“You’re always so full of joy.” That’s a comment I receive on a regular basis, and every time I do, I smile and whisper a prayer of thanks. You see, there was a time when I believed I was joy-immune, and that joy was just a word in a Christmas carol or some experience that was meant for everyone else but not me. Are you seeking joy? When I was depressed, these are some of the steps I used to find joy.
Falling prey to depression’s grip
I was the doctor who took care of patients with medical and mental health disorders like depression and anxiety. But when I fell prey to depression’s grip myself, I felt like a failure, a fraud. Shouldn’t I have been able to protect myself? At least I knew what to do…or so I thought I did. I tried all the things I suggested to my patients: therapy, medication, diet, exercise, rest, etc. They all helped, but they were insufficient.
It was only when I dealt with the spiritual roots of depression that I found true help, hope, and healing.
Jesus came to give us a life filled with joy
According to John 10:10, “the thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy…” but Jesus came to give us a life filled with joy. When it comes to depression, the thief kills our joy, steals our peace, and attempts to destroy our identity. How? Through our thought life. He whispers lies to us all the time, hoping we will take his bait and believe his lies.
How to find joy when depressed
When I was depressed, these are three of the steps I used to go from joy-immune to full of joy.
1. Pay attention to your thoughts
According to 2 Corinthians 10:5, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” When I began to pay attention to my thoughts, determine those that didn’t line up with God’s word, and refute the lies I was believing (e.g. I was joy-immune, a failure, a fraud, etc.) with God’s truth, my depression lifted and true joy was found.
2. Combat the enemy’s lies with Scripture
I’m so thankful that God doesn’t play favorites. That means what He did for me, He longs to do for others. Each time I recognized one of the enemy’s lies, I wrote down the scriptural truth to combat it, and would recite that verse every time I saw it because Scripture says “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17).
3. Speak life – God’s Word!
Are you seeking more joy? Begin with declaring His truth. He promises, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11)
By paying attention to your thoughts, combating the enemy’s lies with scripture and speaking life, you can find joy when depressed or when life is hard.
Because of Him, #JoyPrevails!
Hope Prevails Book and Hope Prevails Bible Study offer hope for overcoming depression.
Available now through book retailers!
Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression and the new companion Hope Prevails Bible Study help the reader understand: how depression comes to be, recover their joy, reclaim their peace, and re-establish their true identity, while knowing their worth, remembering their secure destiny, and being confident that nothing separates them from God’s love.
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Love your audio version of the Hope Prevails book! Thank you for this!
Thanks so much for this very timely post for me.
You helped me to recognize that I am spending way too much time believing Satan’s lies and not taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
So glad I stopped by.
Your are right about being in the grip of depression, it is a spirit that doesn’t want to let go, but His Word and joy are they way to break it.
The devil gets downright grumpy when we seek joy. I’m so glad the Jesus has already won that battle :).
Thank you, this post is just what I needed to read today. Satan is a joy-stealer, and wants us discouraged, depressed and defeated. Only the Lord gives us victory and fills our hearts with joy!!
What a great point about guarding our thoughts! It’s so easy to think we don’t need to worry about something we’ve never struggled with. But Satan can so easily tempt us into believing lies if we’re not taking every thought captive to Christ! Visiting from #MomentsofHope. 🙂
I could so relate to all you said here. I have read that Scripture so many times, but only today is it really sinking in. ““I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11) It never hit me before that in it HIS joy that is in us. Not our own. Not dependent on our circumstances, but a constant, abiding joy, because He never changes. I was also struck by the fact that He wants us to have joy, and He wants our joy to be complete. It also reminded me that “the joy of the Lord is our strength”. Again, it is His joy, so it will never fluctuate. I love the way you encouraged us to take every thought that doesn’t align itself with His Word captive and replace it with His Word. So happy I visited you today…I needed this so much right now. Thank you for your faithfulness to His calling on your life!
Thank you for sharing with Grace and Truth. I love your willingness to be vulnerable to helps others. Yes, we need to be careful our joy is not stolen from us. “Joy” is my world for the year. I am starting a series on it next week. I will be sharing your post with my readers. Maree
I love this message!!! Thank you for sharing from your life and your heart!! I have joy but I have several sweet friends who are struggling in their thought life and the enemy is convincing them that they have no value and definitely no joy. He fills their thoughts with lies and they ‘try’ to not believe them instead of using scripture truth to combat. I am going to send them this blog. Oh how I pray they read it and begin enjoying the Joy of the Lord. You are a blessing as you continue to share from your life to our hearts!!! I love and appreciate you Dr. Michelle!
So simple, but not to be confused with easy. At least not always. I think I need to create a new Trello Board for the joy-stealer thoughts, and any other lies, with the scripture truths to fight back with!
What an awesome message! Too often in life, I have chased fleeting happiness over joy and it has got me absolutely nowhere. And in the grips of depression, I didn’t even think to seek happiness. Thank you for sharing this truth! x
Anastasia | MightyMemos.com
Such beautiful truth!! I love it. There was so much that I needed to face before I overcame my depression. And it was only with God’s help that I was able to do so. Thank you for a great and much needed post!
Thank you for linking up @LiveLifeWell!