Once in a while I fall into the "depths of despair", as Anne of Green Gables would say. Life with all of its disappointments just seems to overwhelm me, and I want to run away.
I had a week like that last week.
This week, I read the following Proverb from Chapter 18, verse 1.
Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.
My pattern is this: I get angry. I look around and see that things are not as they should be. The kids don't measure up. My house is a wreck. My husband doesn't spend time with me. My church is too far away. Finances are tight. I am a failure...
The truth is that my depression comes from anger which comes from lack of contentment. I am not contented with what the Lord has ordained for me. I want a perfect house, obedient children, a marriage-made-in-heaven! I want to pay all of the bills on time. I want to dispense words of wisdom to those who ask for advice. I want to be a great example to family and friends - a true woman of virtue.
The reality is that I struggle daily with sinful patterns, and I don't like them one little bit.
So, I get angry. Then I get depressed. And I want to run away. I think about places I can run to. I hide in my bedroom or sit on the computer. I grunt when spoken to, or dissolve into tears. All I can think about is how rotten my life is and how much better other people's lives are.
The Proverb says, whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire. He becomes self-centered, and all he can think about is self-gratification. He breaks out against all sound judgment - even his own knowledge and wisdom. He seeks advice from no one.
I did that. I didn't want to go to church. I didn't want to be encouraged. I didn't want to read any spiritual blogs or listen to any good sermons. I wanted to wallow for a bit in my own misery... I even didn't want my own sound judgment.
I am not saying that all depression follows this pattern. But I'd wager that a lot of depression comes from anger that has its beginning in looking at one's circumstances instead of keeping one's eyes fixed firmly on Jesus.
Proverbs 18:14 A man's spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?
My spirit was crushed last week. I believe the Enemy of our souls was working to destroy my influence - in my home and in our church.
The answer to any attack is to put on the armour of God.
The Whole Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
Put on your armour the second you see that you're getting your eyes off of Jesus. Put on your armour as soon as you start looking around at the mountain of laundry, the ton of weeds, or the never-ending tasks of daily life. Tell yourself the truth - that Jesus knows your every need and promised to meet them... that He loves you enough to die for you and pay the price for all of your sin... that He understands your weaknesses and supplies His strength as soon as you abide in Him by faith... that He has invited you into His own family and will never forsake you, not even for a second.
You are never alone. No use pretending. No use trying to isolate yourself or play the fool. Instead, fix your eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith, and keep looking at Him. Know that He has given you everything you need for life and godliness.
And start living!