Posts Tagged Grace

A Distressing Spirit

1 Samuel 16:14 says “But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him.”  v 23 also speaks of this distressing spirit and says, again, that it was “from the Lord”.  Several times in 1 Samuel we see that this spirit was distressing and also “from the Lord”.

It makes me wonder more about depression.  Obviously Saul had issues that led to his falling out of the Lord’s favor.  It’s interesting to me, however, to think about depression coming to someone specifically from the Lord.

How can we understand why the Lord would purposefully make someone depressed?

Depression is a horrible way of living.  I can only say this because I recognize that in recent years, there have been times in my own life where depression was obviously present.

Not wanting to get out of bed, the inability to make a decision, and just the mere thought of never finding happiness and joy again was enough to change my life in ways I never thought possible.  I never got to the point of giving up completely, however, I will say that I was in a very unhealthy place and it was affecting me greatly.

Day after day, I poured my heart to the Lord asking for His help.  I hated the sureness of waking up everyday to yet more life drama, and yet more depression.  Life was spiraling out of control and I had no way of stopping it.  I was absolutely helpless, and therefore, absolutely unproductive.

Depression costs.  Relationships suffered.  Day to day activities fell by the wayside.  I didn’t care anymore.  I didn’t feel anything but sadness and grief.  I even had to give up homeschooling for a while because I knew I couldn’t deal with normal day-to-day stresses and it was affecting my kids.

Several times I considered seeking medical help hoping that maybe a pill or two a day would lift this burden for me, if even for only a few hours.  It did seriously feel like that commercial where the cartoonish depressed character walks about with a huge cloud lingering over her head!  However I knew, that for me, a chemically masked joy would not solve the problem.

It wasn’t until I began to forcefully, physically and painfully give up myself to the Lord that I began to feel better.  I realized that nothing in this world is within my control anyway.  Even at the deepest, darkest depths of worry and anxiety, the Lord carries us all within His grasp.  This thing called “depression” is only there when we allow it to be…

…or perhaps when the Lord needs it to be.

Like Saul, I too, was fallen.  I had created my little world of picket fences and a Cleaver family.  Despite what heartaches I had felt growing up, I had not yet really understood the bigger picture.

Life is not what I make it.  It belongs to the Lord.  Everything belongs to Him (and I mean everything AND everybody!).

I cannot dictate someone’s response to the Lord.  I cannot control today, the next five minutes, or even the next week.  My husband and children do not belong to me.  Their lives and their will cannot be fully lived out in the order and ways I have dreamed of.

I don’t even fully know myself!  Just when I think I’m understanding the woman I am supposed to be, the Lord shows me there is always a need for change and I will never be perfected until I physically sit in His presence away from this flawed world.

The Lord used the depression to break me.  My life, my spirit, my plans, my understanding all crashed to a halt when He used the “distressing spirit” to bring me back to Him in ways I never thought possible.  I was completely humbled.  I couldn’t even speak.

In that instant, there was a flicker of joy again.  Not a big explosion, but just a flicker….a reminder that He still loves me and really, really cares.

Over time, the flicker is returning to a flame.  I know my will has been broken.  It was done for a good reason, as Romans 8:28 says, and though I am not fully complete in it, I am finding more reasons to smile these days.

Depression is a silent threat.  Unless they are walking in our shoes, people don’t necessarily relate with a depressed person.  We don’t talk about it……or sometimes we CAN’T talk about it because we just don’t know what to say.

Sometimes we SCREAM of our misery and frantically look for a way to live again, but our inability to rationalize the thoughts of what we’re feeling is does not make a connection with the “happy-go-luckys” in our life.

Before you really start getting concerned about me, I want to interject here that I am better, lol.  Yes, there were times that I wondered who would be the first to cinch up my straight jacket, but I am “happy” 😉 to say that it can stay on the hanger for a while longer!

I wanted to share my story now only because I never could have done it before.

Depression hurts, and I understand now.

These days, I smile a bit more.  Recently, a friend and I laughed until I cried.  With another friend, I have even cried until I laughed!

I’m learning to recognize the symptoms of approaching depression and quickly run back to the Lord for help before it returns.

Sometimes I have to just. not. think. — turning my back to concerning situations in order to remember that it’s not my war to wage.

If you are suffering from depression, please know that it can actually be something useful…..a process, perhaps, of cleansing and reconnection.  It may be a long time coming, but if you will call on the Lord and release the hold of your own life, He can and will heal you, as He is doing for me.

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