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From Depression | The Comeback

#storychanging

From Depression | The Comeback

Monday Elijah was afraid and ran for his life…and left his servant there.   1 Kings 19:3

*When the Smith’s son was killed in an accident, they dropped out of church, left small group, and virtually disappeared.

*When Randi’s job folded suddenly, she stopped returning texts, phone calls, and messages, and wouldn’t answer the door.

*When Elijah learned the queen was out to kill him, he took off, leaving even his closest companions behind.

When fear hits and digs in its heels, depression often follows. Something awful knocks the wind out of our sails and instantly Satan is in our ear, hinting that this time…THIS TIME…God won’t come through for us. And we panic. Panic is a terrible life coach. Panic makes irrational decisions and then leaves us to deal with up the consequences. It also opens the door for rage, bitterness, and twisted thinking—the perfect recipe for depression. Depressed people won’t do what they need to do to overcome it. They choose the exact opposite. Instead of pressing on toward hope, they nurture hopelessness. Instead of running toward God and His people, they isolate themselves. And isolation is a petri dish for depression.

Final Thought: When fear threatens you with depression, do you run away or run toward God?

Prayer: Father, I haven’t always handled depression in a healthy way. When I get scared, I think it’s all up to me to fix it. Help me create a new pattern of running toward you no matter who or what is threatening me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Tuesday  …he traveled on a day’s journey…sat down under a broom tree and prayed that he might die. 1 Kings 19:4

Okay, be honest. Who hasn’t had a moment (or several moments) like this? You’ve HAD it. It’s too much. Life keeps getting crazier, the world has lost its ever-loving mind, and six feet under is where you’d rather be. Let the world rip each other limb from limb, you’re outta here. So you rant to God, get it out of your system, and then you wait. Surely the Lord will see how spent you are. Surely He will agree with you, pity you, and zap you into the clouds like He did with Elijah. But He doesn’t.

Most of us have felt that we were at the end of our ropes at least once. If you haven’t, just wait. Life beats us up pretty badly. Being a Christian does not protect us from pain and discouragement. Elijah was God’s hand-picked prophet. He’d just called down fire from heaven, slaughtered hundreds of wicked idol priests, and ordered the sky to rain—and it did. If anyone deserved to be crowd-surfing and signing autographs, it was Elijah. Instead, he was pleading with God to kill him. Fear can bring on depression, but so can spiritual success. Many famous teachers and leaders admit that they face some of their darkest hours following a mighty outpouring of God. When we’ve battled with Satan’s forces, led others to salvation, and won spiritual victories, we think the war is over. It isn’t. Think of it this way: A group of children is chased by a pack of hungry wolves. One child makes sure the others reach safety, then turns to face the wolves. What do you think will happen next?

Final Thought:  Don’t be surprised when the deepest depressions follow the greatest victories.

Prayer: Lord, I’ve experienced this after you’ve done some great things in my life. I thought I had done something wrong for feeling this way, but now I realize Satan wasn’t through attacking me. Help me hang on through the dark places. Amen.

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Wednesday  And the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”   1 Kings 19:9

The Lord’s question sounded a lot like the one He asked Adam in the Garden of Eden: “Where are you?” (Gen. 3:9)

Did the Lord not know where Adam was? Did He not know what Elijah was doing in the cave? Of course God knew. But they didn’t know. Before God can teach us something, He needs to show us where we are. We overrate, underrate, and fool ourselves about our why we’re doing what we’re doing. God can’t do anything with us while we live in self-deception. So when Elijah had calmed down enough to think about it, God asked him what he was doing running like that.

