It’s a dirty topic, but somebody’s gotta discuss it – anxiety and depression.
Before we go there (anxiety and depression), let’s talk about what redefining flourish means.
redefine: to state or set forth the meaning, explain, identify the nature, essential qualities of, specify distinctly, determine or fix boundaries or extent of, to make clear the outline or format of. (www.dictionary.com)
flourish: to be in a vigorous state; thrive; to be in its or one’s prime; be at the height of fame, excellence, influence, etc. successful, prosper, grow luxuriantly. (www.dictionary.com)
Essentially, the concept regarding the phrase redefining flourish is this – to go beyond the boundaries of the traditional definition of the word flourish, breaking out of the restrictive description of the word flourish.
Ladies, the Lord does not get any glory when His daughters are walking around oppressed, defeated, or broken. He takes no pleasure in us being imprisoned by our thoughts.
Some may not realize it but anxiety and depression are both head conditions, (before you take offence, hear me out please), meaning it starts in the mind (the battle ground of the enemy) and then travels to the heart spreading like a cancerous disease, eventually infecting the entire body. Once the mind has the heart convinced, the body will follow. They (anxiety and depression) are the byproducts of fear, it is their driving force. When we are plagued by fear, it cripples us to the point of paralyzation. Medically speaking, when a person suffers from paralysis of any kind, it’s because of an injury or disease of the nerves, spinal cord, or brain (NOTE: it does not list heart). The brain registers the information and the heart carries it out. For example, if someone is depressed, the brain alerts the heart, and the heart sends out the notification by pumping the depression tainted blood to the rest of the body – when the mind has the heart convinced, the body will follow.
This gives new meaning to a few of those popular verses in the Bible that urge us to keep our minds in check (Romans 12:1-2 NIV, Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV), even going as far as offering suggestions on what to think on (Philippians 4:8 NIV). God reminds us in His word that He has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV). When a person is paralyzed (even if it’s by fear), I’d venture to say that the word power wouldn’t be on the list used to describe their feelings. Just sayin. Love is a force that holds its own, it can tap into a level of courage that was previously dormant. There is nothing like a sound mind. It embodies peace, rational thinking, and understanding.
The word of God says “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Mat 7:11 NIV It says it in Luke 11:13 NIV as well. (NOTE: In these two passages of Scripture, the “good gifts” mentioned are referring to the Holy Spirit.) In addition, the Bible clearly states in James 4:2 KJV, “…ye have not, because ye ask not.” and the NIV translation says it like this, “You do not have because you do not ask God.” Verse 24 in Mark 11 explains, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received in, and it will be yours.”
After reviewing the previously mentioned Scriptures, think about these questions before you answer, be honest with yourself and rest assure that God already knows the answer. You can lie to others, and even to yourself, but there is no hiding the truth from the Lord of the universe. 1. What have you asked God to do for you regarding anxiety and depression? 2. When you ask Him, do you fully believe that He will deliver? As I pondered these same questions myself quite a few years ago, I hate to admit it, but I was ashamed of my answers. After coming to that realization, I fell on my knees and asked God to forgive me. In my prayer, I asked God to provide me with an action plan for overcoming and to strengthen me for the journey ahead. There was work to do and I needed to get started right away, thus my research began.
Overcoming Anxiety and Depression – Family and Friends
It is important to have a support system available to you because it plays a major role in helping to overcome the struggles associated with anxiety and depression. While in the storms of anxiety and depression, maintaining a godly perspective along with sustaining the minimum effort needed to overcome this relentless pair, may seem impossible. Not to mention that the very nature of these beasts (anxiety and depression) makes it difficult to reach out for help. By adding isolation to the emotional turmoil, it can quickly turn a bad situation to much worse. However, on the flipside, retaining emotionally healthy close relationships with a trusted family member or friend can be vital in the process of overcoming.
Often times, reaching out to someone who is close, simply isn’t an option for various reasons like embarrassment, guilt, shame, exhaustion, etc. However, when these thoughts invade your mind, know that it is the enemy talking, using anxiety and depression as his voice. The enemy of your soul would have you believe that reaching out for help is a sign of weakness and that couldn’t be further from the truth. The people who love and care about you want to help you. Also, making new friends and improving your support system is always a plus.
Surround yourself with family and friends who love and care for you. It is important to spend time talking face to face with people you trust. They only need to listen, they don’t have to fix you. Ask for help and support that is beneficial to you. Don’t expect people to automatically know how to help, be as specific as possible.
Remain involved in social activities, regardless of how you feel. Sometimes, when dealing with anxiety and depression, you’ll probably feel more comfortable retreating into your shell but resist these feelings. Being around other people will help you overcome.
My prayer is that you don’t’ get weary as you walk this difficult journey. God will strengthen you, He will order your steps, continue to trust Him and believe He is able to do what is impossible for you. Join me tomorrow to discuss the second tip for overcoming anxiety and depression.