As the holidays approach, depression can be even more painful than normal. It’s a time of year when we feel more pressure than normal to be happy. And when we’re already feeling depressed, the holidays can feel like something to endure rather than enjoy. So how can we get back to a sense of emotional well-being and enjoy the holidays?
Try a new strategy for resisting depression. If your story is like mine, you’ve tried over and over again to pull yourself out of depression. After getting knocked back down AGAIN, it felt safer to just stay in that dark hole. The disappointment of trying to overcome depression and failing was just too painful. The problem was, I kept trying the same strategies over and over. But if nothing changes, nothing changes. Instead of faking it til you make it, I want to suggest something that works. But let me warn you, what is needed is probably the last thing you’ll feel like doing. This will take an act of your will. Ready? This is step 1 for pulling out of a bout of depression:
Worship God. Use your mouth to praise Him. Out loud. This is your weapon of choice that defeats depression. God wants to give you,
“a crown of beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and a garment of praise for a spirit of despair.” (Isaiah 61:3)
Let’s get really practical here. How would this play out? What would it look like to do this? Let’s say you’re at home, and a wave of depression comes over you. This is what the Lord has taught me to do:
Turn on some worship music. Find some Christian artists that focus on God’s qualities, i.e., His goodness, faithfulness, lovingkindness, etc. Create a playlist on your phone for worship. Here’s a few I play: Jeremy Riddle, Kari Jobe, Elevation Music.
Sing along to the worship song until the depression lifts. This may happen quickly, or it may take time. But it will lift. It may come back 5 times in a single day, or it may not come back for weeks. The key is to resist depression every time. It may feel at first like all you do is resist depression. But it will in time get better, less frequent IF you do not give up.
I remember when I first started worshipping God at home. It felt awkward. Exposed. “What if someone hears me?” That will get better with practice. It will begin to feel more natural in time.
Then, use your mouth to praise God for Who He is. I use scripture to do this. I quote Bible verses, i.e.,
“One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O LORD, are loving.” (Psalm 62:11-12)
“The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in loving devotion. The LORD is good to all; His compassion rests on all He has made.…” Psalm 145:8-9
“Your unfailing love, O LORD, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O LORD. How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights. For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.” Psalm 36:5-9
These are just a few samples of worship scriptures. The Bible is full of them. I find it helpful to always be on the lookout for them when I read the Bible. I collect them on index cards so I have them handy when I need them.
Worship is a strategy that works! It is a divinely powerful weapon that defeats depression, despair, defeat, and even the desire for death! It is said that worship creates a fire around our soul. (Our soul includes our mind and our emotions.)
When we worship, we lift our heads. We shift our gaze off of our problems and pain. We look at Him who loves us most. We might think we’re making some sacrifice to look at our Savior, but we’re not. We’re the ones who are blessed. Worship is a gift to God, but also to us.
In my next post, I’ll talk about another strategy for pulling out of a bout of depression. I’ll hope you’ll join me again,
Arlene, great advice and very practical. In the last 15+ years, due to physical ailments, life changes, etc. I have off and on had to WORK at choosing to make my mind go in the right direction!!! I have a couple hundred index cards that I read out loud until I “believe it” for myself and the enemy has to run away!! Thanks for sharing!!!!!
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I’m SO proud of you, Cindy! That takes a lot of intentionality and perseverance. Thank you for sharing this…
Very good advice, Arlene! Wade