Everyone has probably experienced a time of depression and anxiety at one time or another in their life, but some know all too well how it feels to be stuck in one or all of these feelings. I personally know how it feels to be stuck in one or both of these emotions. These emotions, although they come and go, feel so real in that season of life. Depression and anxiety have three things in common: they burden our hearts, steal our joy, and take away from our ability to truly rest and be completely satisfied in God.
Depression: Severe despondency and dejection, typically felt over a period of time and accompanied by feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy. When you are deep in your depression and these feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy flood your spirit. Many times it doesn’t matter how many times people try to comfort you, you just can’t seem to see past it, the depression feels so permanent. But friends, I promise you it is not permanent and it is not fixed over night but God can heal you and provide you comfort in this season.I am convinced that depression is a tool Satan uses against us. Through depression, Satan is able to burden our hearts, steal our joy, and hinders our ability to truly trust and rest in God being fully satisfied in Him.
When we struggle with depression Satan burdens our hearts and blinds us to God’s love and goodness. If you could take just one thing from reading this today, please take the fact that our God is good and He has plans to PROSPER us and plans to give us HOPE and a FUTURE. This is so important to remember when we are struggling with feelings of depression or true depression. This is why I absolutely love Jeremiah 29:11, it reminds me how good my God is and it helps me to remember that I can truly rest in Him because He will never fail me and as much as I want what is good for me, God wants Better!
Anxiety: A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. Although some of you may not have experienced living in a state of anxiety I am willing to bet you have all felt anxious at one time or another. Maybe its giving a speech in front of your peers, awaiting medical test results, or preparing for an upcoming job interview. Anxiety can cause us to have a heavy heart because we spend all of our time worrying and asking, “what if’s.” It is the Master of stealing our joy. I could go on this one for so long! When we spend our time being anxious about things we lose time that could be spent rejoicing in God’s goodness and faithfulness. Along those same lines, anxiety prevents us from being able to trust God and rest in Him. Again, there is hope and because our God is so great and He does not desire for us to be anxious He provides us comfort and advice in The Word.
I love 1 Peter 5:7 because it helps remind me that God who created the universe cares for me. I love the end of Matthew chapter 6 because God actually dedicates it to why we should not be anxious. In Matthew 6: 25-34 Jesus says, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. ‘Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.'” What more is there that I can say that Jesus didn’t say in Matthew? Friends, take encouragement in this passage and remember this when you are struggling with anxiety. Write it down (or parts of it) and place it where you will see it each and every day. If you want to you can make copies and place them in more than one place. Whatever you do, remember the words of Jesus, remember that if Jesus takes care of the little birds how much more does He provide for His children?!?! It gives me such reassurance and peace to remember this and I find when I focus on this truth I am able to, and desire to joyfully praise Him. How can you read these verses and not put away you’re anxiety and replace it with joy and thanksgiving?!?!