But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. Jonah 1:3
This week’s series is on depression. Depression isn’t new to God. Look for examples with Jonah. Not only did he disobey the Lord but he ran from Him, which resulted in him sitting in the belly of a whale. Do you think Jonah was happy in that whale belly? And even after He did what he was commanded, Jonah went up on the hill and pouted. Not every temper tantrum is related to depression of course but this book of the bible has always spoken to my heart when I think of depression and the internal battle that rages within me.
“Are you sure you don’t have some sin that needs to be confessed?”
See, I told you! No one believes you because you’re worthless. They all know it.
“Have you been reading your bible?”
You loser. God can’t save you. Your friends think you’re crazy because you are.
“You just need to pray about it.”
Why bother? It doesn’t work. God doesn’t hear me anyway.
“You just need to exercise more. Are you eating a lot of sugars?”
Yeah, exercise more you fat idiot. How can I exercise when I can barely get myself dressed everyday?
“You’re just overwhelmed, that’s normal with small children.”
So I’m just doomed for the next 5+ years? Awesome.
“You just need to ask for help.”
That’s what I’m doing now.
I could go on and on with these helpful suggestions. Oh, I know they are meant well and I’m not saying that these are not things that can help but when you are deep in depression and feeling like you can’t even get out of bed everyday, these just solidify the fact that you really are in fact, useless and worthless.
Do not help satan feed your friends and loved ones his lies. Many times when a helpful suggestion is given to a depressed soul, it’s like spoon feeding them poison. Instead of being uplifting (which is of course all that is meant) it digs the person’s pit even deeper. Sometimes truths need to be spoken but very carefully and at the right time. I’ll talk about this more later this week.
So what can you do for someone you love who is struggling with depression? More than you may have thought. First flat out ask what you can do to help (I know, I suggested this yesterday). Likely they will not tell you the truth but give them the chance to. Like I said yesterday, be ready to act! This is a time you cannot let them down. So if you can’t commit, don’t ask.
Practical ways to help the depressed:
* Set up a time to come and listen. If they refuse, keep asking. If you know them well enough, stop by for a chat. Make sure you do the listening! They need to talk. Do not gossip about what is shared. Not even as a prayer request.
* Call. They may avoid the phone (this is what I do) but call anyway. Leave a message that you are there for them. Even if they never call back, they will appreciate that you love them enough to tell them.
* Mail a letter or card. Let them know you love them and are there for them.
* Bring a meal. Breakfast, lunch or dinner. When one is depressed, they lack the energy to do even the most mundane tasks.
* Stop by to do chores. Fold some laundry, sweep, vacuum, scrub the toilet, wash the dishes.
* Take the children for a few hours, a day, or a weekend. A break from kids is huge.
* Kidnap them for a night out with some girlfriends.
* Drop off a gift, card, favorite candy etc.
* Pick up their favorite coffee drink and deliver
* Pay for pizza to be delivered one night for dinner
* Pick the kids up from school or pick them up in the morning and drop them off (with permission of course)
* Go to the dollar store and pick up some fun things to deliver
* Make a card
* Bring cupcakes or brownies
* Create a cd of uplifting songs
* Donate a month of netflix
* Mow the lawn or do other outside work
These are just a few of the many things you can do for someone. If you have been through a battle of depression, tell them about it. Be careful in how you word it. It is often very healing to not feel alone. It is also tremendously helpful to feel love when you are at your most unlovable.
Are you struggling with depression? Check out my series, 31 days of depression series.