What if you could fly? What if you won the lottery? What if you had the perfect family? Or the perfect life in a perfect world?
Remember when you were a new Christian, “Saved?” Can you recall the Joy? Do you still have that Joy?
You are not alone, in fact, it is a normal occurrence in a Christian’s life. It’s part of “Spiritual Depression.” I would like to concentrate on this part of spiritual depression. It is the crux of the matter.
In my book, “Heaven by Attrition”, it is the largest chapter and I get more good feedback from my readers.
*Jesus compared the joy at finding a lost sheep to the elation in Heaven over a sinner’s repentance. The unstated conclusion is that the hope of such a conversion was the reason Jesus associated with the undesirable of the society at that time. Persons who need NO repentance is a rhetorical way of describing the scribes and the Pharisees. A similar description depiction is found in Luke 5:31.
(Luk 5:31 MKJV) And Jesus answered and said to them, Those who are sound do not need a physician, but those who are sick.
(Luk 5:32 MKJV) I did not come to call the righteous to repentance, but sinners.
There’s more: in Luke 15:7
(Luk 15:1 -7 MKJV) And all the tax-collectors and sinners drew near to Him in order to hear Him. vs. 2: And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receives sinners and eats with them. vs. 3: And He spoke this parable to them, saying, vs. 4: What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after that which is lost until he finds it? vs. 5: And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. vs. 6: And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost vs. 7: I say to you that likewise joy shall be in Heaven over one sinner who repents, more than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.
That is the perspective that I would like to bring out, because I always questioned why He left those 99 sheep unintended. The Pharisee’s did not think they were lost, in order to be found. It’s not hard to think about this concept, especially when you read Matt 7:13
(Mat 7:13 MKJV) Go in through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there are who go in through it. so #99 to #1 seems fair. Think about that.
I was diagnosed with “clinical depression,” and did not believe the Dr. He said my body was depressed. This was 25 years ago. I refused the medication for two years, because I felt just fine. I did give in and take it and I was in for a shock! I was 100% better and did not know that I was in this condition because I felt free and happy. In other words, I was not aware that I was depressed.
Many of us have it and do not realize it. Again, it is insidious like Satan.
Bouts of anxiety in my case is affected by changes in the brain called “neurotransmitters.” There are three that I know of: Serotonin; Norepinephrine; and Dopamine.” Here’s the rub: you need to know what your deficiencies are, however there are no tests to speak of that can determine what chemical (s) that are lacking. Thus, the “guinea pig treatment.”
First, you are put under a regiment of one or two antidepressants. Then you wait about two weeks to see if they work. If they don’t help, you go through this process again with different medications, along with their side effects. Then if they work and you have side effects, they give you pills for the side effects and on and on it goes.
Sorry, I got carried away. The purpose of this illustration is to show the difference between “Spiritual Depression” and “Clinical Depression.” And let me tell you that spiritual depression is much worse.
As I had stated, spiritual depression is much worse. With the Spiritual, you just want to die. Not by your hand, but that is the feeling to describe it. The fact that there is an abundance of scriptures dealing with this malady, reveals that God is fully aware of the problem. It is in the Bible, so maybe, just maybe we should pay attention to it.
This was my struggle. However, before I pour my heart out, there is a need to mention the urgency of prayer. This is at the crux of the problem. I strive to feel like the Apostle Paul when he says in Philippians 44: 12, in part, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content…” It means a great deal to me to reach this goal with God’s help. I am in excruciating pain everyday and I still Praise God. I have all the auto-immune diseases out there plus a few others, and I am “content in chains.”
However, regarding the Spiritual Depression that is between myself and God. Nevertheless, I want to take you through the anxiety we all share and reveal to you how to get the real joy everyone talks about.
It comes from all directions and angles, Satan can only put things in your mind, but you can be aware , but most of us are not because it sounds like our own voice. At any rate, the closer you get to God, the easier it is to spot and then there’s the Holy Spirit.
The best way, is to talk to God. I have been doing it since I didn’t know better, because I had a wicked childhood, actually never had one, I went straight to adult. So I use to pray by talking with Him. I wanted to find out about Jesus Christ so bad for a while there, I was obsessed. I was a Jew, a real Jew, I knew my great-grandparents on both sides. I even looked like a typical Jew “frizzy black hair, brown eyes and coke bottle glasses.”
