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

Depression, MS, and Wit in a Poem

It tiptoes into peripheral sight,
And stays to take away the light.  
The darkness makes its home there;
Until you realize you were unaware.  

But I didn’t notice this until
I found myself climbing up the hill!
The flat and happy ground was green,
But this hill is dry and brown and mean.

Depression sneaks up to the unsuspecting;
It makes one think they are the one rejecting.  

It causes feelings that don’t belong,
It places monotone where there once was song.
This hemeola of emotions, this fighting of sorts
Leads to modulation that’s unwelcome, of course!

One day I’ll be down, and the next snap out of it.
It’s like this other unpredictable disease a bit.  
Depression is a symptom of MS, as well.  
Which is just my luck– but I won’t dwell!  

If it gets bad enough I’ll go see my doc.
But coming out myself wouldn’t be a shock.
Just like everything else I’ve been given,
I’m too busy to notice it–I’m livin’!  

So before you go and hand me your pity,
Allow me to give you an answer that’s wity:
I may not be from Mississippi, have a master’s degree or be a medical specialist,
But I AM Mega Smart, Mighty Sarcastic, and Marvelously Sweet.  
Just ask my sister mom husband. (We still qualify as “newlyweds.”) 

Jesus, My Saving Grace, as Long as Life Endures

So, I’m a little tentative to put some things on my blog.  However; this is how I cope, and I wanted to share all Jesus’ reassurings he’s been showing me and giving me lately.  It is okay when you struggle with anything.  We live in a broken world, and life wouldn’t be lived well without struggles.  Keep on, keeping on!  Also, pray.  — Anna

 

The flooding waters are black with despair and illness.  Depression cuts through the waves and tries to take down any person it can.  I see my sister sinking.  “Help her, Jesus!  Pick her up!”  And he does.  But she is still in the water.

“You were sinking?” a doc asked my sister.  What if she begins to sink again? he wonders to himself.  And so a life boat is called to retrieve her.  It’s not a real life boat, though.  It’s a fleshful, temporary vessel.  I call upon the life boat that saves and redeems, the true God who cares for each of his children even more than any could imagine.  He can use the temporary vessel and anything he wants to so that his work can be done.  I don’t see my sister.

I am sitting on a life raft, as well.  The MS that inhibits my body tries to pull me down into the waters.  Depression splashes onto my body, too, but the real life boat has pulled me out of the waters before.  I see my sister clinging to the real life raft she had been on before, as all go with the other life boat.

“The waters had come up to my neck, but you saved me, oh God,” I whisper.  “There is no foothold in these miry depths, and one grows weary crying out to you.  But you answered me with your salvation, as you do so often.  Your great love rescues me from the mire and delivers me from the deep, black waters.  Now come near to my sister and rescue her, as well.”  (From Psalm 69)

I had never known what it was like, being the sister of someone with MS, like mine.  I’m the diagnosed person, but I think I understand.  MS affects everyone, as does every illness or disease flesh suffers from.  I helplessly watch her being taken away, and there is nothing I can do as they send me home.  I worry like crazy about her, and I plead with the real life boat’s captain.  “Anna,” he tells me, “I totally got this.  Just trust me.”

I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving (Ps 69:30).  I worship him.  “Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, oh God.  Do not forget the helpless (Ps 10:12).  I cry to you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.  Those who know your name trust in you (Ps 9:10).

“The Lord has promised good to me; his Word my hope secures. He will my shield and portion be, as long as life endures” (Amazing Grace, verse 4) He will my raft and sails be, long after found are cures.  As long as life endures.


//