic.
During a conference with John MacArthur, influential pastor John Piper described some of the darkest hours of his life and ministry, saying that for a long period of time—months or years—he wept every day. He even wrote a book about dealing with depression. In stark contrast, John MacArthur commented that he had never been depressed in his life. Both different experiences and dispositions, yet both are mighty men of God.
I was glad that John Piper has been open about his depression battle – sadly, it is often scorned at in Christian circles, leaving many internalizing their anguish and suffering in silence. Yet I can see why there is still stigma attached to depression – it is mysterious and misunderstood. And from the outside it can look incredibly selfish – why are you depressed? You got it so good…
Yet it’s not that simple. Severe depression is often beyond description. And when such deep and painful feelings cannot be explained, they cut to the heart of one’s spiritual being .
Since my teens I’ve had those periods of inexplicable weeping and unidentifiable emotional pain. I don’t know where they come from, or why they happen, nor do I want them in my life at all (it’s not enjoyable for me or anyone around me). But nevertheless they come, often accompanied by insomnia, extreme stomach pains, weariness and such mental and physical fatigue that it’s hard to do anything productive.
Though many people offer various explanations to why a Christian may feel depressed, my personal strong feeling is that most of the time they are attack of the enemy. I have a lot to give to be of service to others, but when those attacks come I’m completely useless at functioning.
I’ve learned not to feel ashamed or less of a person because of it, but I’ve also learned that it’s incredibly important to not let it overpower me and rule over me. Although I can’t describe or identify the source of such deep despair, I can choose to overcome it. I cling to my Creator and Deliverer with all the energy I have left. I pray with the small words I can. And although there’s times when I still feel alone, most of the time God’s peace and joy wash over me after a bit of a battle.
I can’t rely on writing (usually a source of release) to help me, I can’t rely on my loved ones to deliver me (even though they are supportive), and I can’t indulge in all sorts of distractions to take depression away. I’m in need of my Savior’s presence, love and peace. I need Him to take control of my body and mind and to satisfy my thirst for Him. I’m just continually in need of my Savior.
“My tears have been my food day and night…Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” ~ Psalm 42.
You may like this blog: Do not let your hearts be troubled.
I was reading the book of Ephesians the other day and a certain verse really struck a chord with me: “Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). As I read it I remembered those dark, fearful, hopeless days when I did not know Jesus; when I put my trust, hope and energy into other things. But those things never did bring me joy, peace or security. I was without hope and without God. I looked back at those times and how God intervened in my life and saved me from destruction (even though I didn’t even ask Him into my life or know much about Him at all). And I was overwhelmed by his mercy and love.
It could be addiction, fear, anxiety, paranoia, depression, insomnia, low self-esteem, lust, a difficult marriage, financial insecurity, worry about the kids, or any other thing that afflicts you daily and steals your peace. Whatever you are burdened by, there’s nothing and no-one else in this world that will ever wholly release you from troubling thoughts other than Jesus: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27).
From what I know and my testimony, there’s nothing that can fill the emptiness of the soul but Jesus. No-one that can give perfect love like Jesus does. No-one that can bring comfort in times of anguish like Jesus does. No-one who has a name as powerful as Jesus. No-one who can bring a fragmented life back together like Jesus can. His is the sweetest name you could ever know.
I’d like to share this song with you. It’s really simple, yet really powerful. This song has strengthened me through some tough times and I hope it will bless you too.
“Everywhere you look you see people searching for love… but they’re looking in the wrong places. God is love, and they will never find what they’re looking for until they find Him” (xxxChurch).
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson wasn’t wrong in the above quote. Society constantly sends out the message that being yourself just isn’t good enough. It teaches us to continually compare ourselves with one another. Even to compete. Turn the pages of any secular magazine, browse the internet, walk along any high street, and there’s probably something there that will tell you how to fight the signs of ageing, how to stay slim and sexy, how to achieve someone else’s ‘look’, or more crudely a list which tells you who is hot and who is not. Hey, quite a few corporations make big money through making you believe that the God-ordained, natural “you” just isn’t good enough to get along in this world!
Child of the Most High God, you are a wonderful work of the Creator of all things. The One who brought the universe and all of creation into being also made you, and He made you fearfully and wonderfully. “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:14). You were not destined to constantly demean yourself (or to allow anyone else to demean you). Nope. It wasn’t part of His great, good and wonderful plan for you to live in a perpetual cycle of self-hatred, insecurity or comparison to others. It wasn’t His intention for you to be judged and treated in a certain way on account of your outer self. The Almighty uniquely and wonderfully knit you together in your mother’s womb! He crafted all of your features because that’s how He wanted you to be. He doesn’t want you any other way. He made you and saw that you were good...A marvellous work…One that glorifies His unfathomable handiwork.
Don’t feel alone, because the Lord your God has been with you since the beginning and He is still with you. Don’t feel unaccepted, because He takes great delight in you. Be comforted because He will calm all your storms and quiet the voice of insecurity with His love. Be strengthened because your Father in Heaven rejoices over you with singing. (“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing” Zephaniah 3:17).
