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Tag Archives: Overcoming depression

When You Need to be Encouraged

I tend to be a positive person, trying to stay optimistic about life. However, over the past week, a wave of depression has come crashing upon the shores of my life. Like a rogue wave that comes out of no where, I wasn’t prepared to deal with this emotional undertow. As I attempt to regain my balance so that I’m not swept away by this strong current, I find myself in need of encouragement.

When I kept silence [before I confessed], my bones wasted away through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand [of displeasure] was heavy upon me; my moisture was turned into the drought of summer. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]! – Psalm 32:3-4

I’m definitely not the first to experience such a strange week nor will I be the last to undergo what the Bible calls a trial. In the passage above, a series of bad choices causes King David to be overwhelmed by guilt. The longer David waited to confess his careless errors and mistakes to God, the worse he feels. As each day passed without acknowledging his sin, David’s strength was sapped like humidity from a summer heatwave.

If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him. Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind, James 1:5-6.

Jesus’ earthly brother reveals that earthly trials take the form of waves of doubt. Once fully developed, these spiritual storms contain a billowing surge that keeps coming. When you add the wind. conditions only get worse. According to James, when you find yourself stuck in one of these systems, call out to God in prayer to receive wisdom to get you through. While each storm varies, James 1:12 provides hope for those who hold on to Jesus until your storm passes.

by Jay Mankus

A Spirit of Attitude

There are two common Greek words used to describe attitude in the Bible. Diáthesi̱ refers to disposition or mood while stási̱ points to body language and posture. If you are observant, attitude naturally flows out of individuals. Joy can’t be contained while depression sucks the life out of battered souls. Some wear their emotions on their sleeves, the reserved try to say even keeled and others are comfortably numb, jaded by previous trials in life.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones, Proverbs 17:22.

King Solomon suggests that attitude is a choice. You can focus on the positive by looking at life with a half glass full mindset. Or you can be a party pooper, allowing depression to bring you down and everyone else around you. Thus, the attitude of one person filters down to impact your sphere of influence. Neighborhoods, schools and work environments are at the mercy of attitudes. Depending upon the response, whether good or bad, strong attitudes can alter hearts, minds and souls.

As it is written, God gave them a spirit (an attitude) of stupor, eyes that should not see and ears that should not hear, [that has continued] down to this very day, Romans 11:8.

Perhaps, this explains the apostle Paul’s comment in the passage above. It’s not uncommon for individuals to experience periods of insensibility. When the negativity of another person’s attitude impacts your perspective, a state of near-unconsciousness can blind you from the truth. To overcome this spiritual stupor, Paul urges first century believers to set their heart and minds on things above, Colossians 3:1-4. The best way to fight poisonous attitudes is by developing a spiritual attitude fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit. The more you meditate upon the Bible, your attitude can spread joy to others, like good medicine for the soul.

by Jay Mankus

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Time for Moving On

In my preparation to write this blog, I found with link with 2974 quotes about healing. There is an old saying that “time has a way of healing all wounds.” Unfortunately, not everyone recovers from an accident, addiction, broken relationship or painful experience. According to a recent study, nearly 15 million Americans struggle with various degrees of depression. These individuals aren’t ready to move on.

To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven: A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted, A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to break down and a time to build up, Ecclesiastes 3:1-3.

As a judge, King’s Solomon’s rulings on cases are filled with insight, strategic genius and wisdom. The most famous was a dispute between two woman claiming to be the rightful mother of a living child. After a baby dies in the middle of the night, an awake woman takes a nearby infant and replaces him with her dead child. This case is brought before Solomon, making what appears to be a strange ruling to have this baby cut in two. However, this decision is merely a plan to reveal the true mother, 1 Kings 3.

For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live], Ephesians 2:10.

Even when you experience a positive outcome following a trial, life can be emotionally draining. Instead of going from point A to point B in a straight line and so on, each week is full of dead ends, detours and road blocks. Trying to stay hopeful, optimistic and upbeat while undergoing hardships is difficult. Yet, with God’s all consuming love by your side, God wants you to let go of the past by setting your sights on the future, Ephesians 2:10.

by Jay Mankus

An Unlikely Cure for Depression

As someone who has worked nights the past 7 years, there usually isn’t anything good on television overnight. Despite trying to sleep on my nights off, my body is use to staying up late. Thus, I have a tendency to channel surf from time to time. Over Thanksgiving I caught an author who was speaking about an intriguing account from Cambodia. While talking with a psychologist doing research oversees, an unlikely cure for depression was discovered.

