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Christmas and Depressionby Duane Mabee on December 5, 2019
The Christmas season triggers depression for many people. Even Christians get depressed, which isn’t a sin. Some of God’s best servants have struggled with depression, including the Apostle Paul. So, here are some thoughts on dealing with depression that I’ve gleaned from a helpful article by Blake Boylston.
Look – Pay attention to the people around you who are trying to help. God put them in your life at the time of your depression. Ask yourself: Who is consistently checking in on me? Who seems to keep making themselves available to talk? Who goes out of their way to make me feel important and loved? Whoever that is, don’t overlook or underestimate God’s provision for you through them.
Limit – Discover your present physical, social, and emotional limitations — and accept them. When you are depressed, it’s not uncommon for it to become difficult to eat well, exercise, or get good sleep. So, it can be helpful to make some lifestyle adjustments in order to face each day. You may need to cut back on additional responsibilities at work or say “not now” to new commitments.
Lament – It is okay to grieve. Some feel guilty for feeling sad, but sorrow is one of the clearest expressions of our humanity. In fact, many of us don’t grieve and lament enough about things God expects us to – things like our own sin, seeing people rebel against God’s Word, longing for sinners to turn to Christ for salvation, being separated from close friends, experiencing the death of loved ones, and longing for younger believers to be made like Christ.
When you’re experiencing a cloud of depression, bring your grief and cries for help to God in prayer. He sees everything you’re going through, and He knows your weak frame. The Lord is compassionate toward your cry. He is “near to the brokenhearted” (Ps. 34:18).
Laugh – Take note of anything that brings you joy and lightens your mood. Depression is nothing to laugh about, and those ministering to downcast spirits should never take it lightly. Yet one of the most practical and beneficial ways God can lift a weary soul is through the fellowship of people you enjoy being around. Wherever possible, enjoy the company of dear friends can cheer your spirit and bring God glory in the process.
Love – God’s love reaches into your darkness and meets you where you are. Some of the hardest words to believe in a season of depression are “God loves you.” Your thoughts seem to be telling you otherwise. But, the gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news of God entering our darkness by taking on human flesh. It’s about how the eternal Son of God came to reveal Himself as the life and light of the world. Jesus is the Great Physician in Whom we can find healing and rest for our souls. So, study the gospel. Meditate on it. Preach it to your soul. And know that even in the depths of your depression, God’s love for you abides.