Thursday, December 6, 2007

Depression and Thanksgiving



I wanted to talk today about the supernatural power of thankfulness.

Doesn't sound very impressive? Truly it's had a supernatural effect on my life.

I've been reading Ann Voskamp's blog lately, and her 1000 gifts list. We try to do something like that here, where once a week we name the things that we are truly thankful for.

I know that for a person who is severely depressed, this task may seem monumental: to even think of one thing to be thankful for. But the greater the difficulty, the greater the rewards. You can actually thank your way right out of a depression.

Last week Joshua (second son) and I went for a walk, around 4:30 or so. Here (Alberta, Canada), it is already getting dark at that time of day. He really didn't want to go, but I knew we needed to spend some time together, and that we both needed the excercise (and the last dregs of sunshine)! So off we went. It was miserable at first, I will admit. It was cold, and icy wind was tickling my face. Joshua was less than pleased.

But I was determined to have a good time! I was not going to let depression and self pity steal my time with my son, or my enjoyment of the evening ahead! I refuse to dislike winter!! So I started out by pretending that we were on a woozle hunt (A. A. Milne) and Joshua and I actually did find some animal tracks! We followed them around a bit, and tried to imagine if they were rabbit tracks, and coyote tracks, or if some were just dog tracks. We imagined that the coyote had been chasing the rabbit!

This was very entertaining for a few minutes, but soon we were aware of the cold, and the dim, so we kept walking.

As we walked, and Joshua murmered, I began declaring things that I was thankful for. I listed everything I could think of that I was even remotely thankful for. I thanked God for my two legs, that I even have the joy of going on a walk. I thanked God that when I got home there would be a toasty fire in the wood stove. I thanked God that after 12 years, I am still married to the same man, and that he is just as faithful! After about half a mile, Joshua got in on the action, and he started being thankful that he had brothers, and a sister. That he was going to have a hot supper; that he had a mom and a dad.

By the time we got home, we had walked up some real heat, and neither of us was cold anymore! I also felt so energized! I had a totally new outlook on my day, and felt like walking in the winter was one of the best things a person could do!!

I thanked my way right out of a depression. : )

Now, I recognize that your situation may be far more difficult. What this means, is that you may need to spend a lot more time being thankful. You may have to do it more purposefully.

Spend time each and every day, writing down your thanks to God. Vocalize it to Him when you are in the shower. The Word says I will enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart, I will enter His courts with praise. If you new that thanksgiving could translate you out of the prison and into the presence of the God who loves you, you would do it!! If you are alive, then it's not over yet! God still has something for you to do. Jesus has a destiny for you! Every moment more you live, is one more moment of hope. Don't give up. He will not let you down.

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