March 24, 2009 at 5:03 pm (Bible/Scripture, Depression)
Tags: Christian, Depression, fruit of the Spirit, Ginger Kolbaba, God, happiness, happy, Jesus, Jesus Christ, joy, joyful, TCW, Thelma Wells, Today's Christian Woman
Joy has always been an issue that I’ve wrestled with. Nehemiah 8:10 says, “Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
I’ve been a born again Christian for more than 10 years and the one thing I can’t seem to get a handle on is joy. I’ve had many people advise me that one of the hallmarks of being a Christian is being joyful. Galatians 5:22 lists the fruit of the Spirit; joy being secondary in the list next to love.
The November/December 2008 issue of Today’s Christian Woman (TCW) published a special section that focused specifically on the topic of joy. TCW editor Ginger Kolbaba interviewed Thelma Wells, a popular Christian speaker and author who struggled with cancer. If anyone would know about the highs and lows of joy, it’d be a woman who was placed on life support with the grim prognosis of impending death.
The entire interview is worth reading but Ginger asks Thelma key questions that elicit winning answers—one of them being that people don’t lose joy but rather, it goes “underground.” I’ve highlighted a few of Thelma’s answers that I really identified with.
TCW: What gets in the way of us truly experiencing joy?
THELMA: Trying to be somebody we’re not. God made us wonderfully in his image. But we look at life from the eyes of our culture: where I should live, what I should drive, where my kids should go to school, what I should have in my house. We compete for status, for recognition, for all these things that mean little or nothing in the end. And when we do that, we become confused about who we serve and why we serve.
If we aren’t careful, we can become so depressed and confused and overwhelmed that our joy goes underground. [emphasis mine]
Here I can identify the source of my lack of joy: discontentment. I’m not discontent with my family or my friends or most of my circumstances, however, I am continuously discontent with myself. I am always trying to be—or wishing to be—someone I’m not. I am never satisfied with the person God made me. I try to be a social chameleon but never quite succeed (in my own mind anyway). Discontentment with myself breeds depression in my life.
Read the rest of this entry »
December 8, 2006 at 3:08 am (Bible/Scripture, Christian, Personal)
Tags: belief, Bible, God, Jesus, lies, truth
Originally written October 10, 2006
"This is the one thing I know, you said you won’t let me go, you said you won’t let me go. You’ve done a good work in me and you won’t quit till I’m free." ~ Sara Groves, "This Is The One Thing I Know"
Sometimes I need to believe thigns are true, even when I don’t feel they are.
Of the few things I learned at my outpatient therapy, three lessons (truths) stuck with me:
1. God loves me. (Romans 5:8, I John 4:9-11)
2. He will never leave or forsake me. (Hebrews 13:5)
3. The devil is a liar. (John 8:44)
I don’t feel any of the above but I’ve got to assume it’s true. Even if I’m afraid, it’s got to be enough to keep me going.
October 2, 2006 at 10:41 am (Bible/Scripture, Depression, Personal)
Tags: Bible, Biblical viewpoint, blog, Christian, christian viewpoint, Christianity, view, viewpoint
I’ve been doing some thinking about this particular blog and I think I’m going to focus on a Christian perspective on depression. While I know this may alienate potential readers in the future, the blog’s primary purpose is to aid me in my recovery of (and discovery of overcoming) depression. Its secondary purpose to aid those who can learn from my struggle and experiences. In reading, Richard O’Connor’s Undoing Depression, I appreciated his practical approach theories and arguments but hated the philosophies (i.e. Freud, Jung). While Freud and Jung both put forward interesting suppositions, I disagreed with most of their thinking.
As a Christian, my first and foremost textbook on depression is the Bible. That’s the way it should have been from the beginning and that’s the way it will begin to be.
I won’t stop reading purely secular books but at the same time, my thinking will take on a more Biblical approach. This means:
– Bible verses and quotes interspersed in text
– Analyzing and discussing secular books, thoughts and theory from a Christian/Biblical viewpoint
– Analysis of examples of depression in the Bible
I understand that there will be people who may stumble upon this site and vehemently disagree with my thoughts and point of view. I welcome discussion on certain propositions but my faith is not up for debate; I will not change my mind. Improper commenters will have their IPs banned. Banning is subject to my discretion.
