Last Sunday in church, our pastor mentioned that he had seen many parishioners lately who say they are suffering from depression due to the long, cold winter we are having. Just after he said it, I realized that I had not been feeling blue or depressed during this winter. It is something I fight since I am "one of those people" who tends to need a lot of sunshine to keep a cheerful countenance. Even through winter's harsh cold, I spend at least a little time daily outside walking to catch some sunshine and fresh air. I love to walk, and for me that means many things. It means I take time to observe, think my own thoughts, refresh my mind and body, pray, meditate. I read a quote just today that I can wholeheartedly support. Brenda Ueland says, "I will tell you what I learned myself. For me a long, five or six mile walk helps. And one must go alone and every day." Walking outdoors just seems to keep my spirits brighter, but I have known that gray cloud of depression, and it is not a good state of mind.
The other thing I have learned is that if I will just get up and do something, whatever that may be -- washing the dishes, tidying the bedroom, shaking the rugs or cooking a meal -- depression and fretting must go. Taking my mind off my condition and moving onward to "do the next thing" relieves my weary, fretful attitude.
Just a few days ago, I read the devotion below from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. His recommendation to arise and do the ordinary things before us, spoke to my heart. Just when I think my life is mundane and trivial, God shows me Himself in the simple, the ordinary, and the routine things in my days. Yes, even in feeding bum lambs, God teaches me and loves me. (There are six bums to feed now.)
Taking the Initiative Against Depression
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"Arise and eat..." ~Kings 19:5
The angel in this passage did not give Elijah a vision, or explain the Scriptures to him, or do anything remarkable. He simply told Elijah to do a very ordinary thing, that is, to get up and eat. If we were never depressed, we would not be alive—only material things don’t suffer depression. If human beings were not capable of depression, we would have no capacity for happiness and exaltation. There are things in life that are designed to depress us; for example, things that are associated with death. Whenever you examine yourself, always take into account your capacity for depression.
When the Spirit of God comes to us, He does not give us glorious visions, but He tells us to do the most ordinary things imaginable. Depression tends to turn us away from the everyday things of God’s creation. But whenever God steps in, His inspiration is to do the most natural, simple things-things we would never have imagined God was in, but as we do them we find Him there. The inspiration that comes to us in this way is an initiative against depression. But we must take the first step and do it in the inspiration of God. If, however, we do something simply to overcome our depression, we will only deepen it. But when the Spirit of God leads us instinctively to do something, the moment we do it the depression is gone. As soon as we arise and obey, we enter a higher plane of life.
~Online devotionals from My Utmost For His Highest
I have been asking God if He would send spring early this year. So far, I haven't heard the answer so I may put in another request even though.... "He knows my need even before I ask Him." (Matt 6:8) I am continually pulled in by this chapter.