So at one point I really wanted to die, (I was 12 yrs old,) because I was bullied. Bullied in the 1960″s. Imagine that! Well God was my outlet and I spoke to Jesus all the time, I prayed for information on Him because I already knew he was the Messiah. And I would let my family know it esp. @ the Passover.
From the different “angles” you can be hit by all kinds of things that cause anxiety which leads to Spiritual Depression.
(Psa 42:6 MKJV) O my God, my soul is cast down within me; therefore I will remember You from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermons, from mount Mizar.
The Bible tells us to pray, so don’t worry about praying too much. There is no such thing. The first thing I did was meditate on when I was” saved” and the unspeakable joy I had. If you knew my story you would grasp everything I am telling you in a deeper way. It’s all in my book. Anyway, thinking about when you were in your “Baby Joy” days, you change because of the Holy Spirit indwelling, but you still have free choice. So think back on all of the non-coincidences in your life. God is definitely in control, but what I found out is this:
For fours years I did not know why I was not getting a job. Never had a problem before. I would get a phone call and they would say I got it, and just as fast they came back with , “we found someone bi-lingual…” For four years. I screamed and cried so much and I believe God was shutting all the doors and I did not like it. Afer the four years, I go for my regular health exam and bang! they found osteo and RA all over the place and the osteoporosis was getting worse, then we added the fibromyalgia, and it goes on. But I immediately went to Social Security and applied and received it within two months. If I had been working, I would have been denied. That is an example of God working in a life. Take your hands off the wheel and let God drive.
As we go on, there were other things that we could do in our worst misery. Help others. I know it isn’t easy, but it works, because there is somebody always worse off than you. Make good Christian friends. The ones that are looking like they are having a lot of fun. Go where the Christian joy is. Ask God to send you to a home Church and that will happen, but be patient.
When I feel myself moving away from my former joy, I know it’s because I am not in communion with Him. So I pray for strength and forgiveness. God does strengthen you all the time, because now when I don’t feel a little bit “right”, I fly to the mercy-seat. And the Holy Spirit will let you know what’s wrong, believe me.
Always remember you are the one moving away from Him, whether it be a bad conscience, or something else and then we find ourselves not praying as much. But you cannot do this all the time. With God’s help ask for your joy back. Pray, Pray, Pray!
My Experience, learning the Ability to Feel the Joy promised by God after 4 years of Spiritual Depression.
After being diagnosed with osteo arthritis, then on its heels, rheumatoid arthritis, and finally, but not the end of my medical issues is fibromyalgia, in that order. I won’t bore you with the particulars, but I have had one major operation for the osteoarthritis. I was told as the gurney was taking me into the OR, by my Dr., that this would be the most painful operation I would ever have. Nice, huh! But she was a character. So you see where I am coming from. Talk about anxiety….
I laid in bed, and realized the only way to get myself moving with all the pain was to pray for a double portion of the Holy Spirit, then God, in his wisdom will give me a picture of various scenarios. Like Psalms 42:6 I go back in my mind when I had the incredible joy when I was a Christian in the early days. Or I get to help someone else, maybe a friend in need or prayer and it keeps my mind off the pain. In addition, I always thank Him for another day.
Okay, this is the deal; I also have anxiety attacks pop up and they are so overwhelming, I did not know what was going on. Later on, as you will see, I realized what was going on and in that recognition, with God’s strength, I was able to beat it.
This is my story to tell, and I am going to. You will be able to follow me if you, like me get hit, especially at night, with anxiety. God showed me how to deal with it, so please stick with me on this.
Now there are diverse types of melancholy; and this part is very important; if they are not good thoughts going through your head it’s probably the work of the adversary. for example: Satan uses your anxieties against you by interjecting thoughts in your mind, and blowing it to all proportions and you get anxious all over again. I think we all have myriads of problems, no matter how small. So the situation becomes bad enough to wake up in the middle of the night, with a start, Satan is not subtle sometimes, and panic.
