Advertisements
RSS Feed

Tag Archives: coping with depression

Self Medicating Pain

According to a 2017 article posted on The Upshot, Josh Katz uses new data to illustrate that drug deaths in America are rising faster than ever before.  Drug overdose claimed the lives of nearly 64,000 Americans in 2016.  A large majority of these deaths are being blamed on opioids, prompting a 2017 presidential commission to address this growing crisis.  Instead of coping with depression, an attempt to self medicate pain has resulted in deadly addictions nationwide.

While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples.  When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” – Matthew 9:10-11.

During the first century, class warfare was commonly practiced to avoid negative influences from those who shared a different worldview.  This mindset caused religious leaders to question Jesus’ association with sinners, regularly dining and reaching out to social outcasts within society.  In the passage below, Jesus reveals the purpose for this unusual outreach.  If you read between the lines, the goal for any adult is learning how to take care of yourself.  This is a sign of maturity, being able to self medicate pain through spiritual practices.

On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick, Matthew 9:12.

The apostle Paul shines light on how this is accomplished within Philippians 2:1-4.  The spiritual healthy gradually develop a Christ like mindset.  Before beginning every day, Jesus withdrew to a quiet place, often on a mountain top outside of where he was staying, void of distractions.  Essentially, Paul is suggesting you can’t help others until you take care of your own needs first.  When your daily devotions, prayer and reflection is complete each morning, you are primed to self medicate pain.  Until this process is complete, you won’t be any good to anyone.  Therefore, if you want to be healthy, not needing a doctor, start each day with a daily dose of Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

Advertisements

The Cure to an Eroding Soul

Whether you call it depression, a funk or unhappiness, whenever things start going in the wrong direction, it’s hard to snap yourself out of it.  Sometimes a vacation, getting away from the mundane will do the trick.  Other people try to allot time from busy schedules for activities which bring them joy.  If these attempts fail, your condition likely involves an eroding soul.

After dwelling upon my current situation, I tried to back track to ascertain where this all began.  I only had to go back a few months to discover that my life has become void of goals, planning and vision.  Subsequently, I am aimlessly wandering without any direction, purpose or vigor for life.  To stop the bleeding so to speak, I must begin to reconsider my priorities, restructure my schedule and seek discernment from God.

The prophet Hosea proclaimed that people without wisdom or vision will perish, Hosea 4:6.  Modern motivational speakers claim, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail!”  Meanwhile, a tiny voice in my head suggests that if I invest my time in what I was created to do, I will once again be able to say, “it is well with my soul.”  If you find yourself in a similar stage in life, may the Lord answer your cry for help by healing your eroding soul.

by Jay Mankus

 

Learning to Praise the Lord for the Little Things in Life

Anyone can handle blessings, like getting a hole in one on the first day of the New Year.  However, the moment you endure hardship, failure or loss, true character is revealed.  While relishing my hole in one stayed with me a couple of days, sudden disappointments put my faith to the test in the week that followed.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds – James 1:2.

As someone who use to riding an emotional roller coaster, celebrating the good before depression brings me back to earth, God is teaching me to remain even keel.  Thus, on New Year’s Day I took strides in the right direction, savoring the time with my children rather than feeding my own ego.  Whether I have a great or miserable day, praising the Lord for the little things like family, shelter and time spent together is crucial to prevent oneself from becoming burned out.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. – Philippians 4:8

The easy thing to do when trials strike is to cast blame, usually throwing God under the bus like Adam in the Garden.  Yet, with maturity comes perspective, seeing life’s events through the Lord’s eyes.   Upon hearing the news that his children died in an accident, Job replied, “the Lord gives and the Lord takes away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” Job 1:21.  Although I’m no where near the model Job set, I’m in the infant stages of learning to praise God for the little things in life.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Gospel According to Forrest

Forrest Gump once said, “stupid is as stupid does.”  Although Tom Hanks played this fictional character, there is a lot of truth to this statement.  Recently, Riley Cooper, a wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles went to a Kenny Chesney concert, had a few drinks, got into a heated argument with a black security guard and blabbered out a racial slur directed toward him.  When you do or say something stupid, it doesn’t mean you have to apologize day after day to make the media feel better.  Living about 30 minutes outside of Philadelphia, Riley Cooper is being crucified on the airways every hour, as callers are picking up the first stone like the account in John 8:1-11.  According to the Gospel of Forrest Gump, “stupid is as stupid does.”

