A Garment Of Praise for the Spirit Of Heaviness

A Garment Of Praise for the Spirit Of Heaviness

Overcoming Depression

Most people have felt sad, blue, or moody from time to time. That’s fairly normal especially when life is difficult
or you have suffered some kind loss. But when this sadness is prolonged for weeks or months and feelings of
hopelessness come in, you may be suffering from depression. There is a broad spectrum of depression from
mild to severe. Depression is defined as severe despondency and dejection typically felt over a period of time
and accompanied by feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy. Depression can be caused for many reasons,
but they can be boiled down to three major reasons and sometimes these areas overlap. The three reasons are
Physical ailment, Emotional turmoil, and Spiritual attacks.

When dealing with depression, there can be real physical issues that may need to be resolved. After resolving
these physical issues, many or all of your depression symptoms may subside. I would recommend each person
dealing with depression make a doctor’s appointment and have blood work done and discuss the results and
treatments with your doctor. Thyroid issues, diabetes- high or low blood sugar, hormonal imbalances,
Menopause- low estrogen for women and low testosterone for men, vitamin deficiencies, and other physical
issues not diagnosed can mimic depression and even cause depression.

I would strongly caution you in the use of depression medication such as anti-depressants, mood stabilizers and
such like medications because they could possibly mask an underlying physical health issue. Many times the side
effects of these medications are severe and can actually make you feel worse physically and emotionally than
better. If you are currently taking medication for depression, DO NOT stop taking it immediately. Many of these
types of medications must be tapered off over time. If you desire to get off your depression medication, please
advise your doctor and he will give you a safe plan for terminating medication. If medication is being used for
depression, remember it does not have to be for a lifetime. It can be used (cautiously) when necessary to get
you “over the hump” so to speak for a set period of time, and then terminated.

Many times depression medication is only a Band-Aid for a much deeper emotional problem that needs to be
dealt with. Many people deal with depression due to emotional issues in their life, such as divorce, separation,
abuse, financial hardships, rebellious children, loss of a loved one, or a great disappointment. Self-esteem issues
concerning ourselves such as our weight and appearance can also affect our emotions adversely. The list could
go on and on and on…. Proverbs 12:25 says, “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word
makes it glad.” When we are depressed due to our circumstances, we need to keep in mind this prayer written
by Reinhold Niebuhr:

God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things, which should be changed,
And the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.
Living one day at a time, Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right, If I surrender to Your will,

So that I may be reasonably happy in this life, And supremely happy
with You forever in the next. AMEN

When circumstances are causing depression and when difficult times come, we need to ask ourselves these
three questions:

  • What is making me feel sad, depressed, or anxious? Try to pinpoint the cause or a time frame of when
    the depression started.
  • What can I do about it in the natural? How can I change what is happening?
  • If it is not within my power to change the circumstances, what can I do?
    • Ask God to change YOU concerning the circumstance.
    • Learn to accept what you cannot change.
    • Pray God’s will into the circumstances

The Bible says in Philippians 4: 6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with
thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;  and the peace of God, which surpasses all
understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” When difficult circumstances arise, take
them to God in prayer. Do what you can do about it in the natural, and then just leave it in God’s hands.

Depression is one of the devil’s greatest tools he uses against a person to shut them down, take them out of the
“game,” and destroy their self-confidence rendering them useless and helpless. He wants to separate you,
seclude you, and then pick you off. The devil does not want you to succeed, especially in your relationship with
God, your family, your job, and your ministry.

In the Bible depression is called a spirit of heaviness. The spirit of heaviness is spoken of in Isaiah 61:1-3,
“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He
has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison
to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, And the day of vengeance of our God; To
comfort all who mourn, To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for
mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The
planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”

There is a deep spiritual truth here in this scripture that must be brought to light. God has given us the garment
of praise for the spirit of heaviness. In other words, our praise to God literally displaces the darkness of
depression. It will put the enemy on the run.

No one is immune to the assignments and attacks of the devil. We all get attacked from time to time. We just
need to fight against it and resist the devil and his wiles. It says in 1 Peter 5:8 -9 to, “Be sober, be vigilant;
because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him,
steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” It
also says in James 4:7 that we should “submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Submitting to
God means to give your will over to Him and to be obedient to His word and His will in your life. Prayer and
reading the Bible and going to church can help us be submitted to God. When we submit to God and resist the
devil he will flee from you!

There are certain and definite steps that we can take to combat depression on all three levels- physically,
emotionally, and spiritually.

On the physical front there are several things we can do to help us overcome depression. For one, take vitamins
to resolve any vitamin deficiencies you may have. There are also things that we can do to stimulate the “happy
chemicals” in our brain that sometimes get out of whack. Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin, and Endorphin are
the “happy chemicals” in your brain that when released give you feelings of joy, happiness, satisfaction, and
contentment. Here are some natural, healthy ways to release these chemicals in the brain without medications:

Dopamine: Working toward a goal with positive expectations stimulates dopamine in the brain. Setting small
attainable goals for each day are key to releasing dopamine in the brain. When you complete a task, that feeling
of self-confidence, accomplishment, and satisfaction will literally cause a release of Dopamine in the brain.

Serotonin: This chemical is released when you feel “important.” You can’t control the world and the importance
it gives you. But you can train your mind to feel confident in your own importance regardless of what others do.
Knowing who we are in Christ gives us that “importance” that we all need to feel in our lives. Know that you are
very special to God. You are very important to Him. God wants to have a very close relationship with you.

