HOW TO BEAT DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY: WHAT YOU SOW
Last week, we talked about where the fight is. If you haven’t read that post, you can read it here.Now that we know that the fight is deep down in our spirit, the next question is “How do we fight?”
You may be thinking to yourself, “This is too strong for me.” or “I don’t have control over it.” or “I can’t fight it.”
Stop right there.
Depression and anxiety are not too strong for you.
The fight starts with what you choose to believe - what you believe about yourself, about God and His purpose for you.
You have to seek THE TRUTH and believe THE TRUTH, because it is THE TRUTH that will set you free. (John 8:32)
Where then do we find this truth? The old-age Scriptures, of course!. How do we know that everything the Bible says is true? Well, not only has the prophecies written in it keep getting fulfilled and excavations and new discoveries prove the history in it, it has also changed the lives of tons of people over thousands of years.
It is no wonder then that Paul tells us in Ephesians that the Word of God is the sword of the Spirit. (Eph 6:17) It is our weapon to fight the lies of the Enemy!
So, to make sure you are believing what is true, it is best to start with reading and then memorizing Scripture. It's a good way to become familiar with your sword and learn how to use it. The more you use it, the stronger you become and the more confident your grip will be on that Sword to wield it against the enemy.
If you are not familiar with the Scriptures, you may be concerned about how big it is and be at a loss as to where to start.
As with any book, in my opinion, it is always good to start from the beginning to get the whole picture of the story. However, if you’re dealing with depression and anxiety, the Psalms is a good place to start.
When I was really sick from a concussion, what helped me the most is when my uncle told me that the Psalms is supposed to help heal your mind. So when I could tolerate it, being I was sensitive to sound for a really long time, I started listening to the Psalms on my Bible app. (I use Bible.is mostly for listening and Olive Tree for my Bible reading/listening plan.)
Eventually, when I gradually became able to read again, I started memorizing the first few chapters of the Psalms.
I found that it gave me the words to express my hurt, my cry, my pain, my confession (of my sin/s) and my faith.
In these ancient words, you will find that you are not the only one who goes through times of desperation, loneliness, betrayal, hurting. David, who wrote a lot of the Psalms, went through a lot even as one who would eventually become king; and he expressed them honestly and real well in the Psalms.
When I got to Psalm 3, verse 6 became my weapon against the Enemy whenever I would feel anxiety trying to suck me deep down into darkness. In my mind, I would yell “I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.” (ESV) And it wasn’t that there were a lot of people that have gone against me; but it was more the first phrase, saying and therefore choosing that “I will not be afraid,” that made a whole lot of difference. And the many thousands was directed to the lies of the enemy against me.
The more that I used this verse whenever anxiety would start to overtake me and try to drown me, the less stronger its power became over me. Eventually, the doctor let me stop taking the depression and anxiety medications he prescribed me, having seen that I was smiling more and that I had found more confidence. Even now, when anxiety would try to lure me in the wrong direction, I would say to myself “No, I will not be afraid.” Or, I tell myself to calm down and choose not to be afraid. Quickly after that, I become level-headed and as I take deep breaths and put on courage, fear dissipates.
So, in the end, it is all a matter of choice. What will you choose to believe? Because what you choose to believe will drive your action and direction.
Will you choose to believe that depression and anxiety are stronger than you? Or, will you decide to pick up the Sword of the Spirit that God has provided for you and use it to pierce the lies that the enemy has made you believe.
It’s not going to be easy at first, but if you choose to use the word of God, the more you say it, the more you believe it, the stronger you become.
Another way to put it - what you sow in your heart is what you will reap. If you sow unbelief, you will reap doubt. If you sow belief, you will reap faith and strength and the power to overcome.
When you are suffering from depression and anxiety, your mind is so fragile and impressionable, so much so that it is important that you be careful of what you listen to and watch, of what you let in through your senses. This is important regardless, but even more so when you’re mind is suffering and needs to find peace.
A concussion is a traumatic injury to the brain. Some have it worse than others. I had it really bad, so in the first year or so of recovering, it was difficult for me to watch or hear or read bad news, sad stories, violent movies, anything heavy. So I stuck to comedies, light-hearted stories, or inspirational devotions as much as I could when I started to be able to tolerate reading or watching movies. As I grew stronger, I started to be able to tolerate hearing bad news and more serious stories, although I still prefer light-hearted ones. When I start hearing that eerie or sad music at the beginning of a movie, I will often pass and try to find something else.
When you’re sad, you don’t want to plant more sadness in your mind. You want to fill it with hope and happy thoughts and ideas. So, watch or listen to something funny. Give yourself a reason to laugh.
Same thing when you’re afraid. Don’t fill your mind with fearful scenes you watch or read or listen to. Rather, fill your mind with positive and encouraging things.
Even the music you listen to will affect your mood. For me, worship music is what helps calm my mind and keep me in a prayerful state. I’m currently enjoying Kim Walker-Smith’s new album, OnMy Side. When I want to be cheerful and upbeat, I listen to the Britt Nicole or Francesca Battistelli channel on Pandora, just to name a few.
The main thing to plant in your heart and mind, of course and as already mentioned, is the Scripture. Aside from reading and memorizing Scripture, there are other ways you can plant THE TRUTH in your heart and mind. The first one, which is my favorite, is going to church and listening to the sermon. Second, is listening to a podcast. I enjoy Gateway Church’s Podcast. Pastor Morris just tells it as it is; you know what I mean. I have a long drive to and from work so I also listen to Audiobooks in Audible. The third then would be to listen or read a Christian book. Fourth, listening to Christian music is the most fun way to plant THE TRUTH in your heart. The radio station K-Love has this challenge sometimes to only listen to Christian music for 30 days and see how it affects your life. I would challenge you to do the same thing. If you have problems with depression and anxiety, you don't want to fill your mind with music that will make you more depressed or anxious. Whatever or whoever you listen to, it is important to make sure that what they say is in accordance with the Bible.
THINGS YOU CAN DO THIS WEEK TO BEAT DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY:
Start reading the Psalms.
Memorize Psalm 3:6
Make a playlist of positive and encouraging songs and listen to it.
Make the choice not to be afraid or sad whenever anxiety strikes or when depression tries to hit you hard.
Sign up to be on my email list to get free music.
If you have other ideas on how to plant THE TRUTH in your heart and mind, please share them in the comments below. What are you listening to or watching that helps you out. Let us know so others can benefit from it.
If you have a story you’d like to share on how you beat depression, I’d like to hear from you. Comment below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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P.S. I am not a doctor. I am simply one who has been through anxiety and depression and therefore would like to encourage others who are going through it. I, by no means advocate not seeing a professional or taking medication. These are to be sought along with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit.