Thursday, July 24, 2008

Freedom from Depression

Seven years ago I bought and started to read and answer the questions of The Freedom from Depression Workbook by Les Carter and Frank Minirth. I started and restarted it several times since then and today I finally finished. The last chapter, "Keys to Lasting Change," asks several questions. I'd like to share them and my answers.


What is my purpose as I encounter people each day?
I want to display God’s love for them—for them to know that they matter to God.

What does it mean to be yielded to God?
It means listening to God at all times and obeying what he tells me. I often forget to listen as I get wrapped up in what I’m doing.

Where does a personal commitment to Jesus Christ fit into emotional management?
My commitment to Jesus means that I take my emotions and feelings to him and discuss them with him to hear how He wants me to handle them.

How does knowing that God has a plan for my heavenly destination affect my daily decisions?
I know he’s in control. I know that his hand is on me and that if I pay attention to him and listen, he will lead me into and through those plans of his.

Why would I want to commit to love or forgiveness or humility?
Each of these keeps relationships well lubricated. Without them, I alienate myself from others and also from God. These are the characteristics that Jesus had. I need to adopt them because I want to follow him.

How can my understanding of God’s grace impact you as you face harsh realities of emotional pain or rejection?
I know God is with me. I need to remember the picture God gave me of Jesus crouching down at the top of the staircase of that long room and of him carrying me on his arm, high above the other kids. He does not reject me. I can see so many instances of that. As for the emotional pain, it brings me closer to God if I allow it to--when, in that place of pain, I can put myself in God’s arms because no one can hug and love as he does.

I need to explain my answer a bit here. A number of years ago I was part of a small group of people being ministered to and prayed for. The issue I needed healing in was rejection--something I've struggled with a great deal most of my life. I was asked, "When was the first time you felt rejected?" My first answer was in grade two, when we first moved to the city and my classmates shunned me, didn't include me in their activities and were downright cruel. But then I remembered a dream I had had as a preschooler. In that dream I was in a long, narrow basement room with other people who I recognized as not belonging to God and doing evil things (I don't think I knew what evil things they were doing). Jesus chose that moment for his second coming. He came to the top of the staircase but then left without me. For years that troubled me--rejection by God!

During the prayer time the leader asked me to go back to that place in my mind and asked what would have happened if I had gone up the stairs to Jesus (I can't remember her exact question but it was something like that). As I revisited the dream and, as a child, went to the top of the stairs, Jesus bent down to my level and we talked. As I was picturing this, I was watching from a distance, unable to hear the conversation but knowing that was me with Jesus. And then I was right there and he was wrapping his arms around me. He picked me up and sat me on his crooked arm as he continued walking around before returning to his cloud full of angels. One of the places he walked was the schoolground of when I was in grade two. Now, instead of crying in a corner of the building, I was being held by Jesus, high above the other children. I wasn't rejected! I was deeply loved. It was a turning point for me and even though I still struggle with feelings of rejection, when I remember this picture and what Jesus did for me in it, the rejection isn't as painful. I know I'm loved and wanted.

In what way am I meant to be a conduit to show godliness to others?
When I allow God’s Spirit to fill me, his Spirit in me will overflow to those around me. People need to be able to see Jesus in me—not because of some act on my part, or forced behaviour that is unnatural but because he truly is in me. This means that I have to stay connected with God. I need to be constantly “practicing the presence” of God so that I’m truly allowing him to work in me rather than me simply doing my own thing.

God, please help me to do this.

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