2 Samuel 22:29 – You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light.
Depression is like a dark bag placed over your head. It causes darkness to encircle your world. You know the light is out there, but you can only see things in shadows.
The bag is scratchy and irritates your forehead and eyes. It weighs heavily upon your head and causes your face to bow down toward the ground. You try to take off the sack before you start your day, but there’s no way to grab the ends or slide it off your face.
What’s worse is stepping out your door and going to work. As you drive along, the glow from the sun is stunted. Each traffic light you come upon is always red making you have to stop.
You stumble around in your day, because you can’t fully get into your work. It’s hard to do such a thing with a bag over your head making your computer display a hard thing to see clearly.
Your boss walks by your desk, takes a quick glance at you, and then asks you why you haven’t finished the report that was supposed to be on his desk hours ago? You try to give reasons why it’s not done, but your boss doesn’t care. He leaves and once again you try with all your might to pull that bag off your head.
Somehow you make it through your day and stumble home. You throw the files you’re supposed to work on at home tonight on the couch and head towards your bedroom. All you want to do is sleep.
But then you think about your family who are waiting patiently for you to join them for dinner. You don’t want to. So you head for your bedroom. They must understand; it would take so much energy to eat. And the bag over your head would make it impossible to eat and you wouldn’t want your family to see what a failure you are. It’s easier to climb back into bed.
The darkness of depression is hard to shake. It doesn’t just exist on the outside but pushes its way into every chamber of your heart. Tonyrobbins.com, in their article, “How to Deal With Depression,” has some ideas on how to get out from under depression’s hold on your life. One idea is to, “Change your physiology. Being mindful of your body and making adjustments to how you carry yourself can be key to getting out of depression. It can be as simple as lifting your chest.” Another is to, “Change your words. Your words matter – both the words you say out loud and the way you speak to yourself internally.”
When darkness encircles your world, remember that you can lay your burdens down at Christ’s feet. Trust that God sees depression’s bag over your head. He will lift it off and give you back your strength when yours is gone. God can be your lamp and turn your darkness into light.
Romans 13:7 - Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Sometimes when we are ridiculed and criticized by others it can dig a hole deep in our hearts which causes pain. But as hard as this may be to hear, we’ve taught people how to treat us whether with respect or criticism.
If you are an aggressive person, then you push people around to get your way. You yell. You stomp your feet. You pretty much act like a two-year-old who’s being blocked from getting his way.
Does this describe you? Then it’s time to grow up. People may appear to respect the one who is a bully, even at fifty years old, but they keep their thoughts to themselves for fear of the consequences.
If you are a passive aggressive person, then you also try to push people around in order to get your way, but you do it by way of manipulation. You pout. You give people the “silent” treatment. You speak with a wine in your voice. You feel sorry for yourself. And, you’re still acting like a two-year-old.
Does this describe you? Then, yes, it’s also time for you to grow up. Nobody even tries to hide that they have no respect for a passive aggressive individual. And, it makes for a life with few friends.
If you are an assertive person, you don’t have to bully or manipulate people to do what you want. That’s because people are willing to help you even before you ask. They see how you treat others with respect. They see how you are willing to see both sides of a story and are open to receive advice.
You can see how each personality type teaches those around them how to treat them. This is not to place guilt on you, but to help you open up your thoughts to see that you might be at least partly responsible for the grief you receive from others.
Let’s correct that problem. Today, begin treating yourself with respect.
Here are a few more ideas on how to begin to respect yourself on thehopeline.com in their article, “How to Respect Yourself More.” Here’s a good one, “Don’t let other people’s opinions about you control you.” If you’re an approval addict this may be hard to do, but you, “must break free from the grip of others.” Another suggestion is, “Don’t let anybody force you to be or do anything you don’t want to do or be, simply to gain their approval or friendship.”
I believe that if you start treating yourself with respect others will soon travel in that direction, too. You can retrain others to believe in the gifts and talents that you have to offer. And just as the Bible verse says above, God also wants us to not only give respect to others, but to ourselves.
1 Kings 19:3, 4 – Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”
You sit alone in your living room.The blinds are shut as if you could shut out life. And rolling around in your head is the last conversation you had with your son.
It hadn’t gone well, and he had hung up on you.
You start to cry. Then your cry turns even deeper and from your lips escapes, “Woe is me!”
The more you think about your life, the stronger the cry from your heart. But if you’re really honest with yourself, you are simply feeling sorry for yourself. You’ve had disagreements with your son before. You just need to give him some time.
Yet still you feel it’s not fair he treated you this way. On and on you rationize that you hadn’t done anything wrong. And from somewhere down the line the train of self-pity is coming to pick you up.
But does it help you to feel sorry for yourself? Is it going to make you feel better? In most cases no.
Self-pity is a choice to simply feel sorry for yourself and to wallow in it. The more you wallow in the mud, the harder it is to come out of it. You must grab a hose and wash the mud off of you. As you do, you’ll feel the weight of self-pity lift off.
Let’s find some ways to stop thinking, “Woe is me.” Psychologytoday.com in their article, “9 Ways to Get Past Self-Pity,” gives us some clues to help us wash off self-pity. One way to do so is to “reserve your resources for productive activities.” “Every minute you dwell on self-pity is 60 seconds you delay working on a solution to your problems.” Another one is, “They refuse to complain.” “Venting to other people about the magnitude of your problems fuels feelings of self-pity.”
Take a look at the Bible verse above. Elijah was a great prophet in Bible times. He had just watched God win a victory and perform a miracle, yet when someone threatened to kill him, he ran. He was in the middle of self-pity and said in affect that he was done. But God didn’t take Elijah’s life for feeling this way. He fed and cared for him and helped him wash that pity away. God will lift you out of self-pity too. You just need to turn towards him and believe things will get better.
Proverbs 29:11 - A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.
Anger can turn ugly fast when you’re in situations you have no control over.
Anger in itself isn’t bad. The trick is to diffuse the situation as quickly as possible.
When you go beyond your thoughts, and begin to take your anger out on others, you know you’re in trouble. Everyone is different in what will make them feel extreme anger. So it’s important to be a student of your body and mind and watch what triggers your anger. This way, you have a chance of diffusing your anger before you come in contact with someone else who may push your anger button. You may have a valid reason for being angry, but be careful.
How do you stop your anger before it gets out of control? Gizmodo.com in their article, “How to Prevent Your Anger From Spiraling Out of Control,” suggests to, “remind yourself that anger on its own (it’s just an emotion, after all) is not the solution to the problem or situation, and in fact it may make things worse.” Also, using some humor could help. “Humor can be a powerful tool to diffuse a stressful or annoying situation, and it can do wonders in alleviating negative feelings in our own minds.”
Remember, God is always ready to talk to you. He’s safe to explain your situation to and diffuse that anger. He will bring you comfort and guide your mind back into the safe harbor of peace and help you avoid pushing the anger button.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.