Maintaining peace and joy during a crisis depends on where we direct our attention. Worrying takes my eyes off God, and puts them on myself and my circumstances, to operate in my own knowledge and strength. That robs me of peace and joy. Living moment by moment, however, trusting God’s provision for the moment, and being thankful for that provision, keeps my focus off my problem and focuses on the solver of my problem. This keeps me in perfect peace.
When someone is depressed, they have a choice to make: to either let depression define them or to desire joy bad enough to seek after it with obedience and sacrifice. Jesus offered us the same joy he had; the fullest possible joy. What I’ve learned is that thanksgiving and gratitude is the doorway to joy. As Proverbs tells us, we are what we think in our heart. As we become increasingly grateful, God exchanges our worries and sorrow with His peace, joy, and abundant life. Our circumstances may not change, but our mindset does.
My strength was failing. Sorrow was all I could taste. Hope was more than I could bear. I didn’t know what the next day would bring, but I couldn’t stand more of the same. If I was going to fight for my physical and emotional health to return, I didn’t want to be left unchanged. I prayed repeatedly that this torment that I endured would not be wasted and that the Lord would use this experience to draw me closer to Him, AND to help someone else.
Comparison is the thief of joy. Part of the problem with comparison is that you can always find others who have more, do more, and achieve more than you. But on the other hand. But, you can always find others who have less, do less, and achieve less than you. Either way, you aren’t content with where God has you.
Depression can be perpetuated by focusing on ourselves and our own pain, but when we focus instead on others and their needs, our own pain is lessened.