Stress, it is common to all, and does not discriminate. It effects the wealthy and the poor, the young and the mature in age. Stress for me causes an intersection of decision to appear. Thinking about the outcome of stress, can cause, a deeper slide into a pit of despair. The thoughts of an unwelcome outcome from a situation, a stressor, can trigger actions of self indulgence that temporarily provides an escape to a place that momentarily feels safe, but once leaving that space, we once again are immersed in the struggle. Added to the struggle is now guilt, why did I resort back to the thing I had victory over. Condemnation also can cause one to think, “I said I”d never go back to that,” Now being thrusted back to the intersection of decision again.
Depression is something that many struggle with, including myself. Lack of self esteem, lack of approval, degrading comments by others, lack of fulfillment, in my opinion, can lead to depression. Loss of control, not being able to put things in perspective, are signs of depression. Feeling as if you are in a dark place, a pit that you can’t get out of. I’ve heard some people say, “How could someone be depressed, look at all the things he or she has going for themselves, or look at what the person possesses.” It’s not about possessions or status.
Suicide is a subject that we don’t want to talk about, but it resurfaces over and over again. In the media this week, we hear of a well liked comedian / actor, that had some deep battles, which perhaps, lead to a completed suicide. There is a crossroad of decision, and a load of pressure or thoughts that push one to an unwelcome road of thoughts of ending their life. The thoughts from the paragraph above are attributes of depression, however the “dark pit,” is a serious place to be. I hope that you are not at that crossroads. I hope you are not encountering the “dark pit.” If you are please seek a trusted friend and express your thoughts. Maybe there is a co-worker who can be trusted, in which you confide in. Feel free to call me, I would be more than happy talk with you. The city has a EAP program that has confidential counseling services to help you and your family if needed. That number is 1-800-822-4847 to schedule an appointment. Please don’t let the depression take root, there is counseling available.
Depression, suicidal thoughts are not uncommon. We can look at the Bible, and find an account of a man, who one minute was on top of the world, and the next minute was running for his life, wanting to die. Sound familiar? Lets look a little deeper.
Elijah on Mount Carmel – Elijah Experiencing Gods blessings -1 Kings 18 – (NIV) The Bible
16 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah. 17 When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?”
18 “I have not made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the Lord’s commands and have followed the Baals. 19 Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”
20 So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”
But the people said nothing.
22 Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. 23 Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. 24 Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire—he is God.”
Then all the people said, “What you say is good.”
25 Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.” 26 So they took the bull given them and prepared it.
Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.
27 At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 28 So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. 29 Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.
30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.” They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down. 31 Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Your name shall be Israel.” 32 With the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs[a] of seed. 33 He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.”
34 “Do it again,” he said, and they did it again.
“Do it a third time,” he ordered, and they did it the third time. 35 The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.
36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”
38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.
39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!”
1 Kings 19 New International Version (NIV)
Elijah Flees to Horeb – Elijah is running for his life, and wants to die. – I Kings 19 (NIV) – The Bible
19 Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.”
3 Elijah was afraid[a] and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” 5 Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.
All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” 6 He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.
7 The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” 8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. 9 There he went into a cave and spent the night.
The Lord Appears to Elijah
And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
You see depression doesn’t escape anyone. Elijah was a man of God, experiencing the blessings and miracles from God one day. The next day he is afraid and is running for his life and wants to die. Seeing God in the midst of trouble is the light that we need to look for. Nothing just happens to a Christ follower. Elijah’s experience with depression is an example for us, not to run away, but to run to God. Sometimes that still small voice is what we need to listen to. Its not always in the dramatics of life, that God is in, but in the stillness of the moment. So if your at a crossroads, look for the light, Jesus is the light. In Him is no darkness at all.
Note: This blog was written, not by a professional counselor, but by a friend wanting to share his thoughts. This blog is strictly my opinion, and is not intended as a professional counseling page.
May God bless you, and your family this week.
Summer months are busy aren’t they? It seems like there isn’t enough time in the day to do all the things on the to-do list. If we aren’t careful we can get so over burdened by the weight of “stuff that needs doin,” we lose sight of practical things, such as communicating with the family. We can get so focused on things that we need to accomplish, that we can take for granted the things that really mean the most, our family. Loosing ground, on the “stuff” that needs doing, causes us to enter into a whirlwind of unfinished projects, causing, frustration to build, followed by anger, and perhaps blaming family for the things left undone. Depression can mingle into the picture, dragging us to a place of guilt, or even the “I don’t care anymore,” attitude, don’t care, if I ever accomplish what I started out to do.
I can relate to the fire hall. It seems like sometimes the years just crash into each other. It seems like we just finished last years hydrants, and now, its time to test them all over again, plus do company inspections, plus pre-plan, plus, plus, plus… well you know what I mean, and at times it can become a burden, especially staying motivated’ and keeping everyone else motivated, can be tough at times. Then I am reminded of Gods Word, – Psalms 121. The psalmist gives us a picture of the writer, in a perhaps, depressed place, a place where he needed to lift up his head to a new horizon. He knew that if he kept looking horizontal, then he would be focusing on all the “stuff” around him. Notice what happens when he looked up. He saw beyond his status quo, he saw his “HELP!”
My wife’s mother had terminal cancer many years ago. One of her sayings, that she would often quote was “Keep Looking Up!” Whenever she would feel the pain of the disease, she would say “Keep Looking Up! Her perception was focused on something, higher than her pain, greater than her infirmity, stronger than the hurt. She was focused on God.
Whenever I want to give myself a pity party because of “stuff,” I need to be grateful that I have the opportunity to “Love my family, cherish my friends, work with some great people at the fire dept., and give myself totally to the authority of this higher power, that my wife’s mom looked up to. Jesus.”
Galatians 6 v 9 – And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
Psalm 121 King James Version (KJV)
121 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
2 My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.
3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.
6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
8 The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.
No Matter What, Don’t Give Up, Keep Looking Up!!!