When I am tempted to get down and head towards depression, I now tend to get this really cool check in my spirit. I believe it is the Lord speaking to me, asking, “What are you looking at? Where is your focus right now?”
Of the multitude of things one could be focused on in such moments, it is a sure bet that the focus is not on God and resting in His presence or Jesus’ finished work.
On Facebook, Rob Coscia said something very poignant, If you’re living in fear of people, circumstances and the future, you haven’t been listening to what God says about them.” Rob also noted 3 verses of Scripture: Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” ( Matthew 11:28) God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7) Lastly, he mentioned 1 John 4:18a Perfect love displaces all fear. I add to this short list, Jeremiah 29:11 in which the Lord states, “For I know the thoughts I think toward you, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” This verse is very familiar to most but we need to realize that we can actually ask Him what those thoughts and plans are and get a reply. He is eager to speak to and be in relationship with His people, it’s the whole reason we were created. He wanted a family. He wanted you.
I have been thinking about this a bit and why it is that Christians allow themselves to sink as deeply as anyone else who doesn’t know God. One thought that came up was that perhaps we don’t all truly value or understand the value of prayer and being aware of and intentionally focusing on His presence.
It isn’t easy to be in His presence and still feel sorry for oneself. I don’t know that it is even possible to shift one’s thinking and focus, be engulfed in Him, and still be depressed.
I think, all too often people feel they have to be doing something to fix their problems. They have to help God, after all, a lot of Christians believe that “God helps those who help themselves”. The faulty part of this is that if we could fix all of our problems ourselves, what did Jesus die for? Why do we need a Savior? What do we need God for at all if we can do it all ourselves? Now, I’m not saying just sit around and wait for everyone else to do for you or expect things to just fall into your lap. There’s most certainly a time and place for doing things, but not to the complete dismissal of prayer and just basking in His presence.
Psalms 16:11 (NKJV) says, “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your hand are pleasures forevermore.” Do we really believe that when we allow what we see and experience to overthrow what the Word of God says? Jesus said his yoke is easy and his burden is light but do we really believe that when life presents us with an opportunity to take on a burden that God never intended us to bare?
A game changer for me has been this consistent and constant (and simple) awareness that I carry the fullness of the Godhead in me and with me 24/7 (John1:16). Because of this, I can engage with Him at any time. What a wonderful reality!!!
I am one who can take empathy to heights and depths unknown, and last week, I started to really feel down as I witnessed so much pain around me. I felt myself sinking deeper and deeper, praying and crying. Eventually, I realized, I need to let it go because it was affecting me more than just a little. I knew that in my own strength, I couldn’t handle it so I sat still and told the Lord that I didn’t want to keep feeling so awful. I’d prayed in faith and believe wholeheartedly that He has already provided healing for the hearts, bodies and minds of all that I prayed for, but I didn’t have to stay there. I could have my joy restored and keep it. So, I focused on Him and just worshiped Him and soon, everything changed. Now when I think of the people I am praying for, I simply thank God for their healing and move on with my own joy intact as I know I have constant access to rivers of living waters flowing inside of me.
I love how, when I decide to trust God and don’t try to have a back up plan to fix things myself in my own strength, it leaves room for Him to do some crazy, creative and mighty things in my life. I have seen it so much in the last few years that for me, there is no other way. It’s live by faith, the end. If He said it in His Word, I have settled it in my heart to trust and believe it no matter what I see in front of me. Just as Psalms 121 starts out, “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth…” So, my question to you is, what are you looking at? Where is your focus planted? If it isn’t on Him, no worries, make that shift, focus on Him. Allow Him to love you through rough times and fill you with that peace that surpasses all understanding. Joy unspeakable is yours for the taking. Get what’s yours and keep it!