O Lord, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
~Psalm 139: 1-3 (NLT)
This month's blog will be a little different in that it's about two topics we sometimes avoid: Depression and discouragement. Many Christians feel that if someone admits to these things, it is because of sin in their life, not praying enough, lack of faith, or not being a true worshiper because the Word does say in Nehemiah 8:10 that "...The joy of The Lord is our strength", and it is. But, what about those times when we can't seem to find the joy because of where we happen to be in life, or when life becomes overwhelming? Where do we go when there seems to be no one to talk to, or no one understands?
God is our refuge and strength,
always ready to help in times of trouble.
~Psalm 46:1 (NLT)
Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to go to God when we are feeling our worst, but He is the One who can help us. Even if we call a friend or a trusted leader or professional, their ability to help us comes from Him. If all we can do is sit by ourselves alone, God hasn't left us. He's always available even when He seems distant. In the book of Psalms, David wrote about feeling that God had forgotten about him, being discouraged, alone, and feeling sad, and he was a great worshiper. We are no different.
If you know someone who is feeling discouraged or depressed, the best thing you can do is to be a good listener. Don't try to change what they say, tell them how they should or should not feel, or preach at them.Never judge them. Let God lead you as to how to speak after you hear them out. Offer to pray with them, cook them a meal, do whatever you are able to do to assist. If your friend is talking about harming themselves, get them to a safe place and call 9-1-1 if needed. Take everything they say seriously. Remember, it's not your role to try to fix them, but as a friend to get them some help.
The Sovereign Lord has given me his words of wisdom,
so that I know how to comfort the weary.
Morning by morning he wakens me
and opens my understanding to his will.
~ Isaiah 50:4 (NLT)
Lastly, if you are reading this blog and are feeling discouraged for any reason, there is help available. If you can't find anyone to talk to and just need to hear another voice on the phone, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the USA at:
Crisis Text Line: Text "LISTEN" to 741-741
You don't have to be suicidal to call, The Lifeline is a listening ear for anyone who calls, 24 hours a day. Please don't be ashamed. Discouragement and depression are not signs of weakness, they are signs that help is needed. Don't give up...Choose Life!
Lord, you know and see the person who is reading this blog post right now. Please give them grace and strength to walk through whatever season or circumstance they find themselves in. We ask that you would move every hindrance and stumbling block that is in their way and let them see the light that is in You. Restore the joy in their heart and be their rock and shelter. This is our prayer, in Jesus name. Amen.