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With the advent of the internet, blogging, and social networking, much of humanity now has the ability to share their thoughts and feelings almost instantly. That is not news to most of us.
On a humorous and slightly sarcastic note, someone wrote, “Just because you have an internet connection doesn’t mean that you have anything important to say”. I suppose “important” is in the mind of the writer, and not always the reader. I’ll leave that statement alone.
I find myself in a season of life where the words are not coming easily or clearly. There are different kinds of concerns on different fronts. There is instability from the human perspective. I am wondering about the future of certain people and not sure what to think or say.
I am purposely not going into details to try to explain things, because sometimes the words just don’t come. I am learning not to be bothered by that. If you know me, you may know some of what I am talking about, but I am not really looking for people to understand me. Please don’t feel that you need to respond.
It is a strange sensation for us humans to feel things very deeply, but not be able to clearly understand those feelings, or be able to communicate them. If we are fortunate enough to gain some clarity of thought, we then have the challenge of trying to express clearly what we are thinking, and then having the right person to share those thoughts with.
When we are struggling with the issues of life, though there can be people that are sympathetic, some dear people actually make life a bit harder for us. They try too hard to fix things. They give off the cuff advice without thinking. They offer up a quick “prayer of faith” that is more confusing than healing. We can appreciate such intentions, but sometimes we find that we avoid such help.
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Filed under: Blogs
, Fellowship With God
, God's Love
, God's Will
, Good Intentions
, Promises Of God
, Self Awareness
, Spiritual Joy
Lloyd Jones, in his book called “Spiritual Depression”, encourages his readers to “talk to yourself, and don’t let yourself talk to you”. What he means is that we need to purposely take control of our thoughts, and not just be moved by our emotions. This is advice given to the Christian who has the Holy Spirit, The Helper.
Emotions convince you that should eat 4 double cheeseburgers and three chocolate shakes.
Taking control of that thought reminds you that that will make you sick, and that one of each is better.
Emotions convince you that you have failed so often that life will never be satisfying for you.
Taking control of that thought reminds you that Jesus came that you might have life, and that more abundantly.
Emotions convince you that God has cast you aside.
Taking control of that thought reminds you that Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you”.
The Psalmist Asaph did this very thing in Psalm 77…
7 Will the Lord cast off forever?
And will He be favorable no more? (oh yeah, of course not.)
8 Has His mercy ceased forever?
Has His promise failed forevermore? (no, he has not ended His mercy to me, and He will keep His promises)
9 Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies? Selah (I will stop and choose to remember the truth of God’s mercy)
10 And I said, “This is my anguish; (Yes, I am experiencing anguish, but…)
But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High.” (I will choose to think on the goodness of God)
11 I will remember the works of the LORD;
Surely I will remember Your wonders of old. (I will choose to remember His faithfulness to me)
12 I will also meditate on all Your work, (I will think and think again about all that you have done)
And talk of Your deeds. (regardless of how I “feel”, I will speak of Your good deeds)
13 Your way, O God, is in the sanctuary;
Who is so great a God as our God?
14 You are the God who does wonders;
You have declared Your strength among the peoples. (I will choose to remember Your wonders and declarations)
15 You have with Your arm redeemed Your people,
The sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah (Selah…I will stop myself from being driven by emotion…I will remember You, oh God)
I spoke with a dear saint of God recently who is going through a very difficult time in life. This person has been very much wronged as of late, and negative things seem to be piling up one after another.
In the course of our conversation, this person said a couple of things that I often hear.
“I don’t know how much more I can take”. “I’m not handling this well”.
How we view the “handling” of our problems is very interesting to me, and I think we (Christians) get it wrong a lot.
I think we often feel that we aren’t handling things well for the following reasons:
1. We are very emotional, experiencing feelings of anger, resentment, revenge, sadness, despair.
2. We resent that we feel such emotions.
3. On occasions, we say or do things that we regret.
4. We find ourselves complaining to God or to others.
5. We are not ourselves. We are easily distracted, struggle to read our Bibles, and can’t concentrate in prayer. We say things like, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me”.
6. We are tempted to stay away from church or fellowship, because our emotions are depleted, and we can’t stand to talk to one more person.
7. Overall, as Christians, we expect that we ought to be much more in control of our emotions, and not feeling so out of control.
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I have a new friend whose name is Randall Slack. He pastors in Harrah, Oklahoma. I “met” him online.
We have since become friends, and we talk and email. We are branches from the same tree (Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa), and God has brought us together via the internet and phone to encourage each other, and to pray for one another’s families, and for each other.
Randal and his daughter Rachel suffer with differing degrees of depression and mental illness. They have chosen to write about their struggles, for which I commend them. Their hope is to encourage others who struggle with depression or mental illness, and to enlighten “healthy” believers about the struggles of some of their brethren.
I know that there are some within the Body of Christ who will seek to medicate themselves in order to avoid having to face the “normal” struggles of life, whether it be through cheap wine or medical prescriptions. I believe that that choice is to avoid trusting God, and instead, to deal with life in an ungodly manner.
I do believe that some within Jesus’ Church need medication to counteract that which is chemically lacking within their bodies.
I have no medical or psychological training. I am a pastor, but that means that I have been able to be around lots of people for the last 27 years. I have noticed a few things, and do have an opinion.
I am often nervous about some people’s experiences with medication, and I have witnessed what I believe were mis-diagnoses. I have seen other folks respond wonderfully to medication, and wholeheartedly encourage them to stay on it.
Some have suggested that some forms of depression are self induced: a result of one’s unrelieved guilt over sins and failures. I believe that that may be true for some. If that is the case, their best remedy would be a saving, healing relationship with Jesus.
I believe that with other folks, it has nothing to do with their sins at all. It is simply a biological problem.
As with all of man’s efforts, I would say that psychiatric medicine is an imperfect science, subject to wins and losses, but praise God for the wins.
You can read Randall’s thoughts at http://okiepreacher.blogspot.com/
Rachel’s thoughts can be found at http://notesfromthewell.blogspot.com/
To Randal and Rachel: Thanks for sharing. I hope the image posted above doesn’t misrepresent your struggles, but it caught my attention, and I would believe that some who read here will relate to the painting.
1 Thessalonians 5:23, 24 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.