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RESTORING HOPE

Out from Under the Black Cloud

By Laura J. Bagby
CBN.com Sr. Producer

CBN.comBoy, being depressed is no fun! Getting out of that mindset of "I am no good, my life stinks, no one loves me" can be challenging, but it is never impossible.

I am going to share with you some of the things that I have put into practice when I have felt enveloped by the dark shadows.

The first thing to do is to think of at least one thing that you can thank God for. Then thank Him. Continue thanking Him for the good things. Then, if you can't think of any more, ask God to reveal the good things He gave you. It sounds trivial, but we were made to praise God, and this is one way to do just that.

We often forget the good things we have because we are so busy seeing what we don't have or only seeing what is wrong with our lives. Ask God to remind you throughout the day of what He has done or is currently doing in your life.

If you still can’t see your way out of that dank tunnel, pray that God would give you the faith to believe that He is doing good things in your life even if you can’t see them at all. You might not feel any good feelings, but thank Him anyway. Choose to praise, even when it feels completely unnatural. Sometimes our feelings aren’t the best judge of what to do. The best judge of all is truth, and we can find that in God’s Word. The Bible tells us that it is God's will that we give thanks in all situations, so we know that this pleases God.

When I feel down, I generally don't read Revelation or Isaiah or the minor prophets because they talk much about impending doom, and when I am particularly sensitive and feeling spiritually weak, I may walk away feeling either condemned (which is not from God) or scared or just unsteady. I think the Gospels are wonderful. I love the book of James, because it is so practical. I also like Paul’s letter’s because they are uplifting.

Now, don't get me wrong, the whole Bible is the Word of God and should be read, but if you haven't been reading for a while and need to edge your way in again and remember that you are serving a great and marvelous God (because you are!) then start with the encouraging stuff. When you are ready, certainly move on to the more prophetic stuff.

Pay attention to special God moments in your life, however unimportant they may seem at first. I had one of these at work. I came in groggy and not feeling particularly attractive one morning, and as I got in the elevator, these two ladies told me how beautiful I was. I was pleasantly surprised. Usually, I dismiss these kinds of comments as not being particularly important, but this particular day I realized, Hey! God just spoke to me through them. God is telling me He loves me. I took notice. Take note when God speaks to you in the simplest of moments. Write it down if necessary.

If the black cloud still lingers, then I might take a 5 or 10 minute walk at lunch to get some fresh air and sunshine and pray silently in tongues. I pray in the Spirit because when I do that, I usually get a quicker release from my negative emotions and what has a hold on me. When you pray in the Spirit, you are praying Spirit to Spirit and the flesh does not get in the way. It is powerful. I don't know where you are in your understanding of tongues, but I would say give it a try. I wasn't sure either for a long time. I couldn't imagine that this gift the Bible talks about could help me. But it really does give comfort and instruction. There is power there. If you have not been baptized in the Holy Spirit, you still have the Holy Spirit as your guide and you are not a second-class Christian. It is not necessary to salvation, but it can bring victory to your life. Anyway, I would seek a spiritually mature, loving Christian to talk to about this. I sat down with my pastor one day, and he gently and non-scarily prayed me through the whole thing.

And then there is another thing that you can do, and that is to get a spiritual mentor to pray with and for you. When I was struggling with an unresolved issue many years ago, I had a spiritually mature woman pray with and for me. Bringing my concerns to her in the presence of the Lord helped tremendously. I needed her accountability and her prayers, because at that time I didn't know what to pray or where to turn. It wasn’t an immediate release for me, but I know that her prayers broke something over my life at the time. Be patient on this one. It took several months, but I can attest that having a prayer partner stand with you during a personal trial really does release God’s power in your life. It’s amazing, but God does say in His Word that where two are more are gathered that He is there, so it shouldn’t be some big mystery.

I hope that all of this doesn’t sound too trite or simplistic. Obviously, there are cases that need professional counseling. But I do pray that wherever you are and whatever you are struggling with that God would restore you, bring back what the locusts ate, make a new way in your desert, and do the impossible things that you can’t do in your own strength. May God give you victory today as you seek and trust Him.

Comments? E-mail me.

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