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise, Jeremiah 17:14.

This psychologist was studying Cambodian techniques on treating depression. One case study centered around a rice patty farmer who lost his leg when a land mine exploded. Doctors initially provided an artificial limb to continue his occupation after being medically cleared to return to work. Unfortunately, the strength to stay under water and added pain from this injury was too much for this man to overcome.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand, Isaiah 41:10.

When depression overwhelmed this man’s soul, medication was considered, but not prescribed. Instead, doctor’s listened to this man pour out of his heart, trying to come up with an alternative solution. After several days of discussion, this man was given a cow instead of drugs. This gift enabled this man to transition to a milk farmer. After one month of changing occupations, this man’s depression disappeared. Perhaps, its time that America adopts similar policies by stop handing out drugs and start being creative so that more unlikely cures for depression are discovered.

by Jay Mankus

Climate Despair

There is a new disorder which I recently heard about on the news.  Apparently, climate despair is a condition millennials are struggling to cope with as global warming concerns spread throughout social media daily.  The seed for climate despair has been planted by public education, introduced through curriculum beginning as early as first grade.  I guess as children are taught that the use of fossil fuels used by their parents are melting the polar icecaps, the image of polar bears dying has resulted in depression and fear.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears, Psalm 34:4.

According to a recent article on Vice, climate despair is causing a growing numbers of millennials to give up on life.  Anxiety attacks brought on by thoughts of human extinction is too much for some to bear leading to suicide.  Those who don’t pull the trigger are haunted by the unstoppable force described in books like the Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells.  Since environmentalism is becoming a form of religion and worship, scare tactics are used by members of the media to guilt souls into conforming causes like the Paris Climate Accord.

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken, Psalm 34:17-20.

One message missing from global warming is hope.  In the passage above, the Psalmist writes about crying out to God in prayer when troubles arise.  While your heart may be broken and soul crushed, the Lord promises to answer those whom call upon his name, Romans 10:9-11.  Therefore, the next time you feel overwhelmed by news that you can’t control, cry out to God for help so that you will be delivered from climate despair.

by Jay Mankus

God Only Knows

Since the United States government shut down in late December 2018, there has been ongoing debates about border security.  Democratic leaders have suggested that building a wall to keep refuges out is immoral.  Meanwhile, Republican supporters claim that a nation without defined borders will not survive.  While this war of words goes back and forth, one voice has been ignored.  Every day, the broken, depressed and hopeless build invisible walls to hide the pain deep within their hearts.

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded, James 4:8.

When individuals begin to see their dreams, goals and hope for success slip away, staying optimistic seems impossible.  Although some may muster up the strength to fake how you feel, most people withdraw from society.  If you don’t have anyone to lean on or share your anguish, walls begin to be erected.  Desperate souls may risk becoming vulnerable, pouring out their heart and soul, but if you reveal this information to the wrong person your situation may get worse.  Thus, where do you go when no one seems to care?

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water, Hebrews 10:22.

In 1954, the Philadelphia doo wop group the Capris released the song God Only Knows.  Written by Ruben Wright, this single had a dramatic impact on Motown singer Marvin Gaye.  Perhaps, this original piece inspired the 2018 version from For King & Country.  God Only Knows can be found on the newly released Burn the Ships album.  The chorus of this song reflects upon daily struggles that human being endure.  “God only knows what you’ve been through; God only knows what they say about you.  God only knows that it’s killing you but there’s a kind of love that God only knows.”  May the lyrics of this attached song encourage you to draw near to God as you experience disappointment and heartache in life.

by Jay Mankus

I’m Not A Lost Cause

In my early years, I suffered from bouts of depression.  Unable to clearly communicate to others due to stuttering only complicated this issue.  While in junior high, I considered suicide as a viable option.  I guess at some point the Devil convinced me that my life was a lost cause.

For the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught, Proverbs 3:26.

