When depression hits, it affects your whole being (body, soul, and spirit). Depression affects your body, but also your soul. Your soul is your personality (your mind, will, and emotions). God encourages us to seek Him for healing and health. “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
When you have lost a significant relationship, whether by rejection, divorce, or death, it is normal for your heart to be depressed. However, after a period of time, normal healing should have occurred. If your heart has not “resumed its natural shape,” your heart could be in a state of depression. Since the entire soul (mind, will, and emotions) is affected by depression, recovery involves taking steps to treat depression in all three areas of the soul. Each part that has been touched by depression needs to be reached with healing.
What your mind dwells on can be a key ingredient to overcoming chronic depression. Research verifies that what a person chooses to think about literally changes the chemistry of the brain! You need to fill your thinking with God’s thinking – fill your mind with God’s perspective and promises. Romans 12:2 says that you are “transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
- Write several Scriptures on index cards and read them several times a day.
- Make a list of good aspects in your life and spend time every day thanking God for those specifically.
- During the next week, list more specifics for which you can thank God.
- Keep adding to the list each week.
- By looking at God’s Word, you can discover God’s purpose for allowing the painful losses in your life. Since God is your Redeemer, He has a purpose for allowing everything … even the storms in your life. “He sent forth his word and healed them.” (Psalm 107:20)
To combat depression, write out your dark thoughts, after this write out what God says about it. Ask the Lord and a friend for help with wording. When dark thoughts come, use cognitive therapy on yourself, which simply means replacing your dark thoughts of despair with the light of truth. “You are my lamp, O Lord; the Lord turns my darkness into light.” (2 Samuel 22:29)
- “I cannot escape this darkness.” – “The Lord will bring light into my darkness.” “My God turns my darkness into light.” (Psalm 18:28)
- “I feel like I have no refuge … no safe haven.” – “The Lord will be my refuge.” “Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge.” (Psalm 16:1)
- “I feel like I’m in much too much trouble.” – “The Lord is my help in trouble.” “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)
- “I can’t help feeling so restless.” – “My God gives my soul rest.” “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.” (Psalm 62:1)
- “I can’t see the path I should take.” – “The Lord will direct my path.” “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5–6)
- “My burden is too heavy to bear.” – “The Lord is my burden bearer.” “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.” (Psalm 68:19)
- “I’m afraid to be around people.” – “The Lord will give me strength to be around people.” “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)
- “My confidence is completely shaken.” – “The Lord will keep my life from being shaken.” “I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” (Psalm 16:8)