Precious handiwork of the eternal Creator, apple of the Lord’s eye, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Don’t let anyone or anything convince you otherwise.
(I’ve posted this video before, but I don’t think we can tire of hearing the truth).
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).
From a very early age we are duped by the world’s ideal of beauty and perfection, and pressured to conform to such. From the princesses in storybooks and films, to beauty pageants for children, gyrating pop stars, the modelling, fashion and film industry, and the World’s top 100 beautiful women/hottest men lists, we are bombarded by the message that we must fit a certain standard or behave in a certain way in order to be loved, recognised, respected or successful. Unfortunately, this message has seeped into many places where we are supposed to feel the safest and most loved: our homes, our circles of friends, at times even our Churches (though it’s sad to say).
Thank God for the liberation from these lies that we can attain through Him and His word! Romans 12:2 directs us to not abide by the standards of the world, but to be wholly changed and renewed through a transformation in our attitudes and ideals. True, it’s not easy to stand against the lies of the world when we are confronted with them every day simply by walking down the street or opening a newspaper, and come into view of numerous images of size zero or nearly-naked (and at times naked) air-brushed models. But followers of Christ ARE freed from, and not expected to follow, these worldly standards. Instead, we are to offer our “bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God”.
God is not a man that he should indulge in satisfying fleshly lusts. His ways and thoughts are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:9). His concern is not with size 0 or with the outward appearance, but the Spirit and attitude that we cultivate within us. All those things that the world celebrates, enjoys and promotes – immorality, impurity, debauchery, hatred, conflict, jealousy, drunkenness, selfishness, and orgies – is what God wants His children to lay aside. What is truly beautiful in His sight is love, joy, peace, patience kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Worthy, lasting and true beauty in God’s sight is a gentle spirit and a servant obedient to His Word (1 Peter 3:4). How liberating in a world that is obsessed with the beauty of the outer self, which will inevitably fade with time and age, no matter how much money one has for plastic surgery.
What’s more, the lies that the media and the world feeds us with are only temporary and will fade away, but the word and truth of God endures forever (Isaiah 40:8). So stand firm in the word and truth of the Lord and don’t worry about whether your breasts are big enough, stomach flat enough, or whether your torso ripples or not. Fix your eyes on the One who loves you, formed you and preserves your life (Psalm 121). Seek to please and bring joy to your creator, the greatest lover of your soul.
If there’s anything that feeds your eating disorder or makes you feel worthless or ugly (celebrity gossip/diet magazines, TV programmes, certain websites) avoid them/throw them away/switch them off.
“I will lift up my eyes to the hills – from whence comes my help?
My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul.
The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore” (Psalm 121).
Many people assume that eating disorders are brought about by someone’s unhealthy relationship with food, because of low self-esteem, self-hatred or the desire to look like a stick-thin celebrity. Some of those things may be partly influential. But from personal experience, I can say that none of these were major factors towards the anorexia I developed. It was the infamous “voice” that so many people with eating disorders battle with. It’s not easy to describe to people who haven’t experienced it, but it happens something like this:
“The voices I heard, I heard them for years. All the time. They didn’t stop. When I slept I dreamed of war. The voices were inside me, inside my head, a piece of me, perhaps never to be gone. I was scared because I didn’t know what to do. I heard these voices telling me not to eat, so strong and convincing… They continued to fight in my head. I couldn’t remember a time they weren’t there. I was so used to it; the battle in my brain. Sometimes I thought I was crazy. If people only knew how my mind was continuously busy, thinking, rationalizing my thinking and behaviour, wondering, doubting, believing, I believed they would question my sanity”.
The Bible says, “for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). The voice that pushes people to self-destructive behaviour and takes control over every moment of the person’s life is from the evil spiritual powers in the world. The devil prowls around like a lion seeking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8), to destroy life, to kill.
In the midst of this terrible darkness and evil, even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we can find our way out through the light that is Jesus Christ. It doesn’t mean that the walk will be easy, but He will hold you and comfort you at every step of the journey to freedom. No matter how great your problem, sorrow, worry or fear, God is a refuge in whom you can find a safe haven: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling” (Psalm 46:1-3).
God will be your rod and staff when it gets tough, your support and your strength. He is sovereign, all-powerful, and more than able to defeat your enemies, “the Lord your God is the one that goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory” (Deuteronomy 20:4). So do not fear the terror by night, not the arrow that flies by day (Psalm 91:5), or the voices that you think will never leave you alone. Stand firm in the strength of the Lord and resist the lies of the evil one (1 Peter 5:9). Fix your eyes on the Lord and stand on the wonderful promises of God. For the Lord has “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
Fear not, for the Lord is with you. He will lead you beside still waters. He will refresh your soul. He will guide you along the right paths. He will comfort you. (Psalm 23:1-4).
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8).
Peace be unto you.
(Excerpt taken from: http://www.bulimia.com/client/client_pages/recovery_thevoicesiheard.cfm)