Wednesday, March 3, 2010

You will be free, and you will stay free.

This blog post was sort of bouncing around in my mind this morning as I went for my daily jog. I'm just going to start typing here, and see how the Lord leads it. I'm sure He has something to say.

I received a couple of emails recently asking basically the same questions (as I understood it). First: how did I get to a place of actually receiving my healing without giving up hope. In other words, when I was severly depressed, how did I continue to believe that I would get well. And second: how did I stay well once I was healed. Now, even if I have misunderstood the questions somewhat, these two are worthy questions to consider, and questions that deserve revisiting and answering.

How did I keep believing that I would be healed, and never lose hope?
I don't know that there is an uncomplicated answer to that, but there are a couple of things in my story that I will share which may help you. But before I do- I must point out something to your own heart. You actually believe that you will get well. You may not think that you do- you may feel pretty hopeless after many years of depression, but if you really didn't believe that you would get well, you would not be reading a blog entitled HEALED of depression. The enemy of your soul may be feeding you thoughts of despair and hopelessness right and left, but the human spirit was not created to give up! There really is a part of you that knows you should not be depressed, and that there is the possibility of a future free of depression.

Now back to my story! I think one thing that helped was that even though I'd had bits of unrecognized depression throughout childhood, and teen years, was that there was a time in my life when I WASN'T depressed. So I sort of knew deep down that this was not who I was. "Depressed" was not my TRUE self. Also, I'd been taken to Sunday school when I was little, where the people were kind and really loved Jesus. This began a belief in me that God really did exist. He was a Real "Person". I may not have known Him very well, but I knew that He was real, and that He was kind. Later in my childhood I was taken to a Sunday school where I was taught to memorize scripture, and to pray. That year, I only memorized psalm 23, but I'd also been taught the Lord's prayer, so I would say these to myself when I went to bed at night. It was something that kept me believing that God was real, and He was good.

So when I became severely depressed at age 19 or 20, I still had a hope in me that no matter what I was at that point, no matter how I'd lived my life, no matter how bleak things looked... this depression wasn't helping me or my newborn son, and if I talked to God, He would take it away.

There's a scripture that says when we come to God, we must believe that He IS, and that He is a REWARDER of those who diligently seek Him. That is what I unwittingly did. I believed that He existed, and that I could ask Him for things.

Now my prayer was not answered immediately. Why not? Well in retrospect, I see now that I didn't know God very well then and that He may have been trying hard to answer me, but I didn't notice. I hadn't been spending time with Him- I'd been spending a lot of time in sin. I knew sin very well, but was unfamiliar with the voice of God. So if He'd told me where to go or what to do, I wouldn't have heard. That may not be the situation you are in, but at that time, it was for me. It took God two years of arranging "coincidences" to get me into a church where His Presence was known, and He could get people to pray for me. If I had heard Him, I'm sure He would have told me to go there sooner, for He surely hated to see me and my family suffer so!

But He did answer, and my life was radically transformed. I remember during my prayer counselling, I was asked: Do you believe that God can heal you? And I felt that the answer was obvious: Yes! Of course He could- He was GOD, after all! He could do anything!! So I committed my life to Jesus, making the decision to turn from my sin, and to serve Him for the rest of my life. I accepted Him into my life, and He set to work driving out the demons, habits, and thought processes that had kept me bound. Yay!!

Now that I was free, how did I stay free? Because people eyed me skeptically, and said things like "Once you've been depressed, you'll have it for the rest of your life. It will come back." But I KNEW that wasn't so! Just like if you had an upset stomach full of greasy food that was disagreeing with you strongly and you vomited it- you would know that you were empty of what had been tormenting you. If a body was battling food poisoning or a virus and vomited, that body would have a sense of relief afterward. What was troubling it was gone. It would seem rediculous to you if someone said "that salami is going to come back on you someday." You would know that it wouldn't. It wasn't in you anymore. It's not a very good analogy perhaps, but that's how it seemed to me. I KNEW that I was unchained, and that I wasn't going back. I knew it wasn't His plan for me. He had healed me after all! There is something like that in all of us, for we are created in the image of God, who NEVER gives up. There is a part of us (like Him) that knows we were created to be free- that freedom is our God given right. Jesus Christ went to the cross for that freedom. We need never be bound again.

