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Depression - Part 4

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By Jonathan Carl

 Recently, I got to sit down with Savannah Clemons, a professional counselor, and talk with her through the subject of depression. Here are some excerpts from our discussion:
Here are some steps to conquering depression.
1) Recognize Your Situation - Specifically identify your problems, causes, feelings, beliefs, and situation. In order to push forward for a lasting solution you need to analyze your problems and issues.
2) Recognize Your Enemies - Satan, the world, and humans (yourself included) fight against you. Don’t be overwhelmed by these enemies, but be aware as you seek God’s strength and strategy. “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God” (2 Corinthians 10:5)
3) Right mind - You need to believe the truth and repent/turn from wrong belief about yourself and your situation. We do this by taking “every thought captive to obey Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)
4) Right action - You must choose to avoid sin and act in obedience to God, disciplining yourself to stand firm and resist Satan while fleeing temptation. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
5) Right feelings - Don’t trust your feelings. Avoiding false feelings and embrace true feelings. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
6) Right suffering - Seek relief from your suffering but trust God in your suffering. Finish your prayers to God by trusting in His will above your own will. “And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.’” (Mark 14:35-36)
Hebrews 13:6 So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’”
Tips for those in a season of depression:
1. Force yourself to get out and about with people who care about and know you.
2. Ask for help from a faithful pastor, an experienced biblical counselor, and a trusted doctor.
3. Sing, memorize, pray and trust God’s truths, don’t just study them. Hope in Jesus.
4. Be thankful to God for the blessings in your life, no matter how small they seem at the time.
5. Desperately and dependently ask God’s help regularly through His Word.
6. Ask Jesus daily for joy and healing. Confess your sinful failures daily and let them go.
God’s Spirit produces the fruit of patience and peace, which oppose and replace depression. Seek the Spirit’s fruit by staying in fellowship with other Christians, staying in the Word of God, desperately seeking God in prayer, and walking in holy living. ”But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.” Galatians 5:22
“At first blow, our belief in God’s promises may sputter and swerve. But whether we stay on track and make it to the finish line depends on whether, by grace, we set in motion a process of resistance — whether we fight back against the unbelief of anxiety.” John Piper
How can I help someone who is depressed? What should I do? What should I not do? Not helping is not an option. Be compassionate and sympathetic, even if you do not understand. Be like the friends of the lame man, using your faith and lovingly carry your friend to Jesus.
DO:
-Be present, even when the depressed wants to be alone.
-Listen and let the depressed process out loud verbally.
-Validate their feelings as genuine, even if you don’t understand.
-Love practically with acts of kindness and encouraging notes, emails and texts.
-Send encouraging verses as the Lord lays them on your heart.
-Let them know when you are thinking, praying, and fasting for them.
-Speak truth in a humble, loving, and compassionate manner.
Proverbs 27:6 “Faithful are the wounds of a friend”
DON’T:
-Give trite, short and simple statements to tough, complex and overwhelming problems.
-Try to solve all their problems as they verbalize them.
-Think the solution will be quick or easy.
-Add to their overwhelming guilt.
-Avoid them or give surface level interaction when you are uncomfortable.
We can make a difference, taking action to change our lives and to lovingly help others in the midst of overwhelming depression.
1 John 3:16 “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.”