Daily Devotional for Monday November 24, 2003
Mental illness and depression
(John 17:31, Romans 14:17, Nehemiah 8:10)
Mental illness and depression. An issue the church and most people refuse to deal with, is the reality of mental illness and depression that so many suffer from. Let me say right up front. Mental illness is just as real as a broken leg. Just because it is not a visible illness, does not mean it is not as real as someone with a broken bone, a bad heart, or any other illness. MENTAL ILLNESS AND DEPRESSION ARE REAL!
I have shared with you in the past that God's number one instrument of healing is called a DOCTOR. One of God's chief methods of healing is called MEDICINE. Where do you think the incredible intelligence and the special gift to be a doctor comes from? It comes from God! Where do you think the incredible intelligence, and the inspiration to create medicine comes from? It comes from God!
I want to encourage anyone today that is suffering from any form of mental illness or depression to seek out the best professional help possible. God has raised up mental health professionals and given men the wisdom to create drugs to treat mental illness, so that you can live a normal and productive life. Just like there is no reason to be ashamed to see a doctor if you break your arm, just like there is no reason to be ashamed if you have to take medicine to treat a kidney problem, there is no reason to be ashamed to see a doctor or take the proper medication if you suffer from mental illness or depression!
For many people that are suffering from depression, I want to help you find the joy in life again. Many who suffer from depression have simply allowed the events and circumstances of their life to overwhelm and paralyze them. We learn at an early age how to deal with the day to day issues of life, how to deal with problems. What happens to many who are depressed, is they have simply been unable to cope with the things that have happened to them and can't seem to get past certain problems in their life.
Feelings change all the time. Our feelings are based on our perception of an issue or problem. For example, if you have $20,000 of debt and you are only making $30,000 a year with nothing left over after the basic living needs are met, you might perceive that $20,000 of debt to be a mountain that is impossible to move. If you continue to focus on that mountain, it starts to get bigger, and bigger, and soon your perception is that it is impossible to ever be free from your debt. The longer you focus on the problem, the bigger it becomes and that is when depression can set in. Depression is the result of being hopeless.
However, even though you may have $20,000 of debt and are only making $30,000 a year with nothing left over after your basic living needs are met, you might look at that $20,000 of debt, not as a mountain impossible to move, but simply an obstacle that has to be dealt with. In other words, you don't focus on the mountain, but you focus on a way to move the mountain. You come up with a plan to retire the debt over a period of time, and instead of letting depression set in due to looking at the situation as hopeless, you maintain a positive outlook since that debt is simply an issue that has to be taken care of. Depression can't set in where there is hope. Let me say that one more time. DEPRESSION CAN'T SET IN WHERE THERE IS HOPE!
The other part of the answer to depression is serving others. The Bible teaches us that if we will be about our Father's business, our Father will be about our business. If we will serve others, it is amazing how our own problems become more manageable. If you are suffering from depression, let me encourage you today to get out and start finding ways to serve others. You see, when we serve others, we are serving God. Our God-given purpose in this life is to serve and glorify God with our lives. Depression can't set in when you are serving others. Let me say that one more time. DEPRESSION CAN'T SET IN WHEN YOU ARE SERVING OTHERS!
I love you and care about you so much. I realize many people suffer from some form of mental illness that is just as real as any other type of illness. I will be praying today that those who are suffering from some form of mental illness, will seek out the best professional help possible and take advantage of whatever medication that is prescribed to treat you. God is still in the healing business, and GOD CAN BRING HEALING TO THOSE SUFFERING FROM MENTAL ILLNESS.
I will also be praying for those of you today who are suffering from depression. The two-fold answer for overcoming your depression and finding the joy of the Lord again in your life, is hope and service. Seeking the Lord to give you wisdom and direction in finding a solution to whatever problems or issues you are facing in your life. If you stay focused on Christ, He will give you the hope to get victory over whatever you are facing today.
The other part of the answer is finding ways to serve others. I pray that you will get serious about finding ways to serve others. God has called us to serve others, and when we are doing that, fulfilling our purpose in life, our own problems simply don't seem as great. When you are busy serving others, you don't have time to get depressed.
I pray that this word today will be a breakthrough in your life if you are battling with mental illness or depression. God loves you very much. He wants you to have joy in your life, despite whatever trials and tribulations you may be experiencing. That joy comes from knowing Christ as our Savior. When we know Christ, there is no such thing as being hopeless. When we know Christ, we have a desire to serve Him by serving others. It is through Christ that you can have victory over mental illness and depression!
In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ, Bill Keller