My Battle Plan against Depression, first steps

Sword Spiritual Warfare2 Corinthians 1:8-10: 8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us.

I have been looking into spiritual warfare a lot lately. I have also been reflecting on my inward struggles and have decided to draw up a battle plan. My biggest inward struggle is against the depression and anxiety that try to control the rest of me. It has been since I can remember. I am at a much better place than I once was. The biggest current struggle now, is that the serotonin-deprived parts of my brain are trying to convince me that it’s not worth exercising or stretching every day. It’ll tire me out and prevent me from getting anything else done today. It might get better for a little while, but then one slip up, and I’ll be right back where I started. It’s almost Thanksgiving, when we’ll be flying back to Minnesota. Car rides and flights always set me back. Why bother? This is a lie I have struggled with for FAR too long.

This spiritual battle wages because we are given the power to overcome sin’s grasps when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. There is no battle when there is no opposing side. The Spirit of God brings us to life spiritually, but we still live in these bodies of flesh that still have a sinful nature. Thus, the battles rages—but victory is assured because we are in Christ! (Matthew 26:41; Romans 7:14-20; Galatians 6:16-17)

In Genesis 4, Cain gets angry that God didn’t look upon him and his sacrifices with favor as God did with his brother, Abel. God addresses it in verses 6 and 7: “6 Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.’” God tells us to fight against sinful feelings! These feelings of depression and anxiety? THEY DON’T CONTROL ME!

Isaiah 53:4-5: “4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for out transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Here, we discover that Jesus went to the cross for our body, soul, and spirit. His suffering was not just for our soul’s salvation, but the HEALING of our soul, as well! He brings us peace—because not only are our sins on that cross, but so are EMOTIONS, FEELINGS, and everything we can imagine! Frustrated? Nail it to the cross. Depressed? Nail it to the cross. Anxious? It’s on the cross!

I know these are a lot of scriptures, but these battle plans need more than just words of mine. You see, the word of God is the sword of the spirit. And with the faith that we receive by reading these verses of truth, we can extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one (Ephesians 6:16-17). I shall continue.

The very first scripture I wrote was a time when Paul was depressed. So depressed that he despaired of life itself. In 1 Kings 19:3-4, we see Elijah when he is depressed. “3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom brush, sat down under it, and prayed he might die. ‘I have had enough, Lord,’ he said. ‘Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.’” Here, we see Elijah in isolation. Depression THRIVES on isolation. Shame is in the driver’s seat when depression shows up. “I am no better than my ancestors who died in the desert before seeing the Promised Land. Kill me, too!” That sounds an awful lot like what I said earlier in this post: It’s not worth exercising. I’ll just go backwards, anyway. I’ll just have this disability forever. Ahh!

How do I fight this? I need to focus on God changing ME instead of what’s around me. In Matthew 14, Jesus is walking on the water, and Peter asks to be called out, too. Picking up in verse 30: “But when Peter saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’ 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.” Peter didn’t pray for the storm to stop, he prayed, “Lord, do a work in me! Reach down and rescue me!” – THEN, the storm stopped! I’m not going to wait until I get miraculously better or I “feel like” exercising or stretching. I can’t keep praying that I’ll “feel like” exercising and stretching more. I just need to DO IT. Because I know that when I take a step, God will be there to guide it. Peter walked on the water until he saw his circumstances and got scared. I’ve been scared too long.

I talked a lot about exercising and stretching for my MS in this post, which is definitely something I need to be doing. I have been dealing with a lot of other lies that this battle plan will help to eliminate. The first step of what I need to do is to straighten all these things out in my mind. Actions are the follow through of thoughts, and I need to start there. Instead of praying that I’ll get more work and that it will pick up, how about I start doing the work I have better? It all starts in my mind.

“…But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us” (2 Corinthians 1:9b-10).

Resources: “The Depression Struggle” sermon by Richard Holmes; “Understanding Spiritual Warfare” by Tonilee Adamson and Bobbye Brooks.

This Post by a warrior in Christ, Anna E. Meyer

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Avengers vs. Disciples (Church, Assemble!)

I love story lines. And a story line I have fallen in love with and can’t get enough of are those of the Marvel Universe. I never really got into reading comic books. My love of words far overpowered that. I love how each character has his own movie, his own story, and then all of the super heroes come together to fight something bigger than they can take on themselves.

