Sunday, February 6, 2011

I Feel Blue (Part Two)

Have you ever felt down, depressed, alone, or disappointed? If so, you are not alone. All of us at some time in our lives have to face these feelings. It is what we choose to do with these feeling that can make us stronger or plunge us deeper into the pit of despair. During these seasons of our lives, we need to turn to God for our strength. If we don’t, it can feel like the circumstances of life are drowning us from the inside out.

Life can feel overwhelming and unbearable at times and if we aren’t careful, that time of discouragement can turn into a serious bout of depression. If you are feeling “blue” or know someone who is, be sure to check out all of the “blue’s clues” mentioned in the previous post (I Feel Blue~ Part One).

For most people, depression leaves as quickly as it comes with the support of friends and family. For others, the symptoms persist and worsen. In these instances, medical attention may be needed. Here are some tips to help you or someone close to you overcome “the blues.”

6 Tips to overcome “the blues”:

1. Give it to God (that issue that is causing you to feel down)

I remember a time in the past when I started to feel depressed and down. I had two kids under the age of two. They were sixteen months a part and I felt overwhelmed. I lacked sleep, a balanced diet, and any alone time which didn’t help the situation.

One day when I was sitting in my living room feeling sorry for myself, the doorbell rang. My front porch was filled with a group of elementary age kids. They asked if they could all quote a scripture to me for their Vacation Bible School contest. It was my job to listen to each child quote the verse and sign their paper to give proof they did it. The first kid rattled off their verse as I stood there disgusted that they were interrupting my day…

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
Matt. 11:28

It wasn’t until the 3rd or 4th kid said it that I got it… God sent a group of kids to my door to speak for Him. I guess that’s one way to get my attention. I was weary and needed rest, but I hadn’t gone to God with any of it. After the kids left, I sat on my couch and cried inviting God to help me. Immediately His peace entered that room and filled my heart. Giving it all to God made all the difference.

James 1:2-4 says…
“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”

I don’t like it, but struggles and challenges in our lives can make us stronger. They help increase our faith and the faith of others. They inspire others to keep moving forward in their walks with God, as they see God’s faithfulness to us. Keep moving forward trusting God and He will come through for you. I guarantee it! It may not be in our time, but in God’s perfect time! Give it to God!

Another tip to overcoming “the blues” is…

2. Talk About It

Friends are there to help you carry the load… Let them!

“Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” James 5:13-16

Spending time talking with friends about life in general is usually a mood-booster. Find some people you love and trust to share all the areas of your life with… the good, bad, and the ugly.

Even though you may not feel like socializing, it's important that you continue to talk to your family and friends. Call them to talk, meet them for lunch, or go to a movie. When you are struggling, if you remain isolated there is a greater risk of you developing severe depression. Talk about it!

Another tip to overcoming “the blues” is…

3. Take a Time Out

If you feel yourself getting stressed about something, take a time out. Go for a walk, play sports, let off some steam. Just going outside can sometimes improve your perspective and overall sense of well-being.

Sometimes just putting things in writing can help. Journal and keep track of your moods and feelings day by day. This can help reveal patterns that may help you in beating depression.

“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39

Nothing can separate you from God when you are struggling, but you. If you feel the blues coming on, take a break. It can give you a new perspective. Stop “the blues” from coming before they even have a chance to grab hold and latch onto your life. Take a time out!

Another tip to overcoming “the blues” is…

4. Make a Change

Sometimes just changing things up can make a difference in your outlook. The human mind is designed to think. If there is nothing positive and engaging to think about, the mind tends to drift back to old things from the past--remembering old wounds and losses. One positive change you can make is to take up a new hobby. Hobbies are one way to help fill your thoughts with a new and positive perspective on life.

Some thing else you can do to lift your spirit is to change the channel. Set a new and improved tone in your life. Start watching light-hearted shows and movies, read books with a positive theme, and take time to laugh. Laughter is good medicine for the soul. Make a change!

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” Proverbs 17:22

Another tip to overcoming “the blues” is…

5. Stay Active

Keep doing what you normally do daily. Don’t run away, hide out, or avoid those that love you. When you pull yourself away from everyone, nobody can help. Plan each day to do at least one activity that you would normally find enjoyable, interesting, relaxing or satisfying (this may be reading, listening to music, watching movies, going to the park, gardening, taking part in sports, or seeing friends).

Avoid staying in bed… it's best to get up and on with your normal day as soon as you wake up - whether this is going to work, school or university, or meeting up friends or family. Avoid napping during the day, it can upset your body clock and make it harder for you to fall asleep at night. Napping can provide an abbreviated escape from reality, but it doesn’t fix the problem or take away those feeling completely. When you wake up the world is the same, you just experienced a pause in your day. Be sure to watch your diet too. This can make a big difference in our overall feeling and mood whether we realize it or not.

Staying active is important in overcoming the blues. At first you might not find things as enjoyable as you normally would, but if you persist, the enjoyment will eventually return. Stay active!

Another tip to overcoming “the blues” is…

6. Get Help!

If you start feeling worse, or you've been feeling miserable for more than two weeks, you may be experiencing something beyond “the blues.” It's important that you act early and let someone know how you are feeling.

Tell your parents, a leader, a counselor, a teacher, a friend, anyone before it overwhelms you. Depression is a sickness that sometimes needs professional attention. Don’t be afraid to get help.

We will all face ups and downs in our lives and with our relationship with God. We need to learn now how to deal with “the blues,” so we can walk in joy no matter what comes our way. I read a poem recently that really spoke to me about the thought of letting go and letting God.

“God Boxes”

I have in my hands two boxes
Which God gave me to hold.
He said, “Put all your sorrows in the black box,
And all your joys in the gold.”

I heeded His words, and in the two boxes
Both my joys and sorrows I stored.
But though the gold became heavier each day,
The black was as light as before.

With curiosity, I opened the black,
I wanted to find out why,
And I saw, in the base of the box, a hole
Which my sorrows had fallen out by.

I showed the hole to God, and mused,
“I wonder where my sorrows could be,”
He smiled a gentle smile and said,
“My child, they’re all here with me.”

I asked God, why He gave me the boxes,
Why the gold, and the black with the hole?
“My child, the gold is for you to count your blessings,
The black is for you to let go.”
(author unknown)

May you feel inspired today to let go of what is hurting you and let God have it all. He is able to heal us inside and out. I pray for God’s healing on the inside for you today.

Living to leave a legacy,

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