These past weeks I have woken up with heartaches and my spirit would not remain calm. There is a great depression in the body of Christ. We live in a fast-paced society and the desire to catch up gets stronger and with it comes a great deal of stress and depression. There is so much pain, sickness, evil, anger, frustration, and heartbreaks in our present world that it makes you wonder if it is worth waking up every day.
There are so many broken homes, children are left without hope and they are left to the mercy of our sinful world. You wake up one day and you are 30 and wonder where the time went. You thought you would be further in life and yet it seems you have not taken one step. You find yourself in a job that frustrates you, a marriage that brings you pain and in a relationship where you are not appreciated. We watch our leaders take food from our mouths and tell us with smiles on their faces to support them. Families relocate to different countries in order to have a better life but instead are met with natural disasters and loss.
I look at these situations and I ask the Lord what is happening? Now we are looking at an increased rate of anxiety and suicide and I know many ask where God is in these situations. We live in times that support the implementation of laws meant to remove God from our everyday life. Medicine and psychology have offered various theories, which involved more pills and meditation but they are all devoid of an understanding of the spiritual realm. Medicine could not get me out of the depression I felt from losing three pregnancies. So how do we as Christians take this new age depression? What does God say about these situations? How do we live with the circumstances we find ourselves in?
According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, think and how you act. Depression is a meditation on things of the world rather than the things of God. I am comforted because our God is never silent but working behind the scenes for those who trust in him (Romans 8:28). Wisdom was imparted into Solomon by God to write in Proverbs 12:25 that “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad”. Anxiety and hopelessness of the world is the reason for the great depression. Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”.
Depression will keep you away from God’s blessings and your divine destiny. Satan is aware of the circumstances around you, so he will pull anything possible to steer you away from God. Depression is a parasite with a lifecycle that latches onto you and sucks till you have nothing left (No love to give and no room to accept love). This cycle begins with negative thought patterns, then anxiety and stress, your immune system shuts down, sickness, more negative beliefs and questions like; why is this happening to me?, I cannot be delivered, Why does it keep coming back? Maybe this is my cross, so I will just stay on chronic medications.
In my search for answers, two words were brought to my spirit. These words are contentment and peace. Urban Dictionary defines contentment as the state of mind you reach when you look at your life in all its imperfection, and say “good enough” Or the true peace of mind which has absolutely nothing to do with any external pleasure but rather your attitude. Peace, as defined by Merriam Webster, calls it a state of tranquillity or quiet or freedom from oppressive thoughts or emotions.
Now let us look at contentment and peace from the scriptural point. Contentment comes from accepting Christ and trusting that in him you have everything you will ever need. He is the all-sufficient God and nothing is too big for him (Philippians 4:11-13). See we are trying so hard to chase the world and without considering the implications. 1 Timothy 6:6-12 says “But godliness with contentment is a great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, a man of God, flee from all this and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
The scripture shows us how chasing the things of this word lead us to depression. If we are going to thrive in these depressing times, we must look and trust only in God (Isaiah 26:3). The problem is that many people refuse to believe there is a spiritual realm (everything we are on earth is already a manifestation of our spiritual state). We refuse to accept where we are because we have these timelines built up in our minds about what and where we should be. Contentment is saying Lord I receive and I believe until you reveal the next phase of my life. 1 Timothy says we chase riches and fall into traps and desires that plunge us into ruin. I was too eager to pursue a Ph.D. when God had clearly told me that it was not the next phase of my life. I went for it because in my head and to the world it was the next best thing. If I had listened I would not have found myself sick and miserable. Job 36:11 says “if they obey and serve God, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment”.
