Tag Archives: depression

Do You Know What he REALLY Wants?

Your enemy…the enemy doesn’t want to kill you.  He doesn’t want you to die.

He relishes your pain.  He enjoys your suffering and lashing out at God.  He loves to hear you complain.  His desire is for you to wish death upon yourself.  Even more than that, he longs for you to be despondent, miserable, depressed and despairing.

Why?

When you’re miserable you’re quiet.  There’s no praise, no prayer resulting in no power – because you don’t feel like there’s any point in praying! You’ve played perfectly into his hands.  Quiet and distant is the first of many plans he has for you.  Will you fall for it?

He longs to render us ineffective and uncaring about anything except our own misery.

Why?

When we’re depressed and totally consumed by unfavorable circumstances we’ve no energy to lift anyone else up.  I mean, why would we?  We can’t do anything for ourselves, why would we even attempt to help someone else?

The enemy knows where our source of power is; WHO our source of power is and he knows when we feel cheated, mistreated, broken down and low down, the first place we’re likely to turn is away from our Father.  That’s what he’s after – his ultimate goal is to get us to turn from God.

He wants us to live like we’re dead with no joy, no faith and a bushel of doubt.  Don’t tell anyone about what God has done for us – because it’s discounted considering all the suffering and hardship we’ve endured…that’s what the enemy wants.  Joyless, bitter, disgruntled, dissatisfied believers so nobody wants the Jesus we have.  Nobody wants to listen, much less come to church.  His ultimate goal (since he can’t have our soul) is to render us useless for God.  He can kill our joy, make us doubt our faith ultimately causing us to have no effect or impact in the world around us.

No, the enemy doesn’t want us dead…he wants to live like we’re dead.

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Is It Bad Enough Yet?

Some doctors wait to treat an ailment when the pain becomes so severe the patient can’t tolerate it anymore. If a patient comes in knowing something’s wrong but can carry out their normal activities of daily living, sleep uninterrupted they’re told to come back when they can’t bear the discomfort any more.  The tests prove there’s a problem but sometimes that’s not enough.  Some doctors choose no treatment until the pain literally changes a person’s life.

You would think the opposite would be true.  You go to a professional because you know something’s not right and you want something done to prevent the problem from disrupting your normal life and leave frustrated because you’re told your pain – your inability to function – is what will bring relief.  “Come back when you can’t stand it anymore.”  Wait.  Isn’t that what we’re trying to avoid?

Some doctors want to jump right in and fix a problem before it gets to the point of altering our lives and we’re hesitant to move forward.  We talk ourselves into living with it.  “It’s not that bad; I’ve had it this long, I can stand it until, well, I can’t stand it anymore”, and we leave in the same condition we came in.

We deal with something as long as we can then we ask for help (from God, friends, etc), sometimes wanting someone (or something) to relinquish us from what we know is going to happen – yet we find ourselves, sometimes for years, dealing with the same thing, day after day, year after year and nothing changes.  It’s manageable; it’s not perfect but it hasn’t killed me…yet.  So we muddle on sometimes grabbing for spontaneous relief for the moment until the next time…and the next…

Do things have to be ‘that bad’ before we deal with them?  No. More often than not, we try everything (and everyone) leaving God as our last resort.  Need produces necessary action; that alone is often the “why” of why it’s happening.

Is ‘it’ bad enough yet?  Are you sick of the pain, frustration, depression, inaction, nothing ever changing?  Situations beg the question – “is it bad enough to turn to God”? Like doctors, sometimes He allows us to get to that unbearable place of no relief before we turn to him.  Why?  Because He knows sometimes we’ll only look to Him when our feet are inches from the cliff.  We can submit any time – way sooner than we do – and relinquish our pain and burden to Him.  Is it bad enough yet to give it to God?  It doesn’t have to be.  Let’s do it.  Now.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Privilege Not Punishment!

How many prayers have you prayed that have either gone unanswered or been responded to with a no?  How many loved ones have you lost?  How many hardships have you suffered, how many losses have you endured?

How many times have you asked why? How many times have you watched others be blessed with what you’ve begged God for?  How many times have you felt that because of all the above you were being punished for something?

If we have any age on us at all, we’ve all been in those spots.  We tend to think because we’re told no, denied, abandoned, jobless, homeless, or without, we’re being punished.  Maybe we’re just not loved…or loved less…than our neighbors and friends.

This reminds me of Adam and Eve in the garden when they had partaken of the forbidden fruit they hid from God.  Adam offered the timeless excuse…”we hid because we’re naked” (paraphrased).  God’s very wise, parent-like response makes me smile every time I read it:  “Who told you, you were naked?”! (Genesis 3:10-11). See, they had ALWAYS been without clothes, uncovered because they were in paradise – that was their normal then all of a sudden, everything (because of disobedience) changed.  They saw themselves as they really were.

