By Chaplain (Maj.) Tony Cech
Special to GUIDON
Depression (periods of sadness) is one of those things that affects most of us at some point in life.
The World Health Organization says globally, more than 300 million people suffer from depression; the CDC says 1 in 20 Americans.
Elijah, a spiritual giant in the Old Testament, even after great accomplishments sunk into depression (1 Kings 16-19).
For all of us, depression tends to come during or after conflict, relational tensions, physical and mental exhaustion and even after successes. I talk to people almost daily who feel like there is conflict in multiple facets of their lives; with bosses, co-workers, kids, spouses, parents, neighbors; even avoiding conflict produces tension. Coupled with hard work, not eating or sleeping well and wrestling mentally to fix problems or people runs us down emotionally and spiritually.
Success, as great as it is, can leave us feeling depleted and empty; athletes can feel empty with the trophy on shelf, students can feel unfulfilled with diploma in hand, and mothers can cry despite a healthy newborn.
Periods of sadness is a human condition; but God would meet us in our depression.
How do we let this happen? First surround yourself with people. When we hurt, we tend to want to be alone but we are not meant to be or go it alone. But people are God’s provision for enjoyable life. Take God’s provision for your life. Let someone love you, care for you, minister to you, be a reality check for you and give you a shoulder to lean on.
Two, don’t focus on the negative.
In everyone’s life there is good and bad. Pain tends to make us only see the pain. The way depression works is that we get focused on the negative. Proverbs 4:23 says “above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. This means we must stop focusing only on the negative but also look for the positive. Look for what’s good in life right now. Make a list.
Three, don’t forget God’s provision.
Elijah forgot how God had worked in his life. Where and when are those times and places you have God’s faithfulness, protection, help, provision, grace or strength? Focus on those and thank him. He’ll meet you.
(Editor’s note: Cech is the 1st Engineer Brigade chaplain.)