I Can’t Avoid Depression/Anxiety if My Eternity Isn’t Settled

To me this is very clear.  Yet it’s never discussed.

If you are clear minded, then you know that your fate in eternity is infinitely more important than what you experience here in this life.  So, if you don’t have this settled, if you think there is risk to you regarding the future eternity, you will be anxious and depressed.

There are lots of Bible verses that made it hard for me to feel eternally secure.  Until I got them settled, I was frequently depressed and anxious.  If you ever want me to tell you how I gained peace on this most important matter, then leave me a comment as such on this blog.

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You Can’t Love Others Well Until All Your Needs Are Met. Read On…

Ever had the experience of having something life-changingly wonderful happen to you and it’s put you in such a good mood that you are incredibly and cheerfully nice to everyone you encounter, much more so than normally?  Maybe a financial windfall, maybe a romantic experience, maybe positive resolution for some oppressive problem that’s been crushing you with worry, etc. What’s happening in that experience is that you have the sense that “all is well” with your life because of this wonderful turn of events.  Although it passes soon, you’ve probably had this experience. To me, this is an analogy for the kind of peace/joy that God offers when you come to believe the Truth (the Gospel).

This Truth is so good that it puts you in a great mood and inclines you to spread the happiness around to others in how you treat them.  It’s referred to in the Bible as “the joy of my salvation”.  It’s also said that the Truth will “set you free” which is a similar reference.   BUT, when you don’t know the Truth, so you live in emotional neediness (depression, anxiety, and other negative feelings), you can’t love in the same way as I’ve described above.  So, I’ve come to believe that you can’t love others very well until your OWN needs are met.  Once they are met to overflowing, the love you shower on others out of your own joy is the highest form of love, I think.

I sometimes worry that readers think I’m just writing Christian blab, perhaps as a way to make myself or others think I’m some kind of towering Christian.  Well, know that this is not so.  The things I’m writing about, I’ve experienced very first hand and are very real.

Do I Really Believe It? Guess What Just Happened to Me?

My mind has been filled this morning with ponderings about how we can still be happy as things go wrong in our lives (large of small things).  Just 5 minutes ago, I got another opportunity to see if I can really do this.  Here’s what just happened.

I just locked my keys in my car with the engine running.  I’ve called a locksmith to come to let me in my car.  Now, this can be a very frustrating occurrence, right?  Can lead to a small portion of discouragement, depression, anxiety.  Let’s see if we can figure out why such an event might cause these feelings?  Well, it’s not directly because of the event itself.  It’s because of the THOUGHTS WE THINK (in our natural, not supernatural selves) regarding such an event.  I’ll give a few examples of thoughts we might think about such an event that might create these bad feelings.  But, please note that each of the thoughts (the ones that create bad feelings) are actually ALL untrue and contrary to what God says.  Watch…

I’M EMBARRASSED BECAUSE I LOOK STUPID TO MY WIFE AND TO OTHERS WHO WERE PRESENT AND SAW ME DO THIS.   I ACTUALLY DO THINGS LIKE THIS MORE THAN MOST PEOPLE.

I REALLY CAN’T AFFORD THE $55 FOR THE LOCKSMITH.  JUST ONE MORE WAY I KEEP WASTING MONEY. I WONDER IF MY WIFE AND I MAY END UP POOR.  THIS WILL MEAN I WAS A POOR PROVIDER FOR HER.

EVERYTHING GOES WRONG FOR ME.  I GET SO TIRED AND DISCOURAGED TRYING TO AVOID AND THEN DEAL WITH PROBLEMS LIKE THIS.  LIFE DOESN’T SEEM FAIR TO ME.

I SURE DO MESS UP A LOT OF TIMES.  IT’S NO WONDER MY LIFE DOESN’T GO RIGHT.

BECAUSE I HAVE TO TAKE THE TIME TO DEAL WITH THIS PROBLEM, I PROBABLY WON’T GET THE OTHER THINGS DONE TODAY THAT I NEED TO DO.  THIS KEEPS HAPPENING.  I’M ALWAYS BEHIND.  I’M A BIT ANXIOUS THAT I’M FAILING IN THE TASKS OF MY LIFE BECAUSE I CAN’T “KEEP UP”.

