Have you ever been down and wondered what you can do about it? The Bible gives us many examples of things we can do.
I have found in my own personal experience, and in working over the past 25 years with patients, that “guarding our hearts and minds” is one of the most important things we can do to not only treat depression but deep it at bay.
Scripture says you reap what you sow. If we want to reap peace, we must sow thankfulness:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
Gratitude and thankfulness open the door to joy.
Looking back, during the time I walked in the valley of depression, I wasn’t very grateful. I thought I was. I really thought I was.
I read several books on joy because I thought, “I don’t know what this joy stuff is…” Many of the books which talked about joy indicated that you have to choose joy. I thought, “Well, that’s a bunch of bunk.” I kind of still think that, actually.
I don’t think it’s as simple as choosing joy. Because if it was that simple, we would all choose it. Right? We all want it. So if it was as simple as just choosing joy, we would have it. So I rather disagree with the assertion that it’s as simple as choosing joy.
What I learned through my trials, however, is that it’s very difficult to have joy if you don’t have gratitude; if you don’t have a grateful heart. I thought I was grateful…
What God showed me is that while I was grateful for some things, I didn’t have the degree of gratitude that God longs for.
I started realizing, as I was in a sick bed, “Wow! Yes, I was grateful for my job and I was grateful for my husband and my kids. But there was so much more!”
As I was convalescing in our guest bedroom, I started to become grateful for the little things. Like the fact that I was convalescing in a double bed that was much lower to the ground than our king-size bed that was on risers that I could not get up in. That was a big deal because I was in so much pain that to try to get up in our king-size bed, I could not do it.
So, I became grateful that we had a guest bedroom that I could get well in. I became grateful for our air-conditioning because this was in August in Texas. A Texas summer is not when you want to be without air conditioning. So I was quite grateful. It was a hundred and ten degrees outside but we had air conditioning thus it was a nice 78 degrees in my house. There are people that don’t have air conditioning. I was extremely grateful.
I became grateful that other people would step in and check in on my husband and occasionally bring a meal because he was having to do everything that I was used to doing.
God showed me that gratitude is the doorway to joy. It’s really hard to be depressed when you’re grateful. And, as we turn our hearts to being grateful, all of a sudden our emphasis shifts from ourselves to that which we are grateful for and to.
I’m not going to say, not being depressed is simple as being grateful, but that is a component. And, the enemy hates it. He hates it.
Melody Beattie suggested, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, and confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
I’d encourage you, the next time you lack joy, to start a written list of everything you feel grateful for and see if that doesn’t lift your mood a bit. What do you have to lose (besides a negative mood)?
Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
A short brief about Hope Prevails.
Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression
Dr. Michelle Bengtson
Speaking from personal and professional experience, a neuropsychologist unpacks what depression is, shows how it affects us spiritually, and offers hope for living the abundant life.
Neuropsychologist Offers Hope to Those Struggling with Depression
-By 2020, depression will be our greatest epidemic worldwide
- An estimated 350 million people worldwide suffer from some form of depression
- As with the bestselling My Stroke of Insight, the author experienced the same condition she treats
- Helpful features include personal stories, biblical truths, prayers, and music recommendations
In Hope Prevails, Dr. Bengtson writes with deep compassion and empathy, blending her extensive training and faith, to offer readers a hope that is grounded in God’s love and grace. She helps readers understand what depression is, how it affects them spiritually, and what, by God’s grace, it cannot do. The result is a treatment plan that addresses the whole person—not just chemical imbalances in the brain.
For those who struggle with depression and those that want to help them, Hope Prevails offers real hope for the future.
Hope Prevails is available now wherever books are sold. To find out more, see: https://drmichellebengtson.com/hope-prevails-book/.