What if . . . these super heroes were Christians, trying to make a difference in God’s kingdom, instead of doing that super-hero-thing-they-do? If Iron Man was a disciple, how could he win people to Christ with his powers? Captain America? The Hulk? They all have some pretty great testimonies. I can envision Captain America being the cool pastor of some inner-city church. Black Widow would use her skills to help the church out, as well as Hawkeye. I could see those two heading up outreaches or something. I’ve read a few blog posts on the subject, and the Avengers are an awesome analogy of the church. We are all so very different, yet when we come together and “assemble” in church on Sunday, or at a Lifegroup or Bible study, we glean from each other’s’ differences. While Iron Man is trying to fix an engine that went down, The Captain awaits to pull the red lever. We all get distracted, but the job gets done! Thor would be in the nursery at church, gathering up the toddlers and teaching them about Jesus during church. Or maybe the kids would be climbing all over Hulk—but on second thought, the Hulk’s gifts could be much better used . . . parking cars? Or doing all the heavy lifting.  What jobs would you give these heroes if they went to your church?

What I set out to do with the book that I just released on Amazon, was to create that different kind of super hero—the one that serves Christ and each other. Although there are some deeper issues in the book that probably aren’t fit for children, who doesn’t love a battle scene where scripture shuts down the enemy? In my book, I explore the armor of God, and things of the spiritual world being visible—but only for those with the eyes to see.

If this peaks your interest at all, check out my eBook for Kindle on Amazon here!

Anna E. Meyer

What do you suppose your spiritual gift is? How is that your “super power?” How would having the super power of Christ behind you change the way you live life?

The Armor of God

Ephesians 6:10-20: “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 the 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 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. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” [emphasis mine]

I italicized all of the things we are to do. These pieces of armor aren’t just automatically on us when we become a Christian. We have to put it on daily. Just like you don’t leave your house without putting clothes on, why should we, as Christians, venture into the world without our armor? I am just as guilty as anyone when it comes to leaving without my armor. Simply speak it on: “I buckle the belt of truth around my waist, put in place the breastplate of righteousness, and fit my feet with the readiness that comes from the gospel of God, our peace. I take up the shield of faith, as well as the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit.” While you are speaking these things on, pray for your day! Surrender it to the Lord, who takes much better care of it than we can ever dream of doing!

How well do you understand the armor of God? I love the visualization of it so much, that I wrote it into my book a whole lot. It was fun! Let me share some of my notes on what the armor of God all means.

woman full armor of GodWe first buckle on the belt of truth. The enemy sends lies our way as often as he can. The world is full of it. But remember the TRUTH about all things, especially your identity in Christ! Next, put in place the breastplate of righteousness. I imagine this breastplate as one that wraps around my entire torso. Under the breastplate, you see, are our hearts. Our heart is the hub of our emotions, self-worth, and trust. Many have built extra walls around our hearts from past hurts, but the breastplate of righteousness is especially important. It ensures God’s approval and protects our hearts better than we ever could. God approves of us because he loves us—he loves us so much, that he sent his son to die for us! Next, fit your feet with the readiness to share the good news. Sharing the gospel with everyone you can seems like a daunting task. The word says that the gospel will reach every nation and tongue before Jesus comes back. “What if people respond negatively? What if they attack me, or sharing the gospel turns out to be a hopeless task? That’s what missionaries and pastors do. I can’t!” you say. Let me tell you: the footgear that God gives us is the motivation to proclaim the gospel of God—the good news that everyone needs to hear! Take up the shield of faith. Satan attacks us in the form of insults, setbacks, temptations, etc, etc. But the shield we are given protects us from ALL the flaming arrows of the enemy! Take up the helmet of salvation. Satan loves when we doubt. He tries to make us doubt God, Jesus, and our salvation, as often as he can. The helmet protects our minds from doubting God’s saving work for us. With the helmet, we can remember in our heads who we are! As you can see, all of this defensive gear works together to protect us!

There are two weapons of offense listed with the armor. The first is the sword of the Spirit. Hebrews 4:12 tells us, “The word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Tempted? Trust in the truth of God’s word! The second weapon of offense is prayer. Prayer is simply talking to God, as if he is in the room right next to you! When you talk to God, you are strengthening your relationship with him, and the devil ain’t got ground to stand when God speaks!

To read more about the armor of God in action, check out Acts of the Apostles in the Bible or Saving Vindicity,” the book that I recently published!

 

Be blessed, everyone!

Anna E. Meyer

I PUBLISHED MY VERY FIRST CHRISTIAN FICTION BOOK!!!