So here goes; One night I woke up freaking out because they had predicted a thunderstorm about the time I had to go to the doctor’s that morning and it was a 1/2 hour away. Then I was reminded that I was waiting on the news for the scheduled deposition I had to give in a car accident that was my fault. Then immediately after that, I had no idea what to make for dinner. And I had no money to go out and get something.
My mind whirls and I start to cry to God, then I am praying. Here is the long and the short of it, “leave it with God.” Listen to that gift from Grace He gave you, The Holy Spirit. In the beginning when this was happening to me. Then I calmed down. At once, I laid back down facing up and with God’s help reason things out with Him, one at a time.
Okay, I am deathly afraid of thunderstorms and because of a bad experience, years before. Then I thought, keeping God’s word in mind, I realized if that’s the way The Lord wants to take me, so be it.
The deposition would include my lawyer, and most important, the Holy Spirit would be there. Then there was dinner. I had completely forgot the chicken with all the trimmings for $11.00 at the grocery store. Why was I so anxious?
Leave your burden at the cross and I would like to tell you the outcome; there were no thunderstorms that day I had the apt. with the Dr.; They cancelled the deposition. and the $11.00 was well spent. Why was I so apprehensive? As the years go on, and I have to deal with this all the time. It is Satan getting into your head. But all that proves is I am at the point where I by God’s grace, understand that.
As I have come to know the Lord better in all His Parts, by researching Him in the scriptures. And he has revealed so much to me between all of the learning I get by God’s Holy Spirit, it get’s easier The bottom line is to stay close to God, pray every day, and leave it all in God’s hands. It is the hardest thing for me to do, and I resist , but I get over it very quickly.
Satan’s Role in the What If’s:
Do not fool yourself, it is all Satan, with God watching over us. I love this psalm, because God does more than protects us, we can hide under “His feathers.”
(Psa 91:1 MKJV) “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall rest under the shadow of the Almighty. vs. 2 I will say of Jehovah, my refuge and my fortress; my God; in Him I will trust. vs. 3 Surely He will deliver you from the fowler’s trap and from the destroying plague. vs.4 He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall trust. His truth shall be your shield, and buckler. vs. 5 You shall not fear the terror by night; nor because of the arrow that flies by day; vs.6 nor for the plague that walks in darkness, of the destruction laying waste at noonday. vs.7 A thousand shall fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; it shall not come near you. vs. 8 Only with your eyes you shall look and see the reward of the wicked. vs.9 Because You, O Jehovah, are My refuge; if You have made the Most High Your dwelling-place, vs. 10 no evil shall befall You, nor shall any plague come near Your dwelling. vs. 11 For He shall give His angels charge over You, to keep You in all Your ways. vs.12 They shall bear You up in their hands, lest You dash your foot against a stone. vs.13 You shall tread on the lion and adder; the young lion and the jackal You shall trample underfoot. vs. 14 Because He has set His love on Me, therefore I will deliver Him; I will set Him on high, because He has known My name. vs. 15 He shall call on Me, and I will answer Him; I will be with Him in trouble; I will deliver Him, and honor Him. vs. 16 With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation.”
Now how Satan can use someone else to help your anxieties along. In addition I need to mention that most of the time God’s got your back and none of these worries actually come to fruition. Now I know the truths of leaving my burdens, and with the Holy Spirit I am doing much better. Now tell that to my unbelieving mate. (I married him before I became a Christian).
My husband, Tony will come home from work and start yelling at me over nothing. I get the brunt of his apprehensions. He starts with me getting a job, even though I am sick with osteo & RA plus Fibromyalgia. Now matter what we discussed about me going to work, he realizes that I wish I could work, but where, since I am limited bigtime! I still had two books published. This is what he says, “What if he gets sick and cannot work; what if he loses his job & health benefits.; what if one of or both have to go to the hospital; what if we cannot make the money to stretch and they take the house?” See, he doesn’t have God to leave the burdens to. But after much convincing that it’s a “God Thing,” he only does a few what ifs a couple of times a week.
Leave it all in God’s hands by doing what I did, one thing at a time, use common sense and realize the Devil does not have much time and he is using all the tricks he can to upset Our Joy. But our God is bigger than that. Just ask for your Christian joy back and He will it in your path. Honest.