Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Breaking Free From Depression Part II

The man sitting across from me appeared to be well adjusted, successful and good natured. Underneath the calm exterior, I later discovered, was a sea of profound depression and unresolved grief. From early childhood, he had lived in a place he called Shadowland, where everything was gray, and the sun was enshrouded in dark clouds. His parents had always chided him to smile, cheer up, lose the long face, and at least pretend to be having a good time. 

He discovered that he could pretend to be happy. When he acted out as a clown, people liked that, and laughed at his comedic ways. As the years unfolded, he discovered many ways to shield himself from appearing to be depressed. He had masks for every occasion, read joke books constantly to update his banter, and climbed the ladder of success. His wife and children were somewhat oblivious to this other side of the man, and so was everyone else.

He had recently received a promotion at work, with a generous bonus incentive, and was inundated with kudos from his team. Later that evening, he celebrated lavishly with family and friends. The next day, instead of driving to work, he drove instead to a favorite place along the Pacific coast. 

He carefully climbed a trail to the top of a rugged cliff face, and gazed out at the vast expanse of an indigo blue sea. The horizon was banked in dark brooding clouds, suggesting that a storm was headed inland.

“I stood on the edge of that cliff, and slipped off my tie and coat. I was about to end my life, and for some strange reason, it seemed important not to jump while dressed in a $1200.00 suit and a $ 250.00 tie. Ridiculous.”

The man did not jump that day. Instead, he began a journey that led to a process of healing from a lifetime of depression. Several months later, having embraced faith in Jesus Christ, and establishing his own Quiet Place he smiled and said, 

“I am beginning to rebuild years of negative thinking about myself.” He looked out the window of my office and continued, “Renewing my mind daily with the Scriptures, and the inner peace that has come with my new found faith, has broken the cycle of depression. I have a ways to go, but deep inside, I am free.”

Renewing the Mind in The Quiet Place 

As we open the Word of God in The Quiet Place our hearts are touched by His Spirit. He gives us His peace, and invites us to lay the burden of despair at His feet.
I pour out before Him my complaint; before Him I tell my trouble. When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who watch over my way. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life.” Psalm 142:2-3

In the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul outlines our part in transforming our thinking, and shows us that it is a process rather than a singular act of faith and obedience.

Aligning our will with God’s Will

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.” Romans 12:1

Paul urges each of us to yield ourselves to God unreservedly and unconditionally, and ties it to an act of worship on our part.  Our submission is directly linked to our need to bow the knee to God’s Sovereignty.

Acknowledging His Lordship in our Lives
With the submission of our will to His purposes, we are given insight into how to obey God and glorify Him, if we are committed to knowing and following His Will for our lives. The building blocks and mortar of God’s Will, are always found in the bedrock of God’s Word. 

He has broken the chains that had enslaved us, and has set us free. We can change....The key is in our attitudes. He will never lead us in a direction that is contrary to the Scriptures.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  Romans 12:2

Changing Habitual Thought Patterns

Renewing: νακανωσις - a renovation, and a complete change: "To cause to grow up, new, to make new; new strength and vigor is given to one;  to be changed into a new kind of life as opposed to the former corrupt state."   Young's Literal Translation

Suffering through hardship, and physical pain, make it especially difficult to grapple with hopeless, depressed and pessimistic thinking. It is so painfully difficult to shift your mind to a positive optimistic outlook when your body is wracked by pain and suffering. 

The very nature of pain is that it is always more intense than pleasure. A person in continual pain, experiences it morning, noon, and throughout the long lonely night.

Arresting wrong thinking and shifting the focus to Biblical Truth, may not touch the level of a sufferer’s pain at all. Remember it is not about lessening physical pain, or even eliminating the suffering. It is in discovering that God is very near in the midst of the pain, and that a sweet fellowship with Christ is not only possible, it is real.

“Peace does not dwell in outward things, but within the soul; we may preserve it in the midst of bitterest pain, if our will remains firm and submissive. Peace in this life springs from acquiescence to, not in exemption from, suffering.“

Francois Fenelon

God’s Word illuminates the pathway that we are facing in the midst of trials, hardship and suffering, to reveal to us how to respond Biblically to it.

The choices before us are not easy today. They seem more gray than ever, and in a survival mindset, it always seems logical to take the easier path. 

“But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn that shines brighter and brighter until the perfect day.”  Proverbs 4:18

As you work through a time of depression that you might be going through right now, take heart, there is always God's way to sort it out, and it always leads to The Quiet Place.

The video which accompanies this song is from the film The Passion. It may be difficult for some viewers to watch. However, the Amazing Grace which gives us a new life in Jesus Christ, came with an incredible cost. His life in exchange for yours and mine…it is truly a gift from God. He paid a price that He did not owe, so we could have a gift that we could not buy.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

“…Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” 1 Peter 1:18-20

Be sure to turn off the regular music player on this site by just hitting pause. Then click the arrow on the video and watch the video. Thank you for visiting The Quiet Place




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