3D promoI started writing “Saving Vindicity” the summer of 2011.  And I finally published it!  This book is now available on Amazon for Kindle.  Click here to download it for yourself, read it, and leave a review!

I stopped after writing it, because I was waiting for the “right time.”  Well, who knew when that would be.  After I had a friend read it a few months ago, and she didn’t have much criticism, I decided to go through with it.  The marketing stuff scares me, but I thought I’d start out with this blog. 🙂

Buy the eBook for Kindle here!

This is my very first book of many.  Eventually, if it does well, I’ll release it in paperback.  But I have more writing to do, as it’s on with the next book!

Anna E. Meyer ❤

I trust Jesus more than I worry

He looked straight into my eyes. Even though there was much motion going on around us, he never broke eye contact. All day I could feel him looking straight into my eyes. I would always look to him, as well. When I was distressed about what this MS will do to me in the future, he cupped my face in his hands. “I will help you,” he told me.

“Will you heal me?” I asked.

“I will be with you, and I will help you through everything. Trust me?” he asked.

“Yes, Lord,” I answered.

Time passes. The MS gets better, then it gets worse. Then it gets better again. Even though I worry, I hear the echo of Jesus’ whisper. “I’ve got this. Don’t worry.” Even though I catch myself worrying at times, my heart beats with my reply, “I trust you, God.”

More time passes. I graduate college. I get married. New worries arise. Again, I look up into the ever-loving eyes of my Savior. As before, there is motion in the background, but I’m not looking anywhere. Suddenly, Jesus’ face turns into Doug’s.

“I will be with you, and I will help you through it all,” Doug told me. And I know it’s true. Because I trust my Lord, and he’s the one who sent my husband to me.

“What if the MS does something terrible to me in the future? How am I going to be able to handle children someday?” My frantic voice raises. “I can’t even handle myself!”

Jesus talks, and it’s Doug’s voice that I hear. “Read this verse, Matthew 6:34.”

So I do. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Doug looks at me with the compassion in his eyes that I know comes from our Lord. “Don’t worry about tomorrow, Anna. There are a million and one tomorrows until you even have to think about taking care of kids. By time that comes, you won’t even be worrying about it! You will just do.”

I nod my head as I pick up my journal, so that Doug can’t hear my conversation with God. I confess to Him my worries. I tell Him my fears. And then I give everything to Him. I even thanked Him for the MS, because I have to rely on God for my everything.

“My power is made perfect in weakness,” God tells me through his word. Oh, how I know it’s true! When I am weak, my God is strong. I asked for help taking care of my body, and he sent me a doctor-husband who is as sold out for God as I am. When my body is weak, God shows his strength through me. How else could I write such words tonight? 😉

Be blessed, everyone!

Anna E. Meyer

Poem: GOD Brings Success

Goals and expectations, I set them.

When they pop into my head, I take hold.

I try my best to meet each one,

Forgetting who really controls.

When I fail to meet my mark—

The one that I decided and I set—

Feeling like a failure, I cry.

But I am my biggest threat.

Why do I try these things myself?

As if, by doing more and more, I win?

I surrendered these things yesterday,

But today, I’ve lost before I begin.

“Those who don’t do can’t succeed,”

I hear it over and over again.

But all this focus on “me”?

It causes struggle now and then.

I can’t do anything on my own.

I know this to be true!

Which is why I need God’s help;

And he ALWAYS comes through!

We aren’t supposed to live the Christian life ourselves;

It’s only possible with Christ in us.

So why should I succeed myself?

This is what we need to discuss.

“May I never boast except in the cross,”

The Galatians are told by Paul.

We could never save ourselves,

Nevertheless with success, which makes us fall!

But when I give it back to God?

I let him do his work through me?

Then I am not the one glorified.

It is CHRIST, do you agree?

So may I fail when I try myself,

Because it shows my weakness.

But in my weakness, Christ is made strong.

And in HIS strength, we’ll joyfully confess:

To HIM be the glory forever and ever,

Amen!

