I listened to a sermon yesterday about Elijah in the Old Testament and his bout with depression. The preacher advanced his theory that depression affects all of us in one way or another. For him, he was depressed for nine months. These are the points he made in his sermon.
- What goes up must come down. Emotional highs are often followed by depression.
- Stress and exhaustion can cause depression. If you feel yourself in either of these two conditions, seek a quiet place and get some rest. When we are physically exhausted (or burnt out), we are incredibly vulnerable.
- Unmet expectations and disappointments can bring on depression. Unrealistic expectations can lead to a big fall. Be realistic with what you expect from yourself, and know that God is ultimately in charge of us.
- It’s hard to carry on when you are all alone. Reach out. Find a fast friend who will stand by you. [In Too Late in the Afternoon, Dave Logan stood alongside his friend Mitch Jasper, even though Mitch had abandoned him after high school. You never know where that friend may come from, but God will send him or her if you are open to that.]We all need encouragement, and a person who is depressed most of all.
- Depression produces a distorted view of reality. What Elijah did was focus on his problems, and when we focus on our problems, we are defeated.
- God will bring us through if we open ourselves up to Him, but it may not happen right away. For me it was five years, though in retrospect I see His hand putting the pieces together for me over those years to bring me out of depression. Had I not been so self-sufficient and hard-hearted, it may have taken much less time.
There is more to this sermon. I’ll finish the points in the next post.