Isn’t that the crux of our problem?  We know how we’ve lived, what we’ve done…we are well aware of what we deserve!  OR we think we’ve been so good (perhaps we have been) that we don’t deserve any bad.  For a time after my son got older and God healed him from a devastating brain injury, I thought I had survived the hardest thing in my life, I had taken my “turn” and that a life of peaches and cream was on my horizon.  How arrogant of me!

The things I’ve been through – at my own hand and at other’s – continue to show me that being in a tough, impossible, extremely painful place is a place of privilege and NOT punishment.  Through those times, I have been privileged to see more of God and cultivate a personal, foundational relationship with Him.  Was it fun?  NO.  A lot of times it still isn’t.  Would I choose to learn this way?  Are you kidding?  Apparently I have to grow and learn the hard way.

If you’re going through something devastating – don’t fall for the lie.  Yes some things we go through are consequences to our behavior but some things aren’t.  Believe God hasn’t left you and He’s not mad at you.  Believe He’s chosen you to allow you a place of privilege – a place where you can choose to get closer to Him. (Romans 8:28!)

Genesis 43:10 “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “And my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He.”

The Place of In Between

Saturday.  Friday had happened and they saw the One whom they had based everything on, left their lives for believing He was Messiah…tortured, nails drive through His hands and feet, hung on a cross and take His last breath.  So many thoughts and doubts must have raced through their confused minds.  How could the Son of God – the Promise – die?  I feel sure they watched from afar as His lifeless body was taken down.

Do you know what hopeless feels like?  To have everything you believed in…believed for die right in front of you? I imagine what the disciples, Jesus’ mother and the other followers were feeling was the epitome of that word.  I wonder if they even remembered the many conversations He had with them, telling them that exactly what had happened would and that it wasn’t what it appeared to be or felt like it was. I imagine they were so grieved and perhaps scared that they had forgotten.

Can you relate?  You just experienced a devastating blow and after what you’ve been through you may feel it’s over, that there is no point in even hoping, let alone trying to go from here.  This is where everything changes and you’re not sure if you have the courage to believe, one more time, enough to go on.  That’s the place of in between where feelings and faith collide.  On one hand, you want to trust and believe enough to take the next step, but you feel like your world as you knew it has just ended and there is really no point.

That’s the place where dreams die and bitterness and depression creep in…if we let them.  If we’re not careful, we can find the courage to walk on from that place and allow our faith to die.  Don’t let that happen.

Hang on, just a bit longer.  Remember and recite every single promise God has made to YOU.  If He is allowing you to endure devastation, it’s part of a greater destiny.  Sure, it hurts, and absolutely, you’ll be changed forever because of it – perhaps that’s grief’s intent.  We can choose to go from here and be changed for the better or be infected by bitter.

In that place of in between, God is the same as He was yesterday.  Still in control, still loving and still all-knowing.  Just like the disciples on that dark Saturday, although they were devastated they made it through it.  You will too.  “Be not afraid, only believe”.  Mark 5:36

Fear Will Fail You.

There’s a lost dog in my neighborhood and the other day I saw her.  When I approached her she ran into the woods.  She didn’t know me so afraid, she ran.  The remainder of the week I went back to that spot time and time again, sometimes staying and calling her name for hours to no avail.  She’s a house dog, she hasn’t been outside very much so I imagine she is terrified, in addition to being hungry and totally out of her comfort zone.  Yet even when her owners come for her she won’t come to them.

It doesn’t make any sense!  She hears the voices, especially the familiar ones, she’s hot, hungry, and knows she would be safe with those who love her, yet she still refuses to come!  Fear has gripped her and instead of doing what she knows she should do she does completely the opposite.  I’m afraid she will die of starvation and the elements to which she is unaccustomed all because she is scared. It seems she would rather stay where she is than take a chance to come out and be loved and cared for.

That’s precisely what fear does.  I know.  I’ve lived with it all my life.

When fear grips it changes the ability to think rationally and we find ourselves reacting instead of acting.  We do things and say things we would never do with a clear mind. Sometimes we freeze, deciding to stay in the mess we’re in because we are just too afraid to take a chance on trying to change things.

Perhaps we’ve been hurt – or really hurt someone else – when we’ve conjured up the courage go attempt to go beyond ourselves and we’re just too afraid to take the chance again.  Although legitimate, living that way robs us of the experience of trusting God (and ourselves) and perhaps the countless blessings He had for us.

