Holding on to Hope: 10 Action Steps to Fight Depression

1. Call out to God

There are all sorts of Psalms in Scripture in which the psalmist calls out to God in distress.[1] The Bible encourages us to call out to God and be real with Him about where we’re at.

2. Fight Against Depression’s Lies

Depression often says things like: “You have no hope” and “You’re not worth it.” Those statements, however, are in flat contradiction to what the Scripture says. For example, look at Lamentations 3:21-24: “This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I have hope in Him.’”

3. Fight Against the Lie that says Life’s Meaningless

I agree with Matthew McCullough, “It is resurrection or vanity.”[2] Thankfully, through Christ Jesus, “Meaningless! Meaningless!” (Eccl. 1:2) is not the end of the story. In light of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have purpose! Because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are called to work hard for the Lord, knowing that our labor in the Lord is not in vain (1 Cor. 15:58). This is good news![3] There is something in life that counts, faith expressing itself through love (Gal. 5:6).

4. Remember the Truth: God Loves You

God shows His love for us in Christ Jesus. Look at what Zephaniah 3:17 says: “The LORD your God is among you; He is mighty to save. He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you with His love; He will rejoice over you with singing.”

John 3:16 says, Because God so loved the world He did something about it, He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but will have eternal and abundant life.

Remember the truth, God loves you.

5. Humble Yourself

You can’t be your own savior. You need help. Acknowledge your need (see 1 Pet. 5:6-7). Go to a friend, to a pastor, to a doctor, and most importantly, as we see in our next action step, go to God.

6. Throw Your Cares to God who Cares for You

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1 Pet. 5:7, NLT). God can handle all your worries and cares. Give them to Him. He cares for you and He is all-powerful so he can effect change.

Further, when we give God our cares it is likely us turning away from the tight squeeze that we have on our idols and turning to the LORD who is the true God. This itself will likely be very helpful because we are not counting on lesser things—whether money, success, pleasure, or whatever—to being the deliverance and significance that only God can.

7. Listen to God

The echo chamber of our own thoughts and self-talk are often atheistic. We need to listen to God through His word. Matthew 6 is a good place to begin because it reminds us that we have a Father in heaven who cares for us.

 8. Preach the Gospel to Yourself

“Why are you depressed, O my soul? Why are you upset? Wait for God! For I will again give thanks to my God for his saving intervention” (Ps. 42:5, NET Bible).

Instead of listening to ourselves, we need to, as strange as it sounds, talk to ourselves. We need to preach the gospel to ourselves. There is hope! There is salvation in Jesus Christ!

9. Ensure Others are Preaching the Gospel to You

We need to be in community. We all need help bearing our burdens and we need to help others bear theirs (Gal. 6:2). We also need to point each other to Christ (Col. 3:16-17).

10. Read the Psalms and Sing Gospel Songs

Last night my wife and I were both down and felt somewhat hopeless. We have an Alexa (I still want to rename it wiretap) and we turned on one of Leah’s all-time favorite songs, Be Still My Soul” by Page CXVI.

We both cried as our hope was gradually renewed…

“Be still my soul the Lord is on thy side
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain
Leave to thy God to order and provide
In every change He faithful will remain
Be still my soul thy best, thy heavenly friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end
 
Be still my soul when dearest friends depart
And all is darkened in the vale of tears
Then shalt thou better know His love His heart
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears
Be still my soul the waves and winds shall know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below
 
Be still my soul the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord
When disappointment grief and fear are gone
Sorrow forgot love’s purest joys restored
Be still my soul when change and tears are past
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last”[4]

_____________

[1] These are known as Psalms of Lament. See e.g. Ps. 44, 60, 74, 79, 80, and 85.

[2] Matthew McCullough, Remember Death, p. 110.

[3] God used 1 Corinthians 15:58 in a powerful way in my own life to help me fight against depression. God is still using that verse to help me. That verse helps me not fall into the pit of meaningless existence. If Christ has been raised, which I believe He has, then life has immense purpose. If Christ was not truly raised, then I believe Nietzsche’s estimation of life would be correct.

[4] “Be Still My Soul” by David T. Clydesdale, Jean Sibelius, and Katharina Von Schlegel.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

About Paul O'Brien

I am a lot of things; saint and sinner. I struggle and I strive. I am a husband and father of three. I have been in pastoral ministry for 9 years. I went to school at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary but most of my schooling has been at the School of Hard Knocks. I have worked various jobs, including pheasant farmer, toilet maker, construction worker, and I served in the military. My wife and I enjoy reading at coffee shops, taking walks, hanging out with friends and family, and watching our three kid's antics. :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: