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I have had 2 people tell me in the past week that they are depressed.  I don’t think they are alone.

In a world with a declining economy, frequent natural disasters, and turbulent politics both foreign and domestic, it is no surprise that people need hope.

I am writing to try to be a help to someone who may describe himself/herself as depressed.  I went through depression as a teen, being clinically diagnosed with it.  I learned much through it and have seen the answers as to what lead to it and what rescued me from it.  God graciously delivered me from it, and, as the Psalmist said in Psalm 40, He has “set my feet upon a rock and established my goings.”

Let me give some practical advice to someone struggling with with depression:

  1. Try to get adequate sleep. The mind cannot handle stresses and heartaches as well when it is not adequately rested.
  2. Cut back on responsibilities if too involved. Some people may be overcommitted, and therefore stretched too thin, making them more vulnerable to depression.
  3. Become more active if you have too much time to think. This is where it gets tricky.  Though some may need to cut back, others may need to be more active.  Sometimes, the problem of depression is perpetuated by someone having too much time to think.  If someone is sitting around, doing nothing, with only time on their hands to think about all of their problems, then the problem of depression spirals downward. (of course, time to think is important, but only if a person is thinking about the right things, not only the negative sorrowful things of life.)
  4. See a doctor for medical help. Sometimes there are medical needs that must be attended to by a doctor, but let me warn you not to rush to quickly to the doctor.  Sometimes the previous steps help. Often, there are spiritual needs that, when corrected, bring a person out of depression.

Though the physical needs are important and can lend to the problem, there are deeper spiritual needs that must be addressed if there is going to be any lasting change. Why?

  1. Man is a moral being.  If the question of, “Is my guilt forgiven?” isn’t addressed, then the nagging accusations of the conscience will only add to the despair.
  2. Man was not made to live his life apart from God. C.S. Lewis said, “Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself.  He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on.”  If the question of, “Is my relationship with God right?” is not answered, then the nagging sense of unfulfilled desires will continue to perpetuate the sorrow.

Thankfully, these questions have answers.  The Word of God speaks of these heart needs being met by One who fulfilled all the requirements for a person’s guilt to be washed away.  It tells of One who made it possible for a person to be brought to God in right relationship.

Jesus Christ died to pay for your sins and mine.  Jesus Christ died to restore you to God.  When a person turns away from wanting to sin any more and trusts what Jesus did on the cross when He died to pay the punishment for that individual’s sins, He is forgiven.

In other words, stop trying to make yourself perfect on your own.  Trust Jesus who is the only perfect One.  Trust Him to give you forgiveness of sins.  Rest in His work to bring you to God.

What have you found helpful for you or those you know in fighting depression?