4 Secrets to turn God's "No." into my "Yes!"
I just had one request on my birthday: “This year, Lord, please remove the depression, heal my mind, and set me free from this plague of darkness." As the days melted away, I stood expectant that God would deliver. After all, it was my year of jubilee, a year of freedom and restitution. But as the sun kissed the day goodbye 365 days later, the darkness of the evening mocked the darkness closing in on my mind. I wasn't healed. Depression was still a part of me. God had said, "No."
The Apostle Paul was familiar with God saying, “No." In 2 Corinthians 12:7-8, he wrote,
"Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.”
I'm not claiming my depression is from Satan, but it sure does torment me.
- It trips me in my upward momentum.
- It isolates me in a crowd of joyful people.
- It mocks me at the slightest seemed offense.
- it... ugh, the list drones on.
"Why, Lord? You can do anything. I know You love me. Why would You, in your great kindness, choose not to heal me?"
After I finished pouting, my heart softened. My "woe is me" turned to "Show me, Lord!" I craved to live abundantly with this "thorn in my flesh." I asked. He answered. Help arrived. God’s words to Paul became my lifeline, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9.
Two phrases serve as handholds on this lifeline.
1. My Grace - Grace in the Greek is “charis” meaning that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness. I think of babies laughing, lambs skipping, and all other gifts in life that are bright and beautiful. These are just a small taste compared to the abundant grace God lavishes upon us. Therefore, when my soul is downcast with “woe is me,” God’s grace penetrates the dark with joy and delight and sweetness.
2. My Power - Power translated from the Greek is “dynamis" which is my favorite Greek word. Your mind probably pictured dynamite as you read it. Not only does it mean strength power and ability, it also means power for performing miracles! Chew on that, my friend, the power for performing miracles! Glory bumps!!
Just imagine any stronghold which shackles us from living the abundant life. Like dynamite blasts thru mountains of rock, so it is with God's power. It blasts thru any stronghold holding us captive! Yes! If that doesn't make you want to cheer, check your pulse!
So even though God said, "No." to taking away the depression, He was inviting me to say, “Yes!” when dealing with the depression. “When Tammy is weak, then God is strong.”
We sing and listen to sermons of God's grace and power on Sunday mornings, but how does that translate to the nitty gritty of life by Sunday afternoon? Oh, my friend, it is by applying God's Word. This is how we "Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear." Philippians 2:12.
Here are 4 Scriptural Truths on thankfulness which we can apply to help depression!
1.Thankfulness Beckons Me: “Be thankful in ALL circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18
It's His will for me to be thankful because He knows that thankfulness is life-giving! Thankfulness alters the flow of my thoughts from darkness to light!
2. Thankfulness Protects Me: “we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5
All dark and negative thoughts are cheating me of the abundant life Christ died and rose again for. This verse pictures criminal thoughts being handcuffed and thrown into prison to protect my mind from their folly.
3. Thankfulness Frees Me: “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God!” Psalm 42:5
Experts say worry and worship can’t occupy the same space. How kind of God! He knows when I’m focused on thankfulness, I’m allowing joy to bloom in the desert places of my heart and mind.
4. Thankfulness Empowers Me: “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
Depression is equivalent to a crushed or sad spirit. Yet, God, in His kindness, supplied us with the answer! His antidote? A joyful heart! A joyful heart hones in on thankfulness! A follow-up post will demonstate this link between thanfulness and joy. Thankfulness empowers me to choose joy in the darkest times. Thank you, Lord!
Bouts of depression are like the onslaught of seasonal colds. They come and go at will. When I have a cold, I take medicine formulated for my symptoms. So it is with depression. When it swoops down on me, I apply these 4 Secrets to shine the light in the dark. Is it easy? No. I have to bully my flesh. Is it worth the effort? Absolutely! Why? Thankfulness helps heal depression.
While I didn't receive my birthday request, I received something so much better: God inviting me to trust Him. I have turned God's gentle "No" of a miraculous healing to a life-preserving "Yes!" by taking Him at His Word.
Truly Paul's words have now become my mantra, "Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses...for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Soon, I'll share some of the cool science proving these 4 Secrets work! Until then, my friend, how have you beaten depression? I'd love to hear! If you're currently in a dark season, I'm sorry. That's hard. I get it. You're not alone. Let me know if you're struggling. I'd love to pray with you.
Jesus Girl. Wife. Momma. Student. Teacher. Confidante. Lover of milky coffee, dark chocolate, deep talks, lively laughter, and a front row seat on the beach at sunrise.