THIS SERIES: A HOPE-FILLED YEAR
Yesterday was a rain-washed day when all life seemed to have leached from the land, leaving it gloom-laden and silent. A grey-brown day which seeped into my soul and left me stranded for a while.
Depression in its various forms, from mild to catatonic, is suffered by one in five people in the UK, at some point during their lifetime, according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and accounted for 11.7 million working days being lost per year.
Dealing with full-blown depression is a big subject, and outside the scope of a blog post, but there are ways of dealing with low spirits before they take a hold…
First we need to take a rain-check (see blog post on 8th January, 'Hope Health Check' and the following posts on Overcoming Disappointment and Self-pity and Free from Fear and deal with any outstanding issues.
Then we need to tackle the low mood....
Joy is the opposite of depression. Depression as the word implies, presses down, contains and confines. Joy, on the other hand bubbles up and out, and frees and releases. Joy is not something we have to get, it’s something we already have...
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Joy is the opposite of depression. Depression as the word implies, presses down, contains and confines. Joy, on the other hand bubbles up and out, and frees and releases. Yesterday it took me a while, but eventually I remembered… joy is not something we have to get, it’s something we already have!
The Holy Spirit lives in us, (if you’re not sure about this, check out the pages, The Holy Spirit and You and The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit). And joy is one of His characteristics [Galatians 5:22-23], therefore I have joy because I am filled with Him. I am joy-filled, therefore I can rejoice—I just have to learn how to release it.
Jesus said :
'Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’ By this He meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were later to receive.
The Holy Spirit is supposed to flow out from us. We are supposed to live inside out.
PRIMING THE PUMP
As we choose to believe the Word and choose to rejoice, it’s like priming an old-fashioned water pump. It had to be pumped a little, (or a lot, depending on how rusty it was from lack of use) to get the water moving, but then the flow came, and refreshment gushed forth.
And how do I ‘prime the pump’? By smiling, singing, laughing, dancing, looking for things which make me glad, and turning that into praise and thanksgiving. And by talking sternly to my soul, like David:
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.
But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
The difference between ‘priming the pump’ and ‘manufacturing' joy by self-effort, is the focus of our expectation. In the latter my eyes are on myself and my effort, in the former my eyes are on Jesus and His promises.
Jesus came to…
…..provide for those who grieve in Zion--
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of joy instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair (or heaviness).
Put on your dancing shoes, it’s time to let the river flow!
THIS WEEK’S GRACE RHYTHM:
Turn your gaze to Lord, lay your list before Him and let it go.
Begin to thank Him aloud for everything He has blessed you with: the big truths of your salvation, and the small details of your life.
PASS IT ON
[Photo credits: Viacheslav Bida (rainy day); Cassandra Hamer (dancing shoes);
Brooke Cagle (man with phone) @ Unsplash, with thanks]
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