Tag Archive | depression

Oppression or Depression?

stronghold pic ps. 9:9

I was sharing with a friend not long ago, about the heaviness of spirit that seemed to plague most of my waking hours. It was a struggle for me to make sense of what was feeling like depression.

Why?

   In Depression – My Story, Nov 17, 2017, I define depression and how  I had been instructed to defeat it. I learned depression (a type of bondage) could not take root as long as I planted my thoughts securely in God’s Word.

   Yet, here I was again, feeling defeated and discouraged. In spite of the fact that I knew how to fight the negative thoughts and was aware of the resources from God’s Word to extinguish them. 

   My friend listened to me, then offered this insight. What I thought was depression, was more likely oppression. Satan was exercising his power to plant thoughts (fiery darts) that would weigh heavy on my mind. Thoughts that would produce emotions of discouragement and defeat. 

   The fact that I did not get caught up in a downward spiral was a clear indication for me that this was oppression, not depression. With depression, I was inclined to believe the negative thinking and the downward spiral was set in motion. 

   But with oppression, I did not believe the fiery darts to be true. I kept fighting back with God’s Truth thoughts. Though I became emotionally drained by the struggle, God’s Word kept me afloat. My focus during those days was the following:

 1 John 4:4, Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

   Once the confusion was eliminated, I could see clearly what I was fighting against. I knew who was behind the oppression and I knew how to counter attack. I discovered anew, that the power of God’s Word always prevails in setting free the oppressed. (based on Luke 4:18)

 

 

The Secret of Survival

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   My summer has been jam packed with mountain top experiences. As much as I could, I lived in the celebration of every moment. Yet, I knew that come the end of August, it would all come to a screeching halt. Then would come the valley.

   I think one of the most troubling aspects of my valleys is that I am tempted to forget what I know to be true about God.  The reason being is that Satan never lets up with those fiery darts. With all those fiery darts swirling around in my thoughts, it’s hard to sort through all that mess and find those Truth Thoughts.

   And I know that if my low times become severe enough, depression can set in. Depression is a wicked thing! One of the most deadly tactics used by Satan in depression is to drain our thoughts of hope. He will shoot one lie after another, clothe them with common sense truths, and if we fall for it… Yep, depression!

Because of that common sense truth, we will entertain the thought, and the poison of the lie will permeate our thinking. It is the lie that will motivate our actions, which is contrary to God’s will. p. 38, 3rd Edition FD

  In a previous blog, I wrote about my summer of extreme highs and lows. I had a future to face that looked bleak to me. I couldn’t figure out how I was going to face it or handle it. Then one night as I was reading my bible, I came upon the following verse: Proverbs 23:18

   The key words for me in this verse were ‘future’ and ‘hope’. As I meditated upon this Truth thought, the darkness began to recede. I’m still in the valley, but I’m not in despair. It’s still hard, but it’s not hopeless. 

   Then just yesterday, a friend shared another verse with me: Jeremiah 31:25

   I have been languishing, for sure. And I certainly am weary. Yet, I know that it is vital for me to ‘receive’ those Truth’s. That’s the secret of my survival.

  Therefore, I take one day at a time (that’s scriptural) and proceed forward. Perhaps with caution, but nevertheless forward. 

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Tempted to despair in this New Year?

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Tonight 2016 comes to a close and tomorrow 2017 starts out anew and fresh!

Yet, in spite of the hope of fresh beginnings, despair has the potential to overshadow such optimism.

How does this happen?

It’s quite simple, actually! But, oh, so powerful!

It’s a matter of focus.

   Despair consistently and predictably acts like a magnet, attracting thoughts of self. The force of this pull is powerful. One self-focused thought after another bombards our thinking, and the downward progression begins.

When our thoughts reflect less of what we are learning during our study of the Bible or what God’s Spirit communicates to us in prayer then a downward progression is set in place, p 46 3rd Edition FD 

   In the past, I fell victim to this force time after time! With each thought, I became more confused as to what Truth was. I felt justified in my thinking and condemned all at the same time. Depression was the outcome!