One of the ways to escape depression is through regaining confidence.  Unfortunately for me, I was volatile, fluctuating between cocky and worthless.  Since the only thing I had going for me early on in life was sports, I lived and died with each game or result.  This type of emotional roller coaster wasn’t healthy as I lacked the substance necessary to endure for the long haul.

Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 2 Corinthians 3:5.

In the lyrics of Remedy Drive’s song Resuscitate Me, there is a line which reminds individuals like me that my life is not a lost cause.  Rather, when you enter into a relationship with Jesus, Romans 10:9-10, purpose and meaning is found.  Instead of living a self serving life focused on a “what about me mentality,” Jesus takes lost sheep and shows them the way, John 14:6.  Join me on this journey to convey to others “you’re not a lost cause.”

by Jay Mankus

Estranged

The term estranged is usually found in the context of a broken marriage or a relationship beyond repair.  When you feel alienated, disconnected or severed from someone, estrangement is likely already underway.  This unfortunate state can result in depression, loneliness and sorrow.  However, you can also be estranged from God.

“He has alienated my family from me; my acquaintances are completely estranged from me,” Job 19:13.

While the Creator of heaven and earth is invisible, subtle reminders exist in the form of a sunrise, picturesque day or the sounds of nature.  Enduring hardship, the stress of life and unforeseen trials usually distract individuals from the Lord’s presence.  Meanwhile, as bad things begin to happen to good people, God is usually the first to blame.  Without any clarity, meaning or insight, estrangement from God often continues.

They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart, Ephesians 4:18.

According to the apostle Paul, the process of becoming estranged can be self inflicted.  People bitter from the hand they have been dealt, ignorant of God’s nature and set in their ways develop harden hearts.  This stubbornness leads to break ups, divorce and splitting close ties with people you once cared about.  If you find yourself somewhere within the estranged process, may the power of the Holy Spirit ease your pain by reuniting you with the people you love.

by Jay Mankus

 

Where Do You Go From Here?

Everyone will hit that proverbial bump in the road at some point in life.  This moment of inconvenience could be a quick pit stop, a rough stretch or turn into a dead end.  If the latter is you, its hard to start over, especially if you’re not sure where to go from here.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me, Philippians 3:12.

Upon receiving the news of my most recent rejection from Hollywood, fourth in five years, I’m starting to have second thoughts on my writing career.  Part of me truly believed my latest script Dragged Behind the Devil’ s Door would be a box office hit, but now that reality is setting in I wonder if I’m on the right track or simply chasing some improbable fantasy.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, Philippians 3:13.

Perhaps the apostle Paul went through a similar phase during his first century mission trips throughout the Middle East.  Instead of seeing progress, Paul experienced failure, persecution and suffering.  While writing a letter to one of his favorite churches, Paul had a vision that gave him direction for the last portion of his life.  May the words above serve as a message of hope to those ready to give up, quit or abandon your calling.  Although I’m not sure what role writing will play in the next stage of my life, I need to forget past disappointments by straining toward what is ahead, eternal life with Christ my Lord.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Wall of Remembrance

The American rock band the Cars once sang, Let the Good Times Roll.  Debuting in 1978 as a single, Good Times Roll is synonymous with joyous occasions in life.  While these moments may not happen that often, those who experience a season of blessings don’t want it to end.  Unfortunately, when the tides change in the form of disappointment, hardships and trials, its important to create a wall of remembrance.

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing, 1 Thessalonians 5:11.

In the 2015 film War Room, Miss Clara uses this concept to remind her of all the prayers the Lord has answered.  Whenever discouragement tried to steal her joy in life, Miss Clara found comfort and encouragement from God’s previous faithfulness.  These reflections from your past serve as a point of reference.  Therefore, whenever the good times disappear, dates, letters and pictures of transformed individuals can keep hope alive.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him, James 1:12.

During the first mission trips I ever served on, I was introduced to the concept of care cards.  Team members were encouraged to write notes to anyone who said something or did something that was noteworthy over the course of each day.  These cards were placed into individual mail boxes that were only accessible on your trip home.  When I became a youth pastor, I implemented this on two service projects that I oversaw.  When depression caused me to lose faith, I started my own wall of remembrance in my bedroom.  While 2016 is still in its infancy, perhaps its time to start your own wall to remind you of God’s goodness.

by Jay Mankus

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