Depression is undoubtedly one of the most common problems of our time. Due to the fact that depression is so common, it has been called as the common cold for emotional illnesses. According to Everett Worthington, "Depression is a downward spiral started by loss of control, and worsened by lack of energy and negative thinking." The dictionary defines depression as "a feeling of extreme hopelessness." This emotion manifests itself in reactions such as: Everything is lost, I want to give up, I cannot do it.
"No one is exempt from depression"
No one, not even the great spiritual leaders of the Bible, was not exempt from depression. The psalmist David experienced it: “Why are you downcast, oh my soul? Why are you troubled within me? ”(Psalm 42: 5). Moses cried out, “I can't just bear all these people; that is too heavy for me. If you do this to me, I beg you to put me to death ”(Numbers 11: 14-15). Elijah, the great prophet, battled depression just one day after his great triumph on Mount Carmel, when he challenged the prophets of Baal, and saw God answering his prayer in a powerful way.
"God gives us the solution"
When we look at these biblical heroes, we realize that depression is no respecter of persons. Everybody gets depressed at times. The question is then, what is God's remedy to cure depression? Let's take a look at the solution that God provided for Elijah, because it is one that we can all use.
Step 1. "Depression is not a sin"
Realize that depression is not a sin, but a symptom. The way we respond to depression may be sinful, but the emotion itself is not. Sin can lead to depression, but all depression does not come from sin. Depression is like a warning light in a vehicle. The way to turn off the warning light is not by destroying it, but by finding the problem. When depression sets in, something deep inside is usually wrong.
"Your integral health is fundamental."
Step 2. "Restore your physical body."
“Then he (Elias) lay down under the tree and fell asleep. Suddenly, an angel touched him and said, 'Get up and eat' ”(I Kings 19: 5). God's remedy involves rest, food, and relaxation. We must never forget the role our bodies play in our emotions. Some people are consistently physically neglected. You should get enough rest, eat a balanced diet, and exercise regularly.
Step 3. “Give up your frustration to God."
The Lord asked him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” And Elijah replied, 'I have been very jealous for the Lord God Almighty. The children of Israel have left your covenant, they have torn down your altars, and your prophets have slain your prophets. And I have only remained, and they are looking for me to take my life ”(I Kings 19: 9-10). Elijah unburdened himself to God, and poured out his inner feelings. God allowed Elijah to vent his frustrations without condemning or criticizing him. No matter how bad our circumstances seem, we must never stop communicating with God. Share your heart. You don't have to be eloquent or creative; just let God know how you feel. Giving up your frustration entails clearing everything that has been pushed into you and created these negative emotions.
Step 4. "Refresh your awareness of the presence of God."
"The Lord said, 'Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord'" (I Kings 19:11). Nothing will relieve you like walking into God's presence and realizing that He loves you and cares for you, regardless of how you feel. God never promised that this life would be happy, but He did promise to go with us through all our pain. If you are depressed, spend time alone with your Bible and God. As you read, you allow God to speak to you and love you. There is no better antidepressant than communication and communion with God.
Step 5. "Redirect your life."
God gave Elijah a new mission. “Go your way, and go to the desert of Damascus. When you get there, you will anoint Hazael king of Syria ”(I Kings 19:15). The fastest way to defeat depression is to stop drowning in self-pity. Turn your eyes away from yourself and start looking at the needs of others. Find less fortunate people and invest your life in them. When you give yourself to others, God will give himself to you. Jesus said, "Everyone who loses his life for me will find it" (Matthew 16:25).
"Step 6. Renew a friendship."
Renew a friendship. “So Elijah went from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat” (I Kings 19:19). Depressed people need real friends. Don't fight depression alone. Find a friend who will give you support and encouragement; someone who will help you see circumstances as they are, not as you perceive them.
Eugene Kennedy said: "The main business of friendship is to support and make each other's burdens bearable." Christ can lift you out of depression. He can help you. He can heal. You don't have to stumble through life depressed!
“Many times we have to continue for the sake of the future. Sometimes there is no place to hide, but to be strong and brave and face the situation of our lives. When we persevere, in the end we are strong, complete and lacking in anything. "