How Great is Our God in HEBREW,

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Is Happiness a Choice?

A person who struggles with depression asked a tough question.  "Is happiness a choice?"  This statement has angered and frustrated depressed people for forever.  The implication that we can throw a switch and suddenly be bathed in light and joy is an insult in its simplistic confidence that WE are in control of the way our brains make us feel.  And yet.....there is a touch of truth in the statement which is perhaps why we hate it so very much.

Years ago i was in the depths of the deepest, darkest depression imaginable.  It stayed with me for 15 years.  I don't know back then, if I was able to use my will to make any change in how I was feeling.  But I also know that I did perpetuate the death spiral I was in....I self harmed.  I closed my ears to God and his children.  I smoked and used foul language....which offended my brothers and sisters in Christ and put distance between me and them.  Now, years later --it is true, I am on an antidepressant that is helping me.  Years ago I tried all that science had to offer but none of the drugs back then helped me.

But the answer is not completely found in a pill.  It is found in an opening of your heart to hear and  respond to God's voice and his commandments.  Just as David said "there is no soundness in my bones."  He spoke of groaning and being brought to the point of despair and death itself, all because he was hiding his sin from God.  As long as we deny that the help we need comes from above, we will be closed off from the power that sustains our life. Please note: I am NOT saying that depression is caused by sin or that if we would confess our sins, our depression would leave.  That is only a part of the answer....but it is a part which cannot be neglected.  Years ago I would not even converse with God in my heart...I cut myself off from the source of light and life--is it no wonder my heart was filled with darkness?  I am God's creation and if i am hating God, then it follows that I would hate myself and they way God made me.

The answers are complex.  And yes, a person can do everything right and still be immersed in darkness and despair.  But there are choices that we all have available to us which will go a long way in helping us to enjoy our lives.
  1.  Confess all sin HONESTLY and completely. 
  2.  Ask God to help us...and expect that he will. 
  3. Be grateful for all that we have and for the blessings he's given us and for his creation. (read the book 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp)  
  4. Every morning when you wake up, thank God for your sleep and thank him for a new day. Ask that he will open your eyes to all the possibilities contained in the day ahead.  Try to get outside...walk, garden.  Grow some responsible for sustaining a life other than your own, even if it is just an African Violet.
  5. Get into the word.   There is a verse that talks about the "washing of the Word" and this is true. The more we sink our teeth into the meat of the Word, the less and less of a hold will we have on those deeply etched sins in our hearts.  Gradually they will be washed away JUST BY READING his Word DAILY.  
  6. Eat healthfully.  To see what comprises a healthy diet read Eat to Live by Joel Furhman....I heartily recommend it and many kinds of bad health can be reduced or cured by the way we eat.  Our brain is made up of the food we eat, is it not?  If you are not eating well, you can't expect your brain to function well.  IN those years of darkness my diet was comprised of either a cup of  yogurt a day.  Or a Dairy Queen Blizzard. (and that was IT for the whole day) or a candy bar.  Now is it any wonder that I was so sick?? and lastly 
  7. Associate with other Christians....those who truly have a living relationship with the Lord your heart to them and share your struggles. (yes, you must be careful here. There are those who are holier than thou who don't understand illness and  who are self absorbed.) ask God to bring someone in to your life with whom you can share and from whom you can derive strength.    
I hope you don't feel like I was preaching.  I did a lot of things wrong back then....things that were unhealthy --and I did them because I hated my life and didn't want to sustain it in any way.  But if I HAD, in faith, taken care of myself, who knows? Maybe my despair would have been lessened or shortened.
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