Thursday, December 17, 2015

Defeat Depression and the Holiday Blues

This is the time of year when I start feeling a little blah. I have been feeling rather sluggish the last few days. It is all I can do to drag myself out of bed and find the energy to make it to work and last through the day. I lack the motivation to be productive. What makes it worse is when I am fighting a cold or allergies. It is so hard to find the will to function, which is my problem today.

A lot of us have those days when we just don't feel like doing anything. Days like this, all I want to do is put on my pajama pants, curl up on the couch with my warm blanket, sleep or read a book.

For some, you may be feeling down or depressed for other reasons. When we are facing trials or circumstances in our lives that cause a lot of worry, anxiety or stress we can become seriously drained of all our energy. Those days are tough. You just don't feel like you can make it through the day, but you know you have to. If we aren't careful, we can allow depression to over take us and distract us from seeing the glory and joy of God. Depression, if not addressed, can cause serious issues within many aspects of life. For some reason, today, my heart is aching for those who may be suffering from depression. I think maybe it's because if depression feels anything like I do right now, while sick and achy, I can imagine how debilitating it must be.

If there is a reader out there that is struggling with depression or is just down and out do to some circumstances you are dealing with, I want you to know, you are not alone!

I believe that the sluggish feeling we experience and depression are attacks from the enemy. There are many people who struggle with depression on a regular basis, especially during the holiday season. For some, it may be due to the loss of a close family member or loss of a job. It could be due to insecurity or feelings of inadequacy. The rush of the holiday season with all the demands of entertaining, shopping, planning, etc. can bring people to a point of weariness as well.

Although there is a big difference between feeling sluggish and being depressed, the long term effects of being in those states of mind can lead to a deeper depression if we don't make an effort to fight it. In order to battle through, we need to be war ready, prayed up, armored up, and rooted in the Word so that we can fight back and defeat the enemy's attempt to steal our joy. Jesus is our defense against the enemy. He gives us the spirit of peace and joy. Jesus said,

life in abundance

"The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10
The enemy wants to steal your joy and your energy, kill all desire you have to do good works, and destroy your daily mission to live like Christ and serve God. That is the mission of the enemy and if he is able to attack you through your circumstances, your work, or the trials you face in order to keep you from feeling joy, that is exactly what he will do.

I want you to know that God is looking to lift you up and bring your joy back. Jesus came so that we will have joy in life and and have it abundantly. After all, He is the source of all peace and joy. All you have to do is lift your head, open your eyes, and look to the comforter; ask and receive.

The ONLY way to battle and defeat depression and the blues is to turn to God. There are a variety of medications doctors can prescribe, but do we want to mask the symptoms or find a cure?

(Update: After receiving a message from a reader, I want to add a note here - There is a difference between clinical depression and emotional depression based on circumstances. It is not my intention to deny the fact there are some Christians that truly struggle with clinical depression who need medication to control the symptoms. A physician diagnosis that condition based on a physical exam and so there may be a need to control other internal chemical imbalances that cause certain symptoms of depression. However, I do believe in either condition, the enemy will attack in our weakness and so it is imperative that we prepare spiritually as well.)

In Ephesians 6, Paul talks about being prepared for spiritual battle. Even now, as you are reading this post, there is a spiritual battle going on around you. You can't see it, but you can be sure the devil and his spirits are doing their level best to keep you down in the gutter of depression so that you will not feel like doing good works.
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people." Ephesians 6:10-18
In order to fight sluggishness, depression and lack of motivation, we need to make sure we are always war ready. We must be fitted with the armor of God at all times so that when the enemy attempts to attack, he fails. One way I battle these types of days is to pray every morning that God would reveal His glory and that I will find a blessing to motivate me to complete the day. I ask Him to fill me with the fullness of Christ and give me strength to keep going and to do the good works He has planned for me to do.
"Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." 1 Corinthians 15:58
We are called to stand firm and the only way to do that is to be fitted with armor that can withstand the blows of the enemy. We can find our peace and strength in God. Isaiah 41:10 says,

Isaiah 41

"So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10
Fitted with the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the sandals of peace, the shield of faith, and the helmet of salvation, we can withstand the blows from the enemy from knocking us down and keeping us down. The sword, the only offensive weapon described by Paul in Ephesians, is our tool that we can use to fight back. Verses put to memory and recited such as the ones below, can be used to defeat the enemy's attempts to keep you down.
"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season, we will reap, if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9
Or this one...
"Happy are the people to know the joyful shout! Lord, they walk in the light of your presence." Psalms 89:15
And then one of my favorites for days like this...
"I keep the Lord on my mind always, because He is at my right hand and I will not be shaken." Psalm 16:8
When you start to feel down and out, depressed and sluggish, shout out these scriptures, or any other favorite verse. The Word is your weapon against the attack of the enemy. Fight back!

Jesus Christ is our salvation and He is the source of our joy, not anything else of this world!
"I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them." John 17:13

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