Each of these “thoughts” seems very much like what we may think when we do something like locking keys in a car that’s running.  Yet, none of them is true according to God.  They only appear true when seen through the lens of a worldview other than God’s.  For the sake of brevity, I’m not going to offer the Bible verses that show that the five “thoughts” above are untrue.  But, if you want to talk about it, I can offer those verses.

I practice every day to replace untrue thoughts like those above with the Truth that God offers.  I’m trying to conform my mind to God’s Truth.  But, I don’t really do this to become a”better Christian” or because God requires it of me.  I do this because I find that all of my emotional pain comes from believing things that aren’t true according to God.  God’s Truth, indeed, does set me free every day from mini and major bouts of depression and anxiety.  I can’t control circumstances or events.  But, I can work on my thoughts/beliefs.  And it’s thoughts/beliefs that cause happy or sad FEELINGS.  Don’t overlook this vitally important principle, if you want to be a happy person.  I do.

Most people think that unfortunate circumstances create depression and anxiety.  This is not true. It’s what you THINK/BELIEVE above those circumstances that create positive or negative feelings.  This is why two different people can have a similar catastrophic experience.  Yet, one is devastated by it and one copes with it quite well.

I’ve found it to be very hard work to believe correctly.  But, this hard work is a lot less painful than living in depression/anxiety/frustration/hatred/anger/fatigue/un-settled-ness/weakness.

Am I making too big a deal about “believing correctly”?  Well, remember that when Jesus was asked something like “What must we do to do the works that God requires of us?”, he answered, “Believe the one He has sent.” (meaning Jesus). This means not only work toward believing Jesus is Lord, messiah, son of God, etc.  It also means to believe WHAT he says.

USE YOUR IMAGINATION FOR A MINUTE

Think back to a time when you had done something really bad, really serious, really evil and you were being investigated…perhaps soon found out.  Do you remember the crushing weight of the fear you felt as the threat of “judgement” (someone else finding out who can deliver severe punishment of some kind) loomed?  Do you remember wishing so strongly that you could go back and un-do what you did?  Then, did you ever have it happen that in fact, you never were found out?  You got a free pass.  Do you remember how joyful and thankful and free you felt?  Wasn’t that a great feeling?

Well, for Christians who experience guilt in any of it’s manifestations, you can entirely change how you feel about your life and live virtually every day with the joy and thankfulness in the example above.  As if you had just gotten “lucky” and gotten out of big, massive, scary trouble.  I’m thinking that you no longer need to feel guilty about anything.  God says, “As sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.”

Now, if you think that can’t be the true Gospel because that Gospel would lead us all to do all kinds of bad things, know that that is a common reaction.   Great question and a common one to have if you haven’t yet fully understood the grace (unmerited favor) of God.  For longer discussion of how the grace of God doesn’t lead us to sin, click the link below.

As I told you before, I’ve lived under lots of guilt even as a Christian.   Now that I’ve more fully understood the grace of God, I practice/rehearse believing that there is no condemnation for me (or any other Christian)of any kind.  My guilt, and with it almost all of my depression, is gone.

http://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/spurgeon-7-reasons-why-preaching-grace-does-not-lead-to-sin/

He Who Loves Much Does So Because He’s Been Forgiven Much

Jesus taught that those who have been forgiven much love much.  Here’s a paraphrase of this statement but custom fit to the topic of this blog:  Do you want to be overflowing with peace/joy such that you have a good time each day treating other people well (loving them well)?  Then accept the fullness of God’s forgiveness and you will be pleased to see that you EFFORTLESSLY become the most loving person you’ve ever seen!!!

IT’S SCARY TO NOT BE AFRAID ANYMORE

For most of my adult life, I’ve relied on “fear” as an ally in my mission to succeed in life.  Continuously trying to anticipate all possible, future “bad outcomes” I could think of, then planning how to prevent each one of them has given me hope that I may be able to avoid some or many of them.  Sound like a good plan?  Well, there’s a flaw.  Even if you prevent EVERY bad outcome by your fearful vigilance, you’ve lived a life spent painfully, anxiously, 100% in the fear-mode.