“What are you doing here, Mike?” What are you doing here, Sherry?” “What are you doing here Ken…Diana…Bret…?” When God is ready to change our direction, He asks us to reevaluate where we are hiding. Many times we’ve chosen sin as our

cave. We hide in addictions, weaknesses, or excuses. Other times we hide in popularity, money, or comfort. But God created us for more. He wants to free us from worldliness so our devotion belongs only to Him. Hiding in anything other than Christ can bring depression. Life seems to have no purpose and we’re not sure why we’re even here. If we invest our gifts, skills, interests, and passions for anything other than His kingdom, we’re hiding. So God calls to us: “What are you doing here in this sinful lifestyle?” “What are you doing here in this worldly mindset? This laziness? This depression? I’ve got more for you. I designed you for purpose and this isn’t it. Come out of this cave and follow me.”

Final Thought:  Look around at where you are spiritually. What are you doing there?

Prayer: Father, I realize I’ve been hiding instead of investing all I am in your kingdom. I am hiding in _____ and it isn’t working. I want to be all I can be and that only happens when I’m totally devoted to your purposes. I’m coming out of hiding. Amen.

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Thursday  “I have been very zealous for the LORD…but the Israelites have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I am the only one left, and they are seeking my life as well.” 1 Kings 19:10

Kelci tried to stop shaking as she watched the people she thought were her friends. They were stealing test answers, but she refused to participate and they were mocking her for it. Kelci chose to stand alone, but it was depressing.

Adam stared down at his desk, his heart thudding painfully. The porn video was blaring from the break-room, but he’d purposed to fight for a pure mind. So he gripped the sides of his desk and resisted. Standing alone was right, but it could be depressing.

When we’ve gone all in for the Lord, seeking His ways above our own, we will often find ourselves standing alone. Surrender to the Lord is not popular with everyone, and they often give us grief because of it. Elijah felt alone too. So many of his countrymen had embraced idol worship and Elijah, the coolest prophet in Israel, was no longer popular. It was depressing. But in the next verse, the Lord gently corrects his worn-out servant. “No, Elijah, you’re not alone. There are 7000 more who have not bowed to idols.” And although we often feel like the only ones who want to obey God, there are more. And we’ll meet them all someday when we enter the Lord’s presence. The hope of that day lifts us out of depression and helps us press on.

Final Thought:  In what situations have you felt like the only one who wanted to please the Lord?

Prayer: Father, you never said that following you would be easy. Sometimes, it’s actually depressing. But you’ve promised a reward one day that will far outweigh any hurts I have. May I press on in obedience, even if I’m alone. In Jesus’ name, amen

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Friday   When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, your consolations delight my soul.   Psalm 94:19 

Benny went to the bar. Alisson went to sexual relationships. Eddie went to work and Mel and went to bed. Where do you go when anxious thoughts multiply within you? And they will at some point. When “Oh no! Oh no! Oh no!” becomes the soundtrack of your life, where do you go to turn it off? Anxiety is the ugly twin of Depression and they like to hang out together. Sometimes Anxiety comes first, leaving the door open for Depression to follow. If we don’t kick them out in time, they gang up on us and suggest some truly terrible possibilities. God has a better solution than the bar or sexual trysts. It’s delight.

When we’re overcome with anxiety or depression, nothing delights us. We could win the lottery and it wouldn’t matter. We’ve lost the ability to feel delight, but God says that’s the secret to overcoming the twin bullies. We can train ourselves to delight in God’s consolations. They are the promises in His word that cannot be broken. If Paul and Silas could sing praises in a dark dungeon after being beaten, then we can choose that too (Acts 16:25). When under attack by the ugly twins, we must intentionally refocus on God’s consolations. Here are a few of them: He is with us (Deuteronomy 31:8). He is for us (Romans 8:31). He is designing a Dream Home for us (John 14:1-2). He has saved us (Titus 3:5). He loves us (1 John 3:1). He’ll make even terrible things good if we trust Him with them (Rom. 8:28). Delight is God’s anti-depressant.

Final Thought:  Where do you run when anxiety and depression attack? Medicate yourself with God’s consolations. 

Prayer: Father, I run to the wrong things when anxiety and depression attack. Please forgive me for ignoring your consolations. Help me learn to find delight in them, even when life crashes in. You are my delight.  In Jesus’ name, amen.