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

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