August 23, 2006 at 10:43 am (Bible/Scripture, Christian)
'Tis true. None of our problems are unique; someone else has experienced them in some way.
Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen
Elisabeth Elliot, A Lamp For My Feet
When we begin to imagine that our own problems are so deep, so insoluble, or so unusual that no one really understands us, we delude ourselves. It is one of the many delusions of pride, for Scripture tells us not only that our High Priest, Christ, has been tempted in every way as we are, but that no temptation has ever come our way that is not common to man. There are no more new temptations than there are new sins. Our story, whatever it is, is an old one, and He who has walked the human road has entered fully into our experiences of sorrow and pain and has overcome them. He has comforted others in our situation, gone with them into the same furnaces and lions' dens, has brought them out without smell of fire or mark of tooth.
It is a bad thing to take refuge in difficulties, thus excusing ourselves from responsibility to others because we think our situation is unique. If we are willing to receive help, our Helper is standing by–sometimes in the form of another human being sent by Him, qualified by Him to help us. It may be a case of our not receiving help because we were too proud to receive the kind God sent. Sometimes we really prefer to wallow.
"Ours is not a high priest unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who, because of his likeness to us, has been tested every way, only without sin. Let us therefore boldly approach the throne of our gracious God, where we may receive mercy and in his grace find timely help" (Heb 4:15, 16 NEB).
August 14, 2006 at 12:16 pm (Bible/Scripture, Christian)
Tags: Bible, Christ, Christian, Christianity, devotional, elisabeth elliot, scripture
I receive daily Christian devotionals in my e-mail from Elisabeth Elliot. Some are good and some just don’t really affect me much. I wanted to share this one piece that really spoke to me. Non-Christians won’t get much out of it but I really could have used something like this when I was suicidal and working in Kentucky.
Wastelands: Exodus 13:17-18
There are dry, fruitless, lonely places in each of our lives, where we seem to travel alone, sometimes feeling as though we must surely have lost the way. What am I doing here? How did this happen? Lord, get me out of this!
He does not get us out. Not when we ask for it, at any rate, because it was He all along who brought us to this place. He has been here before–it is no wilderness to Him, and He walks with us. There are things to be seen and learned in these apparent wastelands which cannot be seen and learned in the "city"–in places of comfort, convenience, and company.
God does not intend to make it no wasteland. He intends rather to keep us–to hold us with his strength, to sustain us with his sure words–in a place where there is nothing else we can count on.
"God did not guide them by the road towards the Philistines, although that was the shortest…God made them go round by way of the wilderness towards the Red Sea" (Ex 13:17,18 NEB).
Imagine what Israel and all of us who worship Israel’s God would have missed if they had gone by the short route–the thrilling story of the deliverance from Egypt’s chariots when the sea was rolled back. Let’s not ask for shortcuts. Let’s keep alert for the wonders our Guide will show us in the wilderness.
July 22, 2006 at 12:37 am (Bible/Scripture, Christian)
Tags: devotional, elisabeth elliot
I receive a daily devotional from Elisabeth Elliot, a famous missionary
whose husband, Jim, died while trying to minister to a tribe in South
America. Sometimes, I receive nuggets of wisdom too good to glance over
and must share. Here’s one.
God’s Secret Purpose
the enemy of our souls can do to instill doubt about the real purpose
of the Father of our souls, he will certainly try to do. "Hath God
said?" was his question to Eve, and she trusted him, the enemy, and
doubted God. Each time the suspicion arises that God is really "out to
get us," that He is bent on making us miserable or thwarting any good
we might seek, we are calling Him a liar. His secret purpose has been revealed to us, and it is to bring us finally, not to ruin, but to glory.
That is precisely what the Bible tells us: "His secret purpose framed
from the very beginning [is] to bring us to our full glory" (1 Cor 2:7
In my mind, I’m always wondering whether what I’m doing is
right for me, but thoughts like the one above remind me that I often
need to "let go and let God" take care of my anxieties and worries.
Burdening myself with so much only exacerbates my depression.