Letting Go and Letting God

It has been a roller coaster of a week. Two weeks ago, I was presented with an opportunity to be a Mary Kay Independent Beauty consultant. Well, Dr. Wile E. Coyote and I discussed it, and decided that this randomly WAS from the Lord. It was totally random, and I had never dreamed of working with beauty products EVER. I was working 4 hours a week at my other job, and needed to get out of the house and associate with people other than in a music lesson or online. So, I accepted the opportunity and ordered a starter kit. Then came the discussion about inventory. Any inventory I bought upfront would be an investment, as I would sell it. But it was block week, so Dr. Coyote and I decided to both pray about it and discuss the following Saturday (AFTER tests were done). We made a decision, I told my sales director and my senior consultant (aka my awesome friend Kat who presented me with this unexpected opportunity).

Last night, Dr. Coyote and I stopped and looked around at what had been happening. We had both somehow been in a little funk this week. My debit card would not allow the purchase of the inventory we wanted (and I had already called my bank to discuss it a few times, thinking everything was said and done after that). My website was not active and I couldn’t get to it. Why were these things happening? My confidence in this decision was faltering, and I was relying on myself to fix everything.

Duh! The devil was trying to stop me, and I was trying to resist him by myself. What happened to the armor that the Lord had given me? He protects my head, always reminding me who I am—I am his child and was chosen by him for a purpose! I wear the belt of truth, so that no lies can entangle me and I can always be reminded of the truth. I wear the breastplate of righteousness, which protects my heart. The breastplate keeps the devil out of my heart because it is too easily deceived on its own. And Jesus lives there, empowering me! I also carry the shield of faith, which protects me from attacks and helps me through obstacles in my path (have you seen the way that Captain America uses his shield? I imagine using the shield of faith somehow like that). I hold the sword of the spirit—the word of the Lord. In my own experience, I have found that if I do not start off my day by reading the word, the rest of my day is filled with self-pity and I don’t look up—I’m stuck “naval gazing” (looking down at myself—it’s all me me me me me). We have access to the word like never before—I think I have 8 bibles on my shelf in different translations or with commentaries and such. And lastly, the Lord has given us use of this amazing “weapon” called prayer. And when we’re praying, we have an access to God that we wouldn’t have otherwise!

This Mary Kay job is a ministry. I decided that right away. I will be doing so much more than I would without it! I will have access to so many more women, and I will be able to invest in them. Way more than if I was sitting at home on my computer (which is what I am doing right now as I type…). This job is also an opportunity for the Lord to do his thing and grant his blessings to Dr. Coyote and I, that we can bless, as well.

Nobody and nothing will get in the way of this. The Lord set it in front of me and showed me possibilities he could do with it. Most med students have $250K of debt when they become a doctor. What if I’m not okay with that? I can interact with women and help them discover the beauty that so many of the rest of us see. Somebody did that for me, and I want to share this greatness! I don’t WANT to be normal. I WANT to be different. I WANT to let Christ use me and shine through me. I WANT to make a difference in someone’s life. And maybe someday I’ll drive a pink car (as long as Dr. Coyote wouldn’t have to). Then someday when you’ll see me, you will know that the Lord has been up to something in my life. Are you going to let him be up to something in yours?

Anna E Meyer

Five-Fold Ministry: Evangelist

Synonyms: gatherer, revivalist, etc.

Characteristics: Convicting communicator (which gives power to influence people), has a deep concern for the lost, and has a deep love of God and his people.

Responsibilities: Brings the gospel to nonbelievers and training the saints to effectively evangelize them.

Abilities: Influences people and are adaptable, able to thrive in any situation or culture.

Passion: Winning the lost to Jesus.

Examples: Jesus, Peter, Paul. Who else do you know in this role? Some people from my life in this role include Pastor Rich Holmes, Dusty Hoffman, and Luke Rhoorda.

Evangelists can come in many different forms of people. Dr. Coyote says that he sees our pastor as an evangelist because he passionately talks about being saved and being welcomed into the Lord’s family. Every week, there is a chance for salvation, and whenever somebody makes the decision to ask Christ into their heart, the entire church prays with them. This is not only and evangelist thing, but evangelists are indeed passionate like none other—this is where their heart breaks the most.

Dr. Wile E. Coyote and I were both involved in Cru, a campus ministry on our campuses. Cru is a ministry that is passionate about the lost. Not only did we learn how to share our faith while involved with Cru, but our own faiths grew a ton, as well. There are ministries such as this all over. They do not exist to condemn, just as Christ did not come to condemn. They simply want everyone to have the chance to hear this eternally-saving gospel. Maybe you are a Christian and aren’t being treated as such, but the other person isn’t sure. While involved with Cru, I met a ton of people who didn’t like God, or hadn’t heard the entire gospel plainly before. They never understood it. Or maybe they had grown up in church, but their hearts hadn’t been as involved in church as their heads. It is not our place to judge; that is for God alone to do. I met international students who had never even heard what this Christianity is all about, and I learned about the faiths they grew up with, as well. As I said: the goal of ministries such as Cru is to ensure that as many people that can have the opportunity to know Christ as their savior and Lord.

