Monday, July 20, 2015

5 Ways to Regain Hope When Depression Sets In

If you have lived for any amount of time you’ve more than likely felt and experienced the dark oppressive days caused by disappointment, discouragement, disillusionment, despair, and depression.

I remember a time when I was trying to live and do everything right. If I could just follow the formula I would be alright, or so I thought. During that season everything fell apart. I had to leave my job, sell my house, and relocate to another area only to end up completely and undeniably depressed. In addition to all that was going on my son was born during the most chaotic and unstable time possible. For the first two years of his life he was in and out of the hospital and nearly died a couple of times. Over a three year period our family lost everything. I remember just before my 40th birthday sitting in bankruptcy court. Those were some oppressively dark days.

Maybe you’ve never experienced days or seasons like this and I hope you haven’t. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. If you have, or are going through it now this post is for you. Here are 5 ways that have helped me to overcome disappointment, discouragement, disillusionment, despair, and depression.

• Remember
As a person of faith I can scan my past and see the times I have walked through difficult and discouraging days and seasons that eventually would come to an end. When I start to go back into those seasons or find myself once again in the darkness, I remember that every season has an ending. I remember that I have gotten through to the other side more than once. I remember God’s faithfulness. I remember God’s goodness. I remember God’s promise to never leave me or forsake me. Just taking the time to remember and recount God’s faithfulness during difficult days inspires hope that helps me to see that there is light even in my darkest days. Take time to remember all the times you have overcome difficult days and season in the past. I promise it will cause hope to rise in you and once again you will be able to see the light on the other side. Don’t give up. Keep moving forward.

• Revisit your purpose
What am I here for? Surely there is something more than the struggle. Not that we won’t always have struggles, but we were made for more than just the struggle. As Christ followers, our ultimate purpose in life is the glory of God. No matter where I am or what occupation I’m called to I can experience abundant joy even in the midst of the struggle when I am living according to my purpose. If you don’t know or have forgotten your ultimate purpose it’s time to discover or revisit it. Living on purpose will move you out of the emotional drift and back on course toward your unique destiny.

• Refocus your priorities
When lost in the darkness and there doesn’t seem to be any way out the highest priority becomes get out at all costs. Instead of prioritizing we become reactionary and chunk our reasoning skills to the wind. Rather than asking why this is happening, the better question is what is it that I need to learn from this season? What fruit will this season yield? How could this create stronger character traits in me? What are the most important decisions or steps do I need to take to make the most out of this season? Questions like these will help you to move from frantic panic to proactive prioritizing and rational decision making. Ahhhh, the light is getting brighter. Don’t give up. You are going to make it.

• Realign according to your strengths
I don’t know about you, but when I’m attempting to navigate my way through the dark forest of disappointment, discouragement, disillusionment, despair, and depression I gravitate toward my greatest weaknesses. In my weaknesses I’m tempted to do whatever it takes to eliminate the pain. With the same level of fortitude it takes us to remember, revisit, and refocus we have to realign ourselves with our strengths and continue taking positive steps forward. The process can almost be as painfully slow as the season you are enduring, but if you just keep your head up, focus forward, and consistently operate within your priorities and strengths you will make it.

• Refuel for the Journey
Remembering, Revisiting, Refocusing, and Realigning are necessary factors that will help you to refuel for the journey. Renewed hope is what is needed most to refuel for the journey. So, when you find yourself in the dark and painful seasons of life remember there is always hope.