True or False Thinking
Each person tends to either look at life from either a positive or negative perspective. We often have to choose to alter the way in which we think. We love to regard ourselves as seeing the truth or stating the facts. However it is the Bible that is the truth which surpasses all else including our thoughts and opinions.
Several years ago, I found myself struggling in a way that I had never before. Previously I counted myself fortunate having overcome both marital and financial issues and felt that Dean and I had built a great life together. We had two wonderful children and the best church ever. Dean battled Crohn’s disease but lived a full and happy life. I therefore assumed that ill health would never be mine.
Five years ago my life took on new meaning. After a cancer scare, repeated nausea took me through a series of tests that resulted in the diagnosis of kidney disease. Restrictions included change of diet, limitted exercise where there was no possibity of getting hit or falling, no travel, a restricted life span, heavy medication and no known cure.
While my specialist thought that I took the news well, I’d hate to see other’s reactions. I felt numb, frightened, confused, constantly teary and unable to focus. To me I had lost the right to make decisions and choices and I felt that I had no control of my life. When in this state it is also difficult to hear others or to find comfort in those that you love and love you. Dean felt helpless in being able to help me. Apart from kidney disease I now found myself fighting depression.
Depression and the Inner Man
Many deal with depression today due to disappointments which come through disease, death, and the loss of relationships, work or finances. Regarding depression it is nice to think that one can take a pill and that the woes of life will disappear. Unfortunately life’s disappointments are not merely a physical, scientific or chemical issue but commonly include problems in the inner man or heart. Depression does not distinguish between the happy or serious, the creative or greatly driven person. It can affect any one.
However depression does not have to rule one’s life. Many Bible greats faced depression and yet they remain Bible greats. God does not look with shame on the depressed. Nor should we.
Helping the Depressed
The positive with depression is that change can occur. Even if we take medication there are changes that can be made. The depressed can choose to change. Healing means that in our believing for healing we take responsibility for change. There are character changes that can be made.
Several decisions were made by myself at this horribly emotional time.
1. I had to own my emotions. Tough call but I had to cry, stop, cry again and stop, move on and be responsible. I had to choose to break out and physically move despite emotional pain and numbness.
2. I sought a second opinion where I was sad to discover that the first diagnosis was correct but that several of the restrictive life changes could be adjusted. (consequently am writing this mid-flight. So much for no travel.)
3. I got brave enough to face the fact that I needed medication to enable myself to get through this. And then went back again to change this medication when finding that I did not enjoy the zombie like state of existence.
4. When the shock wore off and I was established with a breakfast of drugs for every day I sought God Scripturally to get revelation for this new life of mine. Depression often finds one deeply questioning God since for me I felt tricked by God. So often we hang onto a goal so tightly that we have to rethink. Am I pursuing God or a goal? What’s my number one?
5. God doesn’t lie. His promises are true whether I have a disease or not. I determined that I would live to my utmost despite kidney disease. Yes physical healing is important but I also know the importance of remaining focussed on God rather than becoming obsessed with the healing of a disease.
6. I had to get humble. We can be so driven by visions and goals, we can become driven by our sense of achievement. Even though I want a long and fruitful life, I understand that there is a time to live and die. To face serious illness is an opportunity to examine our mortality and also the power of the Almighty God.
7. I determine that I will not live as a victim and I have many friends that encourage and inspire me. I choose to be in church often and omit other things from my life that are less important. To not be in church is comparable to not taking the sick to the doctor. The depressed and diseased need the church more than ever.
8. I listen and allow my husband to guide my life. (most of the time!) When he says it’s time to rest, it’s time to rest.
9. It is rare that a day passes without exercise.
10. I do not attempt to test my healing by playing around with my medications but default to my doctor for this and keep my checkups regular.
Many fight depression due to life’s disappointments and yet sometimes the reasons for our fight are ugly. Pride, unforgiveness, judgment and bitterness are just a few reasons. All are symptoms of an unsurrendered life. We cry out to a healing God but often fail to recognize changes that would actually help us on the path for healing.
As previously stated, there are character changes that we can make that are a part of our healing. God has given us an incredible capacity for change.