When we are young we often look ahead and conclude that we will reach a level of maturity and strength when we enter later seasons of life. Life, time, and God (if we allow him to) have a tendency to reveal how very weak we are and how very much we need His strength each day. We learn that He allows thorns to keep us from becoming conceited, that His grace is sufficient, and His power is made perfect in weakness.
“Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Over the years, God has used depression and anxiety to slow me down and limit me in ways He may not choose to limit others. It is the way that He has chosen to work in my life. It is one of the things that He has used to teach me what it means to live my life, one day at a time, clinging to him and seeking to be faithful with each day.
I am grateful for what God has done in and through the depression and anxiety that has been allowed into my life. He has taught me that I can meet him, even when the depression doesn’t lift. I can look for him and direct my thoughts, even when my feelings tell me that he has forgotten me. I can lift my eyes, see what is in front of me, and choose to be faithful to what he has called me to do, even when I feel too weak to take another step.
“He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40)
10 Ways To Find God In Your Depression:
- Look for the ways that God has shown his strength in your weakness. Has he enabled you to persevere through the day when everything within you wants to sit on the couch and withdraw?
- On those days when you wake up with a knot in your stomach, use that knot as a reminder to take time to pray for people in your life who are suffering. (I call that knot in my stomach my “prayer knot”!)
- Take some time to thank God for allowing depression and anxiety into your life. Thank him for what he is doing in your life because of it, and tell him that you know it is a part of His plan even though it is not what you would ask for.
- Ask God to show you what he wants you to learn during this time of depression. Remember that God is always working, even when we can’t see how he is working!
- Ask God to help you to live each day, one day at a time, focused on the Gospel and finding your hope in Him alone. “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.” Psalm 62:1
- Remind yourself that God is accomplishing every good thing He has planned for you, and He will do that in spite of your weakness. “The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your loving kindness, O LORD, is everlasting…” Psalm 138:8
- Persevere and do the next thing! Choose to walk in faith, one day at a time, choosing to be faithful to do what he has put in front of you. Ask God to help you to find peace and rest in focusing on today, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27’
- Choose to seek him each day, even if all you can do is speak his name. Cry out to him. Thank him for enabling you to get through each day. Acknowledge that it is by his strength alone that you have pushed through another day. He desires that He would be exalted in and through you.
- Even though it doesn’t feel like God is working, his Word tells us that he is doing a “new thing”. Thank him that He is doing a new thing in you. “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19
- Remember how God has been faithful to you in the past and tell him that you trust him to be faithful today and in the future. Remind yourself of his promises and rest in them.
We are physical, spiritual, and emotional beings. We need to be sure that we pay attention to all 3 parts of who we are. If you are experiencing depression/anxiety, be sure to see a doctor to rule out any physical issues that may be contributing to your condition. Pursue counseling if you need to. Ask God to send you a support system who will walk with you through this difficult season. And immerse yourself in the truths of God’s word so that you can cling to his promises.
He is there. He is faithful. I promise!
“Our merciful Savior never gives a thorn without this added grace – He takes the thorn to pin aside the veil which hides His face.”
A Prayer for When You Battle Depression
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you that you never change, even when everything around me is changing and unpredictable. (Hebrews 13:8) Thank you that you are stable, even when I feel so very unstable. (Isaiah 33:6) It feels like Satan has been whipping me around! Please sustain me, protect me, and enable me to stand. (1 John 4:4; Psalm 28:7)
I know that because sin entered the world, all of creation is under a curse–all creation groans. (Romans 8:22) Because of this, I struggle physically, emotionally and spiritually. Thank you for how my body is made, and that it sends me warning signals to tell me that I need help. Right now my brain and emotions are telling me that something isn’t right.
Help me to see if there is something physical that is causing my depression. Help me to sift through my circumstances to see if there is a need for change in some way. If I am experiencing depression as a result of a spiritual battle, please bring that to light and show me the best way to fight that battle.
Please lead me to the right source for help. Thank you for understanding what I am going through (Hebrews 4:15), and thank you that Your Word tells me that even Your Son went through hard times emotionally. There were times that He was distressed, grieved, faced loneliness, experienced deep sorrow, and after the death of John He went into isolation (Matthew 14:13). He cried in prayer (Hebrews 5:7-9), and at times he was overwhelmingly sad (Isaiah 53:3). There was even a time that he was afraid his body would not survive the anguish he felt. (Matthew 26:38)
I pray that You would send someone to help bear my burden. (Galatians 6:2) Thank you for again reminding me of how weak I am, and for the body of Christ that you have provided to help bear burdens when we grow too weary to bear them alone. I need someone to come along side me, take my arms, wrap them around their neck, and help me walk until I am strong enough to walk on my own. (Ecclesiastes 4:9)
Thank you for the grace that you have provided. (Hebrews 4:16) I pray You will use this difficult time to cause me to go deeper in my relationship with You, and that You would get the glory for anything that is produced in me. (James 1) Thank you for how you are going to use this time in my life and for all you are doing through this depression. Thank you that You have allowed my weakness to manifest itself in the form of depression, so that You can work more of Your image into my life. (Galatians 2:20; Galatians 4:19)
Thank you that I am not defined by this weakness. Since I am Your child, I am defined by what You accomplished on the cross. Because of Christ’s death on the cross, I can wake up every morning and live life knowing that no matter what I do, think, say, or feel–the cross covers it. Because You offered up Your own beloved Son, I can have peace with You and can face each day with fresh hope and grace. Help me to focus on what is true, and not focus on how I feel. As I sit before the cross, help me to gain a new appreciation for what it actually means for me on a daily basis.
Help me to embrace my weakness as a gift. Remind me that my weakness allows You to work through me even when I am so very weak and feel as though I can do nothing. (2 Corinthians 12:9) Through this time, I pray that you would enlarged my heart that I might love and obey You, and love others more deeply. (Psalm 119:32; Galatians 6:2; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4)