   Recently, that all too familiar pull of despair, began to invade my thoughts. And in spite of the hope of fresh beginnings of the New Year, I felt myself tempted to surrender to its force.

   But I was reminded of those dark days prior to learning about how to counter the attack of fiery dart thinking. I now was living in freedom from that bondage and I was determined not to go there again!

   I knew what my plan of action must be. I knew that God’s Word contained the answers to resist the temptation to despair. Therefore, I began making a conscious effort to replace the lies that attempted to rule my thinking with the Truth thoughts below.

To fight the lies that God doesn’t hear me.

Psalm 34:17-18

To fight the lie that there is no hope.

2 Corinthians 4:8

To fight the lie that my weakness is too great.

2 Corinthians 12:9

To fight the lie that I am all to blame.

Romans 8:1

To fight the lie that God will not act on my behalf.

Psalm 37:3-6

   Once again Satan came at me with lies that in the past had prevailed over me. But not this time. Not since God taught me the Truths that would displace those lies!

 

How to spoil the enemy’s plan!

   Recently, I encountered a major fiery dart attack. It was the type of attack that previously had defeated me (before I became schooled in how to successfully fight fiery darts). The attack tempted me to become angry. I was tempted with feelings of worthlessness  and feeling another did not think well of me. In the past this kind of attack sent me spiraling into depression.

BUT THIS TIME

I refused to open the door and allow the poison to infiltrate my thinking.

“Above all, we must be especially alert against the beginnings of temptation, for the enemy is more easily conquered if he is refused admittance to the mind and is met beyond the threshold when he knocks.” p. 46 FD

I brought the 3 R’s of fighting fiery darts into play.

First, I recognized the negative thoughts for the fiery darts they were.

Second, I resisted the fiery darts

Third, I replaced the fiery darts with God’s Truth thoughts:

Thoughts of anger were replaced with:

1 Corinthians 13:5, Love. . .is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrong.

Thoughts of worthlessness were replaced with:

Philippines 3:9, . . . not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. (My worth is defined by my relationship with Christ. No earthly relationship was designed to give me that)

Thoughts that another did not think well of me:

Zephaniah 3:17 – The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. (Knowing God loves me and rejoices over me, trumps and destroys any negative thought that another does not think well of me. And, please understand that the thought that another did not think well of me was a fiery dart itself. One that in the past nailed me, but not now!)

   God’s Truth spoiled the plans Satan’s fiery darts had for me. God protected me from being victimized by the lies the fiery darts would have poisoned my mind with by opening my understanding to the enemies tactics and how I could fight successfully against them. 

   This can happen for you. My book, Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice, will show you how!

*Click on the image of my book in the sidebar to order

Who’s Messing With Your Self Worth?

The Cognitive Triangle

The Cognitive Triangle

First we entertain a thought. That thought will cause certain related feelings. Thus, behavior is based on our thoughts and feelings.  p.16, FD

     Several years ago and over a two year period of time, I suffered from a serious bout of depression. I remember battling suicidal thoughts and deep sadness to the point that my prayers became a desperate cry for God to hold on to me because I had no strength left to hold on to Him.  I survived that dark time in my life but that’s about it. It wouldn’t be until several years later as God initiated my training in fiery dart recognition that I would be able to recognize the bondage that defined my existence during those two years. 

Here’s what happened to me and I see this same overused but deadly effective tactic of Satan’s still being used today!

     Refer to the diagram above. In my case I was a people pleaser. If I felt significant people in my life approved of me, then life was good and I felt good about myself. On the other hand, if there was strife or conflict in these relationships life was not good and I became convinced I had little reason to feel good about myself. Self approval you see was strongly connected to what others thought of me. (Or what I thought they thought!)

Do you see the pattern?

     First this negative thought (fiery dart remember) would plant itself into my head producing some very negative feelings or emotions. Never mind that these negative thoughts had no basis in Truth! The poison of these fiery darts seeped into my thinking producing destructive attitudes and behavior. 

     The purpose of these fiery darts, you see, was to diminish any sense of self worth that I might still possess. I was an easy target because it was way too important for me to have the good opinion of those significant people in my life. As relationships with these people deteriorated, so did my self worth.