Anna E. Olson

Do you know of other ministries or people that display this evangelism? Where those without Christ in their lives cause heartbreak and a reason to do what they do?

Five-Fold Ministry: Prophet

Synonyms: Motivator, encourager, seer, guide

Characteristics: Good at encouraging and preaching; have a strong sense of right and wrong (see things as black and white and therefore have a strong sense of justice).

Responsibilities: To recognize, understand, and proclaim God’s word, speaker of or for God (have the ministry of inspired utterance). “Prophets are the mouth of God to the church, speaking forth life, blessings and all the promises of God as well as providing firm rebukes of error and admonishing of sin” (Brother Dino).

Abilities: Receives revelations from God—prophets sense God communicating with them truths to edify the body of Christ.

Passion: Spiritual things.

Examples: Jesus Christ, Silas, and Judas (Acts 15:32). Some people from my life in this role include Bena Hartsock, Ed Traut, Gloria Jordan.

Much of the church believes that there are no prophets anymore. “There is no need of them since we all have the Spirit now.” It is true that we all have the Spirit. The Spirit talks to each of us differently and directly. Proverbs 15:23(b) says, “How good is a timely word!” Ed Traut, in his book The Truth About Prophecy, says that “every one of us at some time need to hear that ‘timely’ word either as a confirmation or comfort. I have seen more lives changed and people encouraged and inspired through a prophetic word, than through most other gifts or ministries” (13). The fact is that the need for a prophet in the Old Testament and New Testament has changed. In Acts 15:32, we read that “Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the believers.”

Prophets don’t prophecy all the time. They must stir up the gift in order to prophecy; it comes on God’s terms, not man’s. One may also work in the office of a prophet without actually having the gift of prophecy. Prophets encourage. They guide the Church to stay on its path, and admonish it if it is wrong. Again, don’t just take my words for granted. Study the Word for it! I received a prophecy once. It sounded something like, “You work really well with kids. They’re going to be blessed by you, I know it.” NOT (In my head, this is going to be a loud, booming, over-exaggerated voice dripping with sarcasm:) “The Lord has summoned thee to work with children, that they may be SAVED! Now goeth and do the Lord’s prompting!” I’ve been diving into learning about this gift specifically, myself, simply because I don’t understand it. I have so much more to say on this topic, but we are talking about the five offices!

Anna E Meyer

Who else do you know that fits in this role?  Share it with them! 

Five-Fold Ministry: Apostle

Synonyms: Church planters, missionaries, messengers, ambassadors of the Gospel, etc.

Characteristics: Visionary leader; good at delegating responsibilities.

Responsibilities: Spread the message of Christ. Establish the church and build it through the Word of God. Plant churches, govern society, be administrators for doctrine and discipline, train others to do their job properly, continually preach on the subject matter found in the seven letters to the seven churches in Revelation.

Examples: Jesus Christ, Simon Peter, Thomas.

The apostle can also have different jobs—actually, any of these ministries can accompany various jobs. For example, Paul was a teacher, but he called himself an apostle first. I see apostles as being the leader of something. They have a lot of responsibilities, and the responsibilities of the other four ministry offices are theirs, as well. This is where delegating responsibilities is important. In Acts 6:1-7, the Twelve realized that there was so much going on that they couldn’t do it all. Therefore, seven others were chosen for the ministry of making sure food was brought to the widows and the like. They were chosen and then sent out for this task. Don’t wait to be asked—sometimes, those in charge need all the help they can get—just tell them where you would like to do some ministry!

I know of church planters who begin with the idea of a church, but add many more people to their team to get the church begun. Trinity Harvest, the church I attend in Pikeville, KY, is a church plant. The Ransom Church, the church I attended in Sioux Falls, SD, is a church plant. There are many great and wonderful churches that I have attended in the past that have been in place for more than 100 years; that’s not the point. Church plants still happen, and the lord moves through them, as he moves through any of his churches. I have family who are missionaries, and they spent most of my growing-up years building up a new church in a village in Africa. Apostles are very much active in the Church today!

Anna E. Olson

Who do you know today that fits the description of an apostle?