Depression can attack our heart from within or without. If you believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God who gave His life for the sins of the world; if you have asked God to forgive you of your sins; and if you have invited Jesus to reign in your heart as Lord, you are a Christian. Satan cannot dwell in (or possess) the same place where Jesus is Master, but he can oppress us from the outside with a constant barrage of attacks in order to crack our defenses. If we give him access, Satan can divide our heart and prevent us from enjoying the full benefits God desires for all believers.
Depression can be a symptom of a divided heart – one committed to God, yet holding back one or more areas for self. Beth Moore says this in Breaking Free, “Only the places we allow the love of God to fully penetrate will be satisfied and, therefore, liberated.” I encourage you to get alone with God and ask Him to show you if there is a heart issue contributing to your depression.
This means being naked and vulnerable before the Lord. Robb Thompson shares some interesting facts about eagles in this regard: “When these majestic birds molt, they shed all of their feathers, causing them to become extremely vulnerable. Without feathers, they are unable to fly away from danger. To protect themselves, they soar to the highest rock they can find before their feathers fall out. All by themselves, huddled on the towering rock, they lie in the sun and wait…eagles fly to a safe place…trust[ing] they will fly again.” God is our safe place; He is our Rock.
This is not a complete list, but here are a few ways Satan can divide our heart:
· Unforgiveness/ Bitterness
· Pride/Insecurity (believe it or not insecurity is a form of pride, believing our inadequacies are too big for God to handle!)
· Failure to bow to God’s supreme authority
· Seeking satisfaction from anything/anyone other than God
Over the past several months, God has done an incredible work in my heart, revealing areas where I had allowed Satan’s lies to creep in – mostly in the arena of self-esteem and control. My physical and emotional difficulties added fuel to these “heart problems” and God took me to a safe place for a complete makeover. And what a blessing it has been! Dark – yes; embarrassing – yes, convenient – no, but life-changing.
Once I resolved to “stay in camp” until I was healed, God was able to speak to me in ways I hadn’t heard when I was busily seeking perfection in my own power (not very successfully may I add). The more I searched through scripture and let it search me, the more I was able to release my grip on the things that troubled me. Each time, His Spirit flooded those hungry places of my heart, filling me with a new sense of satisfaction and joy.
Kay Warren’s definition of JOY is: “The settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life; the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright; and the determined choice to praise God in all things.” This takes knowing God, trusting Him, and choosing to praise Him even when I don’t get what He’s up to at the moment.
This process to wholeness is a lifelong deal. God saves us in a moment, but continually fills and refills us with His Holy Spirit throughout our lives as we walk with Him. If you are battling depression, be kind to yourself and let God do the work to heal you body, soul, and spirit. At the same time, relentlessly pursue God and let Him fill the gnawing hunger you feel.
I pray for you, my fellow traveler, that you will trust God to care for your every need along the way. He is good and His will for us is good. May He bring you back into the sunshine once again.
Books That Have Been Helpful to Me:As I’ve sought God’s healing in these dark months, the Bible has been my main textbook. He has also used others who’ve been this way before to help me in the journey. I recommend the following books:
Choose Joy: Because Happiness Isn’t Enough, Kay Warren
So Long Insecurity: You’ve Been a Bad Friend to Us, Beth Moore
Get Out of That Pit: Straight Talk about God’s Deliverance, Beth Moore
Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter, Janet Thompson
Rooms, James L. Rubart (a powerful fictional account of our heart - Christ’s home)
Child of Divorce; Child of God: A Journey of Hope and Healing, Kristine Steakley
Breaking Free: Making Liberty in Christ a Reality in Life (Bible study workbook), Beth Moore
Solitary Refinement: The Hidden Power of Being Alone, Robb Thompson