“If we were never depressed, we would not be alive. If we were not capable of depression, we would have no capacity for happiness and exaltation.” I think depression is one of those things that is both never talked of, or spoken of too much. It is debilitating, but it is also used as a crutch and a homey little corner to hang out in while the world keeps marching past. I’ve been in both places. It is comforting to know that depression is in fact confirming that I’m alive. I am not something material, I am someone with a soul. I have been silent on the topic for the most part, thinking that if I admit that I’ve been depressed then that equates having lost my faith in God. Not true! I have also used depression as a crutch. Not peeling out of my pajamas, not showering, not eating correctly, basically nursing this depression in my heart in order to feel something. If I feel like a failure, then at least I feel like something. Those are depressing words, and they’re words I’ve believed.
In 1 Kings 19, Elijah had just come off a very enormous high. God showed Himself so powerful. Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal, prayed until it rained, and then the power of God came upon him so that he ran 17 miles from Mt Carmel to Jezreel, arriving ahead of Ahab’s chariot. After all these incredible happenings, he became afraid of a threat from Queen Jezebel and ran for his life, about 90 miles away. Then he left his servant and ran one more day into the wilderness alone, before collapsing into a bitter state of depression. Elijah? The same guy who “prayed earnestly that it would not rain for 3 years and it did not rain”? The same guy who again “prayed earnestly that it would rain and it rained”? The Bible says he was a man just like us. He was alive. He felt highs, he felt lows. That week he pretty much went from the highest high, to the lowest low. He wanted to die.
What did God tell him to do then? “Here, do something great for me and you’ll snap out of it.” Nope. God told him to get up and eat. Simple, right? Well, if you’re anything like me, those simple instructions from the Lord are the ones that are often the hardest to do. I’d rather do something that looks good on the outside, or maybe even go to a Bible study to make myself feel better. The antidote for depression is obeying what God is telling us to do. “Get up,” might be the first step. “Get dressed,” might be step two. “Splash some water on your face,” might be step three. It’s one step in front of the other. It is ordinary, non-spectacular acts of obedience that meet depression where it rears its ugly head.
Every day God inspires us to do the ordinary. I see and hear it all. day. long. SURELY there is more to motherhood than another poopy diaper, or dirty bowl, or broken plate, or teary naptime, or sleepless night, or messy room. Surely there is more to my life than the host of ordinary things that pepper my life each day. But God is in them. He inspires them to happen each day. He is the God of the ordinary and spectacular. Every once in awhile we might have a Mt. Carmel experience, but generally speaking, our life is more like a drought or a run through a desert. How awesome it is when out of the depression comes a gentle voice encouraging us to “get up and eat.” He always provides what we need. He didn’t tell Elijah to eat without first putting the food right there beside him.
There is no excuse for me not to get dressed… I have clothes. There is no excuse for me not to shower… I have running water. There is no excuse for me not to exercise… I have all my faculties. There is no excuse for me not to eat… I have food. There is no excuse for me to eat too much… I have self-control. There is no excuse for me not to do every single one of the things depression tells me are impossible to do. When we do what God’s Spirit simply tells us to do, depression is gone. However, because we’re still alive, it will always come lurking. May you be encouraged to fight this horrible beast with the most ordinary, God-inspired tasks that He puts in your life each day.