I wonder if I have touched a nerve? 

     Are you sad seemingly all the time? Are you convinced you don’t measure up and that significant persons in your life don’t approve of you? Does the dangerous thought that your family would be better off without you ever sneak into your mind? Please hold on, for I have glorious news for you in my next post. In the meantime hold on to the following verse,

For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. To give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Breaking Free!

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I read of so much pain, depression, struggles with peace of mind, unhappiness, misplaced priorities, lack of purpose, following after the world, and the list goes on. But it all comes down to being in bondage to negative thinking.

There is a way to break free, my dear readers. The key to unlock this bondage is found through prayer and in God’s Word. My book, Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice, reveals the plan.

This is My Reality–But. . .

Are you depressed over your present reality?

Do you find yourself wishing things in your life were different?

Are you a negative thinker, more often than not?

Well, my dear readers, don’t look now but you have become a victim of fiery dart thinking.  A fiery dart thinker has some curious characteristics. Here’s only a few:

Sees a cup half empty; instead of half full!

Focuses on self–primarily!

Knows little of contentment!

Is quick to find fault with others!

Lacks appreciation and gratefulness!

Has a difficult time accepting their reality; gets upset easily!

Nobody would want it said of them that they possess any of the characteristics from the list above.  And the good news is that while we may have such a negative bent, it can be overcome and brought under control.  But there are some things of which we need to become aware.

I have found in my own life, that there came a time when I needed to stop wishing things were different and to pray for grace to accept things they way they were.  When my problem was defined and I came to realize the power of negative thinking, only then did the light begin to shine:

As God continues to shed light on the darkness that plagued my walk with Him, I am developing an understanding of what has gone so wrong for so many. For it has become glaringly clear that negative thinking,. . . was at the core of my problematic walk with God…(FD p2-3)

While this game changing revelation didn’t occur until recent years (Oh how I wish it had but my reality is that it didn’t. I accept that and focus on all those powerful lessons I learned and am learning that I have to share with you), I have discovered some pretty exciting things.  Here’s a sampling:

I can be at peace in the midst of my storms!  (now I am not saying this occurs immediately but I get there a lot sooner than I use to!)

I see cups that are half full more often than not!

I’ve got more fight in me to resist those fiery darts so the negative thinking does not rule me as it once did!

I get attacked but I don’t fall down! (Hey, that sounds familiar doesn’t it!)  Well, it ought too, read this:

 We are experiencing all kinds of trouble, but we aren’t crushed. We are confused, but we aren’t depressed. We are harassed, but we aren’t abandoned. We are knocked down, but we aren’t knocked out.2 Corinthians 4:8-9 English Bible (CEB)

And may I add, that after an attack, I don’t dive into depression and turn on myself like I use to.  Those fiery darts just have lost their power to rule me! Yes, they grab me sometimes and depending on the degree of fire in them may shake me, but my training (you know, my lessons on fiery darts. It’s a book now!) empowers me to break free.  Hallelujah!

And you know that sense of contentment that seems to elude us far too often?  Well, let me just say, it doesn’t elude me anything like it use too.  And this verse contains the secret:    

   Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in what whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippines 4:11-13 NIV

And finally, I’m learning to pick and choose what I allow to influence me.  Certainly, not the world. No tv show, actor, or actress, or the negative attitude of others.  Nope, I resist those fiery darts (and like I said, some are tougher than others, but I plant my feet and resist) and turn my gaze upon what’s important to Jesus!

 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 (NIV)

Sometimes, we encounter some pretty unpleasant and difficult realities in this world, but take heart we get to choose how we deal with them, 

I would encourage you to remember that you choose victory or defeat. And know that refusing to choose is a choice to fall and suffer defeat. Victory is yours as Deuteronomy 20:4 reminds us, “For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” (NIV) It is your choice! We know that Satan’s plans are to destroy us, but take heart for God has plans for us as well. Jeremiah 29:11, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”(NIV) FIERY DARTS: SATAN’S WEAPON OF CHOICE, p. 45