But practically, there were definately several things I did which made the difference between giving up and moving on.

Because there were days when that "depression voice" would hang around me fishing for a bite, and saying what it had always said before: "you are too tired. you just can't take it anymore. this is too much for you. you feel sick." Etc, etc. And I didn't know much of what to do about that, except that Lydia had told me to use the name of Jesus. So I would answer those thoughts: "I reject that thought, in Jesus' name!" Sometimes I did that over and over, many times a day, but it worked. The name of Jesus was effective.

But do you notice here that I was able to recognize that those thoughts were NOT MY thoughts? This is a KEY REVELATION! NOT EVERY THOUGHT THAT COMES INTO YOUR HEAD IS YOUR OWN! It is so neccessary to recoginize this, so that when those thoughts come, you can see that you don't have to take them! It's like email spam: Not all of those emails are yours! Don't open them!! Even now, I have to be diligent about recognizing that. Just because it entered my mind does not mean it is my thought, and I don't have to embrace it; identify with it; or accept it (or believe it). My mind is His, and I can choose a different thought.

Thoughts are habits- they run on tracks like trains. It may be hard to choose a new thought because it's hard to skip tracks, but it can be done. And if you do it enough times, it will form a habit, and even a BRAND NEW TRACK!

One of the absolute most important things I did that kept me free (and has the power to MAKE a person free) is to READ MY BIBLE. I read it nearly every day. Sometime I didn't on Sunday because I was going to church, and sometimes I just gave myself a break so that it wouldn't become something I resented- but once I realized its value in my life, I wanted to read it every morning, and I didn't want to miss.

A daily bible reading might seem out of reach to you if you've been depressed for a long time. I know that my mind wasn't capable of much focus or "intelligent" activity when I was first healed (for one thing, I'd spent most of those years in a zone in front of the TV) for it seemed that the medication had affected me somewhat, and also the hormones in my brain had been unbalanced. So when I started reading my bible, I read it in a very simple translation that made sense to me. As I kept reading, I switched to the NIV bible, which most people know is not a complicated translation at all, but that's where I was at at the time- it was hard for me to understand. There were times I read it without understanding much of it at all, BUT, as I continued in it, the bible began to change my brain! What I was incapable of at the beginning, I began to find easier and easier, until several years later I found myself buying a King James version of the bible, because I enjoyed the challenge of reading something new.

Are you able to read your bible for 15 minutes a day? If you do, and you put into practice what you read there, it will change your life. God's dominion and control is like a tiny insignificant looking seed, that seems of no real power. But when you plant it, and keep on planting it, there is nothing that can overtake it or prevent it from producing for you! It is like a tiny bit of sourdough, that looks just too small, but when you stick it at the bottom of a bowl of flour and water, it will cause the whole thing to bubble up, and even bubble over! How much creed will you give it? How important will you make it? Because the more importance you give it, the more it will accomplish in your life. If you measure it big- it will measure out big for you. There is a scripture that says we have not yet resisted temptation to the shedding of our blood, and that is important to think about in regards to bible reading. Fifteen minutes a day will not kill you. Your flesh will say that it will, the devil will say that it will, and yes, it may be hard to accomplish. BUT there is NOTHING else in life you can ever do that will be more worthwhile. You have got to find a way to read your bible, even if all you do is listen to it online while you lay on the sofa. GET THE WORD INTO YOU SOMEHOW!

Boy, there are many more things I'd like to say, but I'll have to let them keep bouncing around in my mind until the next blog post.

Hope I'm back soon,