From a spiritual perspective, there is a good reason why people say stupid things.  Since the birth of Cain, every child born on earth has been implanted with a virus.  The Bible refers to this birth defect as the sinful nature or carnality in the original King James version, Romans 7:14-18.  As a result of this disease, individuals and their children have never been the same.  Thus, politicians, professional athletes and average citizens daily fulfill the words of Forrest Gump.

Take for example the daughters of Lot, trying to cope with the loss of their mother, death of their future husbands and a father stricken with depression, Genesis 19:30.  Emulating the practices of their uncle Abraham, Lot’s daughters felt more comfortable trusting in their own wisdom rather than wait on God to provide.  Therefore, they each partake in Indecent Proposal IV & V.  Once their dad is drunk as a skunk, with his beer goggles on, Lot thinks the woman in his tent is a mistress or perhaps a dream that he is sleeping with his wife once again.  Instead, Lot’s daughters take the gutter to a new low, sharing their father on consecutive one night stands, Genesis 19:32-35.  “Stupid is as stupid does!”

Similar to the descendants of Ham, these woman gave birth to the Moabites and Ammonites.  Like Abraham and Lot’s daughters, the Moabites trusted in Egypt when times got tough.  In addition, the Moabites called on Balaam to curse Israel, setting in motion their exclusion from the nation of Israel.  Meanwhile, the Ammonites worshiped the idol Milcom, which also led Solomon astray.  By breaking the first and second commandments, Exodus 20:3-4, a generational curse is poured out upon this nation, Exodus 20:5.  This is why Jesus adds Matthew 18:5-7 to the Bible.  He knew how precious and innocent children are.  Therefore, if you still have time to act, live out Matthew 18:8-9, purging sin from your life so that your children and children’s children don’t inherit the sins of their parents.  Check out Restoring The Foundations ministry online if you want to know more about how sin impacts children.

by Jay Mankus

Humble Pie

Served when you least expect it, humble pie is a tough dessert to swallow.  As you lose your appetite for life, emotions can waver, pulsating beyond your control.  In these moments of spiritual indigestion, even Pepto Bismol can’t reduce the pain within your body.

While examining the plate that I have been given in life, I have come to the realization that “I’m not in Kansas any more Toto.”  Instead, I am on the run with a weak mind, wounded heart and diminishing traces of courage.  From the inside looking out, I’ve had my fill of humility for the year.  As I’m off to see the real Wizard, the Bible has some encouraging words for those of you tired and weary.

According to Hebrews 2:14, Jesus humbled himself, coming down to our level.  Other passages like 2 Chronicles 7:14 suggest humble pie is a blessing in disguise, leading the broken toward prayer.  In additional, God gives grace to the humble, Proverbs 3:34, guiding those who endure this in the right direction, Psalm 25:9.  Therefore, if you’ve been to the All You Can Eat Humility Buffet one too many times, do not fret.  God will raise you up, just where you are, on wings like eagle, carrying you til you taste eternal life, Isaiah 40:28-29.

by Jay Mankus

The Prayer of An Afflicted Man

Psalm 102 credits the author of this chapter to an afflicted man.  The term afflict means to badly affect, cause problems or make miserable.  In life, several variables can influence individuals to become bothered, distressed or troubled.  Depending upon the degree to which circumstances and or events inflict pain, people often rely on prayer as a last resort.

Thus, the words of Psalm 102:1-9 relate to one’s emotions, desperately crying out to God for Him to make sense of your situation.  Like the powerful scene in Forrest Gump, sometimes there aren’t enough rocks to throw, unleashing the bitterness deep inside of Jenny’s heart toward her father.  Unfortunately, most of us are persuaded by the devil to blame God for failures in life.  According to Ephesians 4:27, similar decisions allow the devil to have a foothold, making matters worse instead of better.

Since affliction is a common occurrence, Psalm 102 is a great outline to use for prayer.  Verse 17 promises that God will respond to the prayer of the destitute, answering their plea.  Therefore, the next time you experience signs of affliction, remember the words of this Psalm.  Whether you are a man or a woman, pour out your heart to God so that your pain will be replaced by the peace of Christ!

by Jay Mankus

%d bloggers like this: