Conquering Depression

What is Depression?
There are normal ups and downs in life.
Everyone feels sad or has "the blues" from time to time.
Sadness or downswings in mood are normal reactions to life’s struggles, setbacks, and disappointments.

Depression is much more than just sadness.

If emptiness and despair have taken hold of your life and won't go away, you may have depression.
Depression makes it tough to function and enjoy life like you once did.
Just getting through the day can be overwhelming.

Some people describe depression as “living in a black hole” or having a feeling of impending doom.

Some depressed people don't feel sad at all - they may feel lifeless, empty, and apathetic.
Men in particular may even feel angry, aggressive, and restless.
The feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness are intense and unrelenting, with little, if any, relief.

Depression is part of a psychological process.

We would lose much in life.
We would lose a sense of joy.
We would lose a sense of excitement.
We would not have any strong emotions.

But no matter how hopeless you feel, you can get better.
Understanding the signs, symptoms, causes, and treatment of depression is the first step to overcoming the problem.
Are you depressed?
Signs and symptoms of depression
Depression varies from person to person, but there are some common signs and symptoms.
It’s important to remember that these symptoms can be part of life’s normal lows.
If you identify with several of the following signs and symptoms, and they just won’t go away, you may be suffering from clinical depression.

  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
You feel hopeless and helpless
A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.

  • Loss of interest in daily activities
No interest in former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.

  • Appetite or weight changes
You have lost your appetite or you can’t stop eating
Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.

  • Sleep changes
You can’t sleep or you sleep too much.
Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping (also known as hypersomnia).

  • Anger or irritability
You are much more irritable, short-tempered, or aggressive than usual.
Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent.
Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.

  • Loss of energy
Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained.
Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.

  • Self-loathing
You can’t control your negative thoughts, no matter how much you try
Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt.
You harshly criticise yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.

  • Reckless behaviour
You’re consuming more alcohol than normal.
Engaging in other reckless behaviour
You engage in escapist behaviour
 such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.

  • Concentration problems
Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
You can’t concentrate or find that previously easy tasks are now difficult

  • Unexplained aches and pains
An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.

  • Life is not worth
You have thoughts that life is not worth living.
Suicidal thoughts.
(seek help immediately if this is the case)

Causes for depression

·         Loneliness
  • Lack of social support
  • Recent stressful life experiences
  • Family history of depression
  • Marital or relationship problems
  • Financial strain
  • Early childhood trauma or abuse
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Unemployment or underemployment
  • loss of a job or status
  • Health problems or chronic pain
  • death of a loved one
  • leaving home

What does depression do?
Depression drains your energy, hope, and drive.
Depression makes it difficult to do what you need to feel better.
Depression is different from normal sadness in that it engulfs your day-to-day life, interfering with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and have fun.

No One Is Immune from Depression

Many great men inOld Testament times knew this awful feeling.
They felt miserable and depressed.
Depression was a danger for them in their lives.

1 Kings 19
Elijah had to go through depression more than once in his life.

The emotional letdown came after a great victory.
Elijah the prophet defeated the false prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel in a stunning display of God's power (1 Kings 18:38).

1 Kings 18: 38 – 40
38   Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.
39   When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!”
40   Then Elijah commanded them, “Seize the prophets of Baal. Don’t let anyone get away!” They seized them, and Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered there. (NIV)

But instead of being encouraged, Elijah, fearing Jezebel's revenge, was weary and afraid:

1 Kings 19:4-5
He (Elijah) came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. "I have had enough, LORD," he said. "Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors." Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. (NIV)

All Old Testament men were people like us.

James 5:17  Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.

There was a period of 400 years between the Old Testament (the first part of the Bible) and the New Testament (the second part of the Bible).
During and after this time, people thought that Elijah had many strange qualities.
They did not think that he was part of our world.
To them, he was certainly not ‘a man like us’.

But James says that he was just like us.
James thinks that it is an important fact.
Elijah’s experiences were the same as ours.
He had difficulties.
He had tests.
He knew what depression was like.

1 Corinthians 10:12  So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!

David was living in the land of Philistines during the reign of their king Achish in the city Ziklag.
As an obligation, king Achish asked David and his men to join the war against Israelites.
David and his men went with him.
But the lords of the philistines disagreed to include David and his men in the troop.
So they were dismissed from the troop.
They retired their city Ziklag.

To their great dismay, they found the city laid waste by the Amalekites
They surprised the city when it was left unguarded, plundered it, burnt it, and carried all the women and children captives.

1 Samuel 30:3-4
3   When David and his men reached Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive.

4   So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep.

They were deeply confused  and depressed when they found their houses in ashes and their wives and children gone into captivity.
It made them all weep till they had no more power to weep.

Jesus Christ
Even Jesus Christ, who was like us in all things but sin, may have suffered depression. Messengers came to him, reporting that Herod Antipas had beheaded Jesus' beloved friend John the Baptist:

Matthew 14:13  When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.

God Is Not Angry About Our Depression

Discouragement and depression are normal parts of being human.

The Bible does not show God punishing his people for their sadness.
God acts as a loving Father.
He strengthens those who are in depression.

1 Samuel 30:6  David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the LORD his God.

2 Corinthians 7:5-7  For when we came into Macedonia, we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn-conflicts on the outside, fears within. But God, who comforts the  comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him.

Only one and short step to depression
How easily we fall into depression
The distance between a great victory and a terrible defeat is one step, and often only a short one.

One and a short step from the thrill of victory to the agony of defeat.

Never is the believer in greater danger of a fall than after a victory
We are so prone to drop our guard and begin to trust in ourselves or in our past victories rather than the Lord.
One victory never ensures the next.

Victory should build our confidence in the Lord
It should develop wisdom in appropriating God’s Word to aid us for the next battle.
The basis of victory is always the Lord Himself and our faith and dependence Him.

1 Corinthians 10:12  So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!

Deal with the problem
1.   Examine ourselves
Examine to find out the cause and the consequences
It is a declaration that we are going to face it.

1.   To accept the fact that you are in depression

Only a patient needs a doctor.
If everything is right, why we go forward to find a solution?

2.   To discover the reasons

The realisation of the right reason will be a valuable lesson in our life.

i.     We are the cause of depression.
We look in every direction for a reason for defeat, except ourselves.
We blame, we make excuses, we hide and hurl, but we so often fail to honestly examine our own lives.
We assume the problem could not possibly be us.

ii.   Sometimes, in many cases, we are not the reason for the depression.
We cannot be blamed directly for the cause.

God asked Joshua to consecrate the people.

Joshua 7:13  Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There are devoted things among you, Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove them.

It is to prepare them to deal with the problem.
They had to deal with both the cause and the consequences of the sin.

2.   You are a leader
If your action or inaction, decision or indecision affect more than yourself (someone or something), you are a leader.
So your decision and action is important.

Your decisions and actions or indecision and inaction may affect:

·         Your family
·         Your professional team
·         Your business which supports the life of some others.
·         Your church or social group

Your action or inaction, decision or indecision before depression and during depression affects many others.
Our life is not ours alone.
It belongs to many others too.

No one is perfect and infallible
Be realistic.
You must learn to be realistic and that you cannot be right all the time.
There is no such a thing as a perfect or infallible leader.


A defeat tests your leadership
In the defeat at Ai we see a real test of Joshua’s leadership. (Joshua 7)

“There are tests to leadership as well as tests of leadership.”

One of those tests is the test of failure.
Failure is unique to no one.
Failure, like all tests, is common to all men.

1Corinthians 10:13  No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

The manner in which a leader handles his failures (his own and others) will have a powerful impact on his growth and future leadership.

An appearance does not solve the problem
Only our action can solve the problem.
For action we need decision
For the right decision, we have to decide to face depression with courage.

Today, we do not usually tear our clothes, fall face down on the ground, and put dust on our heads.
But we too have our own ways of showing our consternation, pain, and doubt.
We may fall on our knees or put our face in our hands and sob.
 If there are feelings of self-pity and depression, most people become inactive, sometimes sullen; they mope around and wear a long face.

But these responses do not remove the pain or solve the problem.
Emotional expressions and appearances are natural but they are not a solution.

Right Focus
A wrong focus:

·      Turns mole hills to mountains and mountains into mole hills.
·      Creates negative assumptions

·      Our vision grows narrow and negative.

·      We go in reverse and look back. The tendency is to become nostalgic for the ‘good old days.’

·      We lose sight of the Lord and get our eyes on the circumstances.

Trusting in their past victory instead of the Lord, they had their eyes on the smallness of Ai and saw it as just a ‘mole hill’ of a problem.
With their eyes on the defeat, they turned this mole hill into a ‘mountain’ that was too big for the Sovereign Lord to handle.

Joshua 7:3,4
3   When they returned to Joshua, they said, “Not all the army will have to go up against Ai. Send two or three thousand men to take it and do not weary the whole army, for only a few people live there.”
4   So about three thousand went up; but they were routed by the men of Ai,

Joshua 7:7-9
7   And Joshua said, “Alas, Sovereign Lord, why did you ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side of the Jordan!
8   Pardon your servant, Lord. What can I say, now that Israel has been routed by its enemies?
9   The Canaanites and the other people of the country will hear about this and they will surround us and wipe out our name from the earth. What then will you do for your own great name?”

Whenever we are occupied with a problem, or whenever we fail to focus our minds and eyes on the Lord, we become insensitive to the Person, plan, promises, and purposes of God.

At this point, it seems it never entered Joshua’s mind that God may have had a reason for allowing the defeat, or that they (Joshua and Israel) might in some way be the cause.
When our focus is wrong we either forget God’s promises or questions them.
In such a condition we no longer see the Lord as our hope, rather He becomes the villain.

Do not make important decisions
Depression always makes us unable to see the facts as they are

There is humour in 1 Kings 19:4.
Elijah asks the Lord to take away his life.

1 Kings 19:4  While (Elijah) he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. "I have had enough, LORD," he said. "Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors."  (NIV)

If this was what he really wanted, he should have stayed where he was.
He need not have had such a long, tiring journey!
Jezebel promised to kill him in the next 24 hours.
But poor Elijah did not look at the true situation.
We are like that too, sometimes.

So, you should avoid making important decisions when you feel depressed.
You are not seeing things as they really are.
There will be a day when you will feel much happier.
That would be a better time to make a decision.

Do not doubt on your ability
The first statement by Joshua after the defeat:

Joshua 7:7b  If only we had been content to stay on the other side of the Jordan!

Joshua was doubting his own ability to lead the army.

·         He had let them down
·         The people would be blaming him for the defeat
·         He was concerned about the impact of all this on his ability to lead the people.

Be concerned about the impact of defeat
Must be a positive concern
A zeal for the glory of God.

The Second Statement by Joshua:

Joshua 7: 9  The Canaanites and the other people of the country will hear about this and they will surround us and wipe out our name from the earth. What then will you do for your own great name?”

Joshua was concerned about the impact of this defeat on their testimony to the nations.
How it could bring them down in a concerted effort against God’s people.
Would this provide a beachhead (a bridgehead on the shore to an enemy’s land) for the enemy to now go on the offensive and attack Israel?


Even in all his fears, we see Joshua’s character and love for the Lord manifesting itself.
Joshua’s greatest concern was that the news of this defeat might somehow reduce the respect of the heathen nations for God’s own name.

Joshua may have been guilty of thinking what people often think, that one failure must lead to other failures.
That victory is less likely now because they had so miserably failed.

Our sin and failure may affect our testimony for a while.
It may give Satan an opportunity to establish a beachhead.
It may even have repercussions (consequences) in other ways.
But God is always able to work all things together for good for those who love the Lord.

Refuse to continue lying in the dust
Refuse to continue in the failure.
A study of Bible characters reveals that most of those who made history were men who failed at some point, and some of them drastically, but who refused to continue lying in the dust.

Nothing is ever accomplished with our face in the dirt or with our eyes on our failures and problems.

1.    First, we must confess our failures and the things that caused them when that can be determined.
2.    Then we must seek to learn from them.
3.    Finally, we need to know that God’s will is immediate recovery and faith in the grace of God. God’s will is get up and move on.

Joshua 7:10  The Lord said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face?

Since nothing is accomplished with our face in the dirt, the Lord tells Joshua to get up or rise up out of this condition.
Such a condition, though very human and characteristic of all of us from time to time, is not a state we can afford to stay in.
It accomplishes nothing, it dishonors God’s Person and promises, and neutralizes us for the Lord.

Rise UP for action
Joshua 7:10  The Lord said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face?

The Meaning of “Rise up!”

The KJV has “get thee up
The NIV has “stand up,”
The NASB has “rise up.”

The verb here is the Hebrew qum which often means to rise up from a prostrate position for various reasons and from various conditions.
From this literal meaning there is often a figurative idea that qum gave rise to.
It was used of rising as an act of preparation for action, of rising out of a state of inaction or failure, of showing respect and worship, of rising to hear God’s Word, of becoming strong or powerful, of rising up to give deliverance, of assuming an office or responsibility (as a prophet or a judge), and of rising up to give testimony.

Several of these ideas are applicable here.
This command calls for Joshua to rise up from his state of despair and futility to prepare himself for action, to listen to the Lord, to take up his responsibility, and lead the people in God’s deliverance.
In essence it is a call for restoration to fellowship and faith in the power of God.

God is the next chance….
No failure is final

Their very failure and repentance secured for them a more ample conception of the grace of God.
They learned to know Him as the God of the second chance to His children who had failed Him—and the third chance, too …

The successful leader is a man who has learned that no failure is final, whether the failure is his own or that of another.
He acts on that belief.

Joshua may have been guilty of thinking what people often think, that one failure must lead to other failures.
Joshua might have feared that victory is less likely now because they had so miserably failed.

One failure need not lead to another failure.
No failure is failure where you take a success in it.

Do not be a procrastinator
 Joshua was not a procrastinator.
He took immediate action on the cause of the failure.

Achen’s sin
It was this spiritual condition of dissatisfaction and independent living that led him to take matters into his own hands

Joshua 7:25  Joshua said, “Why have you brought this trouble on us? The Lord will bring trouble on you today.”  Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them.

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