Jesus did tell us that tribulation and trying times will come and he told us how to be at peace in these times (John 14:27; John 16:33; Philippians 4:6-7). Whenever I am not at peace, I find it is because I immersed myself in the world and looking to it to solve problems that only God can solve. We have lost the fear of God, our society is only interested in more self-indulgence (money, power, socialite and fleshy desires) and we wonder why we are plunged into this Dark Age. Proverbs 19:23 says “The fear of the Lord leads to life, then one rests content, untouched by trouble”. Seek contentment and peace in Jesus and you will not lack for anything good (Psalm 84:11). Many times our desires and lust for wordily gain leads us to make terrible decisions which we have to live with, yet we turn around and blame God. As an example; Michael already has a good paying job that affords him a mortgage of 600,000. Now his friend Richard lives in a lavish home worth 1 million. Michael feels pressure because he and Richard are of the same age, went to the University together, got into the working world together and yet are different. Richard says he started doing some business which isn’t Michael’s forte. Michael decides to quit his paying job to join the business which ultimately falls through. Who is to blame at this point? Proverbs 14:30 says “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones”.
Now many people tend to confuse contentment with mediocrity (moderate, low quality or average). Our God wants to give us good and perfect gifts, and not mediocre things (James 1:17). As an example; Contentment is saying “Lord I believe I will have children in your time. For now, keep me in your anointing and give me the grace to wait on you”. Mediocrity is saying “Lord I want to be like my friends, please give me a child even if he or she can’t walk, I will manage”. Yes, you will be surprised that people would ask that in prayer.
When I was pregnant for the second time, I made all sorts of vows to God so he could keep my child. I was desperate to have a child so I reminded God what he did for Hannah in the bible. My husband could see what I was doing and he said: “Chi, God is love and he doesn’t need you making all these vows for him to give you a baby”. I was still hurting from the first miscarriage and told him he wasn’t a woman and he would not understand. Three months later, I began to bleed and I was taken to the hospital. Yes, another miscarriage happened. My heart broke into many pieces as the doctor gave me the pity look said: “I am sorry”. After three weeks of hurt and anger, I stumbled upon a sermon by TD Jakes titled “I am alright with the fight”.
We may give up on God but he never gives up on us. What are the odds that I would stumble on that sermon and everything about my situation was the heart of the message? God was right there waiting till I was ready to talk. I began by asking;
Chi: Lord why me? This was not what I envisioned for my life. It was supposed to be marriage and then babies. Is that too much to ask?
God: Nothing is impossible with me. However, it is not yet time for you.
Chi: What does that mean? When is the right time? When I am 40?
God: It is not my desire for you to have children now. There is much more to be done. You have so much to learn. You cannot keep running away from your destiny.
Chi: Wow sometimes it’s hard to understand you. No wonder people abandon the faith and you. I am married, so it is my right to have kids. What about people having kids outside marriage? Why is mine different? Why let me get pregnant in the first place?
God: One question at a time. Yes, it is not my will for children to be born outside of marriage but do you think you are better than they are? What do you think is your right? What is your main purpose of being born?
Chi: I don’t understand.
God: You are already blessed, you don’t need rights. I will make things happen in its time. This was your prayer to me many years back. Yes, you got pregnant and felt what it was like to be pregnant but it was not my will for you to lose the baby. Your husband knew better as you will recall. I refuse to give you a baby under the old covenant. I will give you children within the bounds of my grace and love; this is the covenant you have in Jesus. I knew that all the vows you made to me, you will not be able to keep any and Satan would use them to exploit you. You are being molded and refined. You cannot call yourself a warrior and yet have no scars.
After this conversation, life was not the same for me. I began to understand what Christ meant when he says my yoke is easy and my burden is light. I suggest you read Psalm 34 and my favorite parts are verse 9 “ Fear (respect and worship) the Lord, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing (nothing missing and nothing broken), verse 12-14 “Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it, verse 19-21 “the righteous person may have many troubles but the Lord delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.
This message is not about forcing a certain belief as some would say; I am only showing you how to live without depression in this wicked world. God wants the best for us all, so if there is something or someone putting you in a constant state of anxiety and depression, let it or them go. We are all equal in the sight of God but we are all running a different race. Tomorrow is promised to no one, so please don’t pursue the world, be content and run at your own pace. Be blessed!!!