So we stay…even knowing it’s not right, it’s painful, yet, we stay.  At least we’re familiar with how it is, there are no surprises, there is nothing expected.  We surrender to fear and decide to survive.

Fear takes our faith.  When we live based on what we are afraid of, we can’t function in faith.  They simply cannot coexist.  We must choose one or the other.  If we choose fear before long, our hearts and minds are infiltrated and we’ve convinced ourselves it is the way we think it is, and hope fades.  We someday will realize that living in fear has totally failed us and robbed us.  Soon we’ll find ourselves in an ocean of regret, pruning and nourishing our bitterness and despair.

Let’s decide today that we’ll no longer be our own prisoner.  Let’s take a tiny step forward to the safe hands and presence of the One who loves us the most.  The first step is the hardest, the next will be a little easier.  Let’s trust as we walk straight into His arms.  He will never fail us.  He’ll comfort us and help us through whatever we’re afraid of.

Unlike that little dog (who is still in the woods by the way), when you hear His voice, take a chance and step out.  You’ll be glad you did.

Luke 21:34:  “Be on guard so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap;”

Keep Me In the Valley

I’ve often prayed for better times

And an ending to this pain.

I’ve begged the heavens to see the sun

In torrential rain.

I’ve walked through many a darkness

While crying out to see

Those were the times I can surely say

You were never closer to me.

Keep me in the valley, Lord

If that’s how I will know

More of Your personal love for me

And closer to You I grow.

You give me strength and courage

To do what I need to do;

You give me grace and a dose of faith

To put my trust in You.

When I think of stopping cold

You whisper in my ear,

Keep me in the valley, Lord

If that’s where You’re most near.

Keep me in the valley, Lord

If that’s how I will know

More of Your personal love for me

And closer to You I grow.

Alterations.

Almost nine years ago my world began to drastically change…it started with the unexpected death of my younger sister.  As I reflect on that time in my life, I realize that was some kind of a starting point for colossal change in my outside world and my inside life…who I was, what I believed, my…everything.  I remember who I was then and see that now, I’m not even close to who I used to be.  At the time I remember knowing God would see me through; I had no doubt of that…but I also remember thinking nothing would be the same. I had no idea how right I was.

Since that time, pretty much everything that was important, almost every significant person in my life, my ideals and perceptions, the way I approached and thought about things…literally everything is either gone or changed.  Even material things I held dear are gone; hopes for things and the way I thought things would be…gone.  My sense of fair, good and right are forever altered.  Even my faith in God is completely different from what I thought (back then) it should be.

Life takes unexpected twists and turns.  Stuff hits you, you have no way of seeing coming. You’re unprepared.  I never considered the fact my younger sister would die before I did; didn’t see that coming.  At my age (very close to 60) I never thought I would lose my job…get evicted…have to work 2, 3 and 4 jobs to make ends meet…didn’t see that coming either.  Who prepares for this?  To my embarrassment and immaturity (in Christ), I somehow thought because I had had some tests and bumps in my younger life that the rest of my life would be less difficult.  Go ahead, laugh…I am.  My faith was built on something false…something earthly – a false perception of what I thought I deserved and what I was sure would happen.

Over and over again “My ways are not your ways…” has played in my mind. “Lean not on your own understanding…” were the words I woke up to many a morning.  Through all this, I found truth, absolute truth, in those words.

The enemy wants us to think we’re unloved and forgotten when bad things happen but because I’ve been through this “desert season” in my life I can tell you with absolute certainty exactly the opposite is true.  When we find ourselves in extremely painful and terrifying circumstances those are the places where God…His literal presence can be more real to us than in seasons of joy.  Some choose to blame Him and run like spoiled children as far away from Him as we can; others choose to cling to Him for our lives and fight the good fight of faith even if our faith is less than the size of a mustard seed…maybe the size of a grain of sand.  Sometimes that choice brings a “curse God and die” mentality and a very real choice – sometimes on a breath-by-breath basis – confronts us.  It doesn’t look like we’re loved and cherished; it feels like we’re utterly alone and abandoned…so will we choose to press on based on NOTHING else but God’s word to us or will be choose based on our raw feelings and emotions? Those are the moments of spiritual life and death.

Sometimes we have to “get naked” before God, absolutely stripped in order to get to the nitty-gritty of what the real relationship is all about.  Sooner or later, I believe everyone will have a “season of Job” where there is nothing but you and Him.  Our suffering seasons may not look all like someone else’s – it doesn’t even matter what it looks like to others because this is between us and Him.  What matters is the result…will we allow ourselves to be forever altered?  Will we come out closer to Him or farther away?