Oxytocin: Oxytocin gives you a good feeling when you’re with someone you trust. You can stimulate oxytocin by
enjoying the trust you have instead of focusing on the trust you don’t have. You can build new trust bonds in
small steps over time. Trust builds each time expectations are met. Our greatest “trust relationship” is with
Christ. Also when you keep your promise to yourself; trust is developed even with yourself, which will in turn
release Oxytocin in the brain.

Endorphin: Laughing and crying stimulate small bursts of endorphin. When you spend time with a good friend or
your spouse and laugh and have a good time, endorphin is released. The Bible says in Proverbs 17:22 that “A
merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” And when you cry as you worship God or pray, endorphin is released.
Exercise can stimulate endorphin as well. A daily walk is one of the most beneficial things you can do to release
your “happy chemicals.”

There are also many things we can do to help overcome depression caused by emotional turmoil in your life.
First of all, we need to release all unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment and hatred that we have against anyone
and against yourself. Forgiveness does not mean you condone what the person did, but it releases you from
their bondage. Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. The unforgiveness
will affect your life. It says in Hebrews 12:15 that “looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God;
lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.” Unforgiveness will
defile your life and your relationship with God. If you do not forgive others neither will your Heavenly Father
forgive you.

The second thing we can do to relieve emotional turmoil causing depression is to reduce stressors in our lives.
Remember the Serenity Prayer? “God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things, which should be changed, And the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the
other.” You can start by prioritizing. Making sure you don’t have too much on your plate. Don’t be afraid to say
“no” when it’s too much for you to handle. And definitely stop procrastinating. Always putting things off only
adds to your stress level. Give yourself a certain timeline; for example, “I will finish my paperwork by Thursday.”

Another great way to reduce stressors in your life is to de-clutter the house or the office. It’s time to get
organized! Being organized will help you to focus and complete tasks more quickly. Make a list if you need to
and check each task off as you complete it. My dad used to always say, “On the paper, out of the mind,”
meaning it’s easier to stop worrying or fretting over something that needs to be done when you write it down.
Once you write it down you won’t forget.

To heal emotionally, it is also very important to resolve issues with others. If at all possible, try to resolve conflict
with others right away. If you keep putting it off, it can fester and get worse over time. Be quick to repent to
God and to others when you are in the wrong. I’m sorry, please forgive me goes a long ways in healing a
relationship.

For those of you who are suffering with depression, I would strongly recommend that you make a concerted
effort to structure your day. When you are feeling depressed, it is easy to fall into a routine of sleeping late, not
taking a shower, or even getting dressed for the day. By structuring your day, it will help you to overcome
depression. Start by setting your alarm for the same time every morning, take a shower, men shave your face,
ladies fix your hair and make-up, get dressed in nice close, not slouchy, and eat breakfast. If you work outside
the home, be on time to work. If you are a stay-at- home mom, try to get out of the house at least once a day
and go somewhere. A change in environment can really lift your mood. Lying around the house all day is only
going to make you feel worse. It might take great effort on your part to break out of the funk you’re in, but it
will be so worth it to feel great again and be productive!

Remember depression can be caused by an attack of the enemy of our soul, Satan. He would like nothing better
than to see us put out of commission through depression. We can close the door to the enemy by putting a
watch over your mouth and disciplining our thought life. The enemy attacks in the battlefield of the mind.
Depression starts with our thought patterns and belief systems. When the enemy feeds us lies and we believe
them, he is able to build a stronghold in the mind. The stronghold becomes a fortress where unhealthy thoughts
are defended within the mind.

The first thing we have to do is fall out of agreement with the devil. We have to stop believing his lies! Lies such
as, “I’m no good,” “Nobody likes me,” “I might as well kill myself because I have no reason to live.” Notice these
thoughts are in first person? The devil is subtle like that. He injects thoughts in first person so we think they are
coming from our own mind. When we have these thoughts, we need to cast them down and bring them into
alignment with God’s word. The Bible says that “though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the
flesh.    For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting
down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought
into captivity to the obedience of Christ, (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

We must not accept the negative thoughts that the enemy feeds us, but recognize them and cast them out of
our mind by refusing to believe them or even speak them aloud. Then we need to replace the negative thoughts
with God’s positive affirmations from His word. God’s word speaks the truth into our lives and dismantles the
stronghold of the enemy and every lie will come down brick by brick. But it takes discipline to cast every thought
of the enemy down. You may have to do it 50 times a day to get victory, but it will be so worth it. This is an
example of how to cast the thought down. You would say this out loud:

“In the name of Jesus, I take every thought captive that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and I bring my
thoughts into the obedience of Jesus Christ. I fall out of agreement with the devil. I bind every lying spirit now in
the name of Jesus. I renounce and rebuke every thought that does not line up with the Word of God and I cast in
down now in Jesus’ name.”

Then you would replace that negative thought with a scripture from God’s word that counteracts that thought.
For example, if you cast down the thought of “I wish I were dead,” then you would replace it with “[God] redeems my life from destruction, [and] crowns me with lovingkindness and tender mercies.” That verse is
found in Psalm 103:4.

As you allow the word of God to transform you from the inside out, you will be able to overcome depression.
So in conclusion, if you are suffering from depression, you will need to attack it on all three levels, Physically,
Emotionally, and Spiritually because it comes from all three sources. We can live a depression-free, victorious
life through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Many blessings,
Pastor Joanna

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