I’ve found myself in crack houses, abandoned buildings, and alleys, but none of those places are as terrible as when I am consumed with despair yet alive in Christ. When I was in active addiction those venues where the backdrop for my current state; the locations matched my state of mind at that time. There is a level of dissonance in a believer that has postured themselves lowly but by spiritual relationship are seated with Christ in heavenly places. Something has occurred. My theme music when I was an alley dweller should not be the same as my symphony in the Lord. The song was “Poor Me, Why Me!!” I’ve noticed that I play that same song although I have been far removed from the backstreets of life both figurative and literal.
“For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:6
Ephesians 2: 6 illustrates just how dead we were, as well as how unequivocally alive we are in Jesus Christ. To depress something is to push it down, suppress it, reject it, and wipe it out (my definition). What I am about to say does not discount the psychological illnesses that many of us struggle with. This post is to address the Depression that we willfully subject ourselves to. There is no doubt that the situations we face warrant sadness, confusion, and fear; however, as believers we are to remain seated in and with Christ through it all. To sit with the Lord and be downcast is a great misnomer. Can you imagine reclining with Jesus and worrying about bills, relationships, health, the death of a loved one, debt, and other struggles? This reminds me of the story of Jesus sleep on the boat during the storm. They were with the Savior, as are we, yet the storm troubled them so that they feared death. Even if Jesus allowed them to die on that boat in that storm, He alone had the power to restore life unto them, so what is there to fear?
“Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”” Mark 4:38
Depression in response to fear is like putting on snow boots in the summer because it might snow later that year, or in my case overeating for fear of feelings of what might happen next week. I bind up anxiety, fear, and doubt in the name Jesus. Hallelujah! As highlighted in Mark 4:38, the disciples could not ask Jesus if He cared that they were drowning, because no such thing had taken place. It was the severity of the storm that caused them to believe that the only possible result could be the worst outcome, they all would drown. “If”, is dangerous, as it considers what could happen and rarely considers the positive possibilities. The fact is that merely being alive there is the propensity for anything to happen. I, we, cannot allow the “what if’s” to consume us. I have come to understand that when anxiety gets tired it turns into depression. Get up, in the name Jesus. I am tired of eating and sleeping for fear of my reality, yet being seated with Jesus in heavenly places. I am not depressed. I am kept by the GREAT I AM!
Situations have hit me so often and so hard that I’ve felt like the first wound never had the opportunity to heal, but thanks be unto God who always causes me to triumph… (2 Corinthians 2:14). If I was purely evil and had an enemy whose every move by faith weakened my efforts, I would do everything in my power to get them to stop. Self-inflicted depression starts in our minds and is manifested in our actions or lack thereof. I am a better me when I do not feel sorry for me, after all, God isn’t in heaven saying “Poor Jennifer” no, no, no, our Father knows the power that He gave us through Jesus Christ on the cross. The Lord led me to the story of Jairus’ daughter. If anyone had the opportunity to feel sorry for themselves, surely this ruler did. He had money, status, and prestige yet was powerless to the illness that befell his beloved child.
How often do we feel powerless, vulnerable, and helpless despite our efforts, connections, and resources? This Jewish leader knew where to go. He sought Jesus. He humbled himself and pleaded at the Lords’ feet for a healing for his daughter. We all know that the woman with the issue of blood interrupted Jesus as He was on His way to Jairus’ home. Meanwhile, the man in need received notice that His daughter was dead. I know I have felt that my career, health, resources, and relationships were dead, sometimes simultaneously dying. Nevertheless, Jairus still trusted Jesus to heal her.
“While he was still speaking, someone from the ruler’s house came and said, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher any more.” But Jesus on hearing this answered him, “Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well.” And when he came to the house, he allowed no one to enter with him, except Peter and John and James, and the father and mother of the child. And all were weeping and mourning for her, but he said, “Do not weep, for she is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But taking her by the hand he called, saying, “Child, arise.” And her spirit returned, and she got up at once. And he directed that something should be given her to eat.” Luke 8:49-55
I’ve gained innumerable pounds, shed countless tears, and uttered vain complaints to God over situations that were only asleep- not dead. In Christ, even dead isn’t dead, and sleep is just temporarily dormant. I had to take a sabbatical from school as I am entering ministerial training. I grieved over that as I thought my educational aspirations were dead, but my scholastic goals are sleep not dead. I’ve lamented over relationships, although a relationship may have deceased, my relational ability is not dead- it is just at rest. Hallelujah! What have you counted as dead that was just asleep? In the name Jesus, some things that are sleeping are waiting for us to speak to them to wake them up. Rigor mortis had set in with regards to my commitment to my health goals. In the name Jesus, Get Up! Get up! Get Up! Tired, worn out warrior, Get UP! I am healthy! I will exceed the age expectancy based on my current health and weight! I will be able to say “No!” to food and “Yes!” to the peace that only Jesus gives. Brothers and Sisters let’s determine today to fear not, trust God in our vulnerable places, remember where we are seated, and wake up the sleeping things in our lives.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
This charge to “do not let” our hearts be troubled and afraid means that 1. We are instructed to not allow ourselves to be controlled by fear. If we do allow this fear to eat at us we are offending God. 2. We are in control- not fear, depression, bitterness, and sadness. We have the power to either be troubled or not. What is your choice? “Arise, Child!”
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