Monday, January 6, 2014

Struggling in Silence

Have you ever found yourself depressed? Ever feel empty and in need of encouragement? Depression is a part of my past...I've been in the pit and contemplated taking my life. This all happened over 14 years ago, but this past week I've been reminded of some of those feelings.

My life is blessed, my family is healthy and Christmas was good, but I'll admit something that is hard to share...last week I was down, discouraged and a bit depressed. Thankfully I didn't fall as deep into the pit as I did years ago, but I was reminded of my struggle.

Back then I suffered in silence for quite some time...I'd put on my happy face, tell everyone I was fine and play the game...until I was alone. Then the pain would come to the surface and the tears would fall. My negative thoughts would snowball and the hurt would increase. My initial diagnosis of depression came before I accepted Christ and medicine was prescribed to help my condition.

After surrendering my life to Jesus, He gave me hope and healed my heart, but through the years I've learned Christians can be depressed too. So like I said these are words I don't really want to share, but I feel like they're ones I need to...friend, I don't need to suffer in silence and neither do you! That simple statement doesn't take the pain away, so what do we do?

I believe we can take a lesson from my son - just yesterday my 2 year old yet again did something none of the other kids have done...he got stuck in a stool. One of his favorite lines is, "Me help Me!!" But as he struggled to get out, he did something we must do - he asked for help!

I think our answer can be found in one word - ASK. The word alone gives a powerful step, but there's more. Each letter in the word gives us a step we must take!


A - Admit Your Struggle - This was hard for me during my initial walk through depression, but is hard in a different way as a believer. As Christians I think we can tend to believe we shouldn't be depressed, like it's a weakness in our faith. If we just believed more, we wouldn't be depressed, anxious or whatever the struggle. I've thought that, but now know that isn't the case. I still have struggled in sharing my pain though because of the worry of what others will think. (I pray this blog post is a step in the right direction.)

But friend, we can't ask for help if we don't admit we have a struggle. My sister used to always say, "Realization is half the battle" and there is some truth in that statement. If we don't recognize the problem, we'll never find a solution. So we must admit this to ourselves, to God (remember He knows anyway) and to the ones we love.

Galations 6:2 tells us, "Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." Friend, others can't carry out this command if they don't know what our burdens are!

S - Seek Help - As a believer the first place we must go for help is God and His Word. This past week I was reminded that seek is an action word...simply believing in God is not enough, neither is reading His Word to my children or listening to praise music. I must go to Him, sit with Him, abide in Him. Prayer is a great place to start...not just a quick "Help Me Lord", but intentional quiet time with Him. Remember prayer is not just you sharing your heart with God...it's also being still and listening to His. Personally, journalling my prayers really helps!

I'll admit during Christmas my time with God wasn't what it had been and the further I drifted away the more discouraged I became. Friend, when we are constantly in His Word we're continually reminded of His promises. That is the help we need! Jeremiah 29:13 says, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Seeking God isn't something we can do half-heartedly and remember when we find Him, we will see His goodness, faithfulness, power and the list goes on!

Once we turn to God for help, He will provide ALL we need. Perhaps it's Him alone, but He may lead us to encouragement from a friend or guide us to help from medicine. Seek His help and then follow His guidance!

K- Keep Trusting Friend as we ask, admit and seek, we must make the choice to trust. God is faithful, but His ways are not always our ways and His timing can be different too. Remember He has a plan and it is one for good. Trust Him, not just with words in a prayer, but with all of your heart. It can be hard and may not feel like the thing we want to do, but God commands us to and He will bless our obedience. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight."

Friend, I don't know what your day holds, but I know who holds it. Our heavenly Father allows bad things to happen, but He doesn't want us to struggle in silence. He sent His Son because He loves us and Jesus came to give us life abundantly. Friend, Satan wants to steal, kill and destroy...he is the one who loves to see us struggling in silence! ASK for help, Admit your struggle, Seek help and Trust God!

Regardless of what has you down, something big or something small, you can rise above, but you don't have to do it by yourself. Actually you can't do it by yourself, so go to God and He'll provide ALL you need!

If you are not struggling in silence as you read these words, I pray you can tuck away this advice for when you need it most. And I also hope you will be encouraged to reach out to those around you who may be struggling themselves...perhaps you can send a note, give a call or stop to visit - God can use you to help someone else!!

4 comments:

  1. Jill, what a powerful acronym. Thank you for sharing such great spiritual truths about times of sadness and despair. It is something we all walk through during our lives...and even if it is not now...it will come because of the fallen world in which we live. There is no greater medicine than Jesus and the Joy that accompanies knowing Him and having Him live inside our hearts.

    Sweet Blessings on your day,

    Wendy

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and reminding all of us that these are times we all walk through. Blessings back to you!!

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  2. Thank you so much for sharing such a brave, important article today, Jill! Life can be such a struggle at times, especially if we feel we are in the pit of despair alone. I have had what feels like weeks of just being overwhelmed and yet scared to vocalize it until recently. But when I did I found release. And encouragement. Today I read Max Lucado's book You'll Get Through This where he talked of his wife's depression from years ago. Once she made the decision to share her needs with her church instead of presenting a mask of happiness, she began to be lifted out of her sadness. Those who prayed for her and ministered to her during that time held her up and went to battle for her in prayer. I pray all of us reading can be a source of encouragement and prayer for each other. Here's to a wonderful, joyful 2014!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Michelle! I pray God continues to lead you to share your struggle and puts others along your path to encourage you. Thank you too for being an encourager for many!! Blessings to you!

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