“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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