Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Bearing the Burden of Bottomless Brokenness

HEALING is the role of God under the premise of our brokenness. But just how far does God’s healing reach? Just as far as our brokenness goes! And where our brokenness appears as a bottomless abyss, we can be sure that God’s Presence will fill every fissure of that cavernous expanse.
But how can we know that?
Well, first of all, we can know that our brokenness can feel truly bottomless — like the bottom fell out of the box, and the contents of our emotions are strewn haphazardly, exposed for all to see on the floor.
Times we ran shrieking (within) from the building, when we could no longer contain such visceral panic, were times we knew our world was entirely without foundation.
Times like these we had to manufacture some safety for ourselves. God’s wisdom provided. Times like these, when circumstances swarm, hemming us in and around, when feelings flood our bodies and minds, we have but one viable and safe escape: the safety of God’s containment.
The Safety of God’s Containment Within a Structure of Care
There is care out there and there is the care of God; the Lord’s safe containment of the struggles endemic. Let’s get that straight.
So often we feel — no, we know — we’re alone, only to completely misread the care that’s available to us. Isolation is a cruel joke to a person plummeting from one place of relative insecurity to another.
The more honest we are the more vulnerable we feel. But, in a paradoxical twist, we cannot know who we are unless we’re honest. So, to honesty we add care. We protect ourselves from being vulnerable until we’re in a safe place to be held and contained.
Bearing the burden of a bottomless sense of brokenness is about knowing how to access the care we need; to find the person who will listen to us and not give up on us.
Care is something to be shared, and if we’ve been through anything a broken person is going through, we’re motivated to reach out in order to reach into their lives.
Compassion is the kindness of care to assist a person bearing the burden of their brokenness. It costs nothing to listen, to hear, to seek to understand, to be silent. Much therapy is done in simply being present with someone in pain.
Bearing the burden of a bottomless brokenness is best done in the company of the compassionate.
Brokenness is a burden not to be hoarded, but shared, where safety of heart is a sacred space.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Meeting Our Deepest Emotional Need

THIS article will be about exploring and meeting our deepest emotional need — satisfying our soul’s hunger for intimacy. Such a hunger we ordinarily ‘satisfy’ by a substance or another person or a pastime or a thing. But the genuine satisfaction our souls crave can never come from without. It must always come from within.
Acceptance is an inside job. Rejection is also an inside job. The difference is in the self-esteem a person chooses to employ. This is easier for the one whose identity is in Christ.
The feeling of freedom, and of being in control, is a wonderful feeling, but it may be all too rare. The fact is we are free. We must just insist on experiencing it.
Feeling valued is feeling worthy and the feeling of worthiness is of such inherent value. This is the capacity to experience appreciation. The full soul can appreciate as well as feel appreciated.
Trusting others is easy for those who have self-respect. Their sense of dignity sees the other’s need. Dignity is the language of the soul.
Everyone has the need of feeling so accomplished at something they’re admired. Admiring someone can be the greatest single gift of thoughtfulness to bestow.
To care is to confirm a sense of safety to the vulnerable. To be pastoral is to care. Pastoral care, though a tautology, is the greater gift of encouragement sensing even the unknowable need.
Those who seek to listen to learn to understand learn more and know more truth. Those who don’t make time to listen are eternally vexed by a plain lack of understanding. The patience it takes to listen is the wisdom of a more direct path.
Every soul has the need of love, to give out love, and to hope. Souls starve for want of these three things. It is easiest to give our love out. That we can control. What we give out we can hope somewhat to receive. And hope is gorgeous in its time.
So many want a safe, ordered life that’s productive, useful and meaningful. It’s every parent’s wish and every child’s dream.
The soul craves satisfaction. It comes only from within. Yet we’re geared to look externally. Only the Spirit can satisfy the soul.
We can hardly hope to be forgiven if we’re struggling to forgive. But God knows the struggle we’re having. God loves a wrestler. Accept that forgiveness is a process that requires diligence every way, and the Spirit will lead you in that way.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

When Grief Turns to Ashes and Dust

JOURNEYS punctuated with action, interrupted by cautious waves of numbness and courses of seasons of disregard; life, in all its fullness, is incomprehensible. Grief spends us up faster than the humdrum life, but it also advances us in the passage of growth and learning. We would hardly expect that life might throw us this curve ball, but it has. We pick up the pieces the best we can.
Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
Resonating words, and, as they punch their way into our psyche, we recoil.
Sometimes our words fail the resemblances of depth that the gravities of life deserve. And much of the time in many situations in life nothing can be done. Acceptance is the best place we can arrive at.
Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust admonishes us to a reality we can only but accept; but accept with grace and sadness — to allow the fullness of grief to attend itself to us as pain does.
As precious persons make their way from our grasp and what was is now no more, a profoundly confounding presence overtakes us. Yet acceptance helps. Knowing earth has passed and ashes and dust have gone full circle in the context of one life, we do wonder for eternity. We can no longer touch them as we ever would like. And we worry for the vagaries of our memory. We don’t ever want to forget them or even any little though significant detail of them.
When grief turns to ashes and dust we have travelled the whole vexing circle from loss to grief to acceptance. Our grief is at last found itself in ashes and dust; a life it had itself is now, for the worst part, gone.
Grief ought never to extinguish our life.
The ashes and dust of loss is the momentousness of grief.
The ashes and dust of grief is acceptance of what cannot be changed.
When grief turns to ashes and dust, as it must ultimately must, we’ve had God embellish our journey with depths of being we couldn’t manufacture otherwise.
There is something cogently real about a funeral, and about the grief that surpasses all reconciliation. If only, as human beings, we would spend more time in this serious space. We would benefit no end from learning what otherwise passes us by.
Grief prepares us for the weight of glory in eternity.
In eternity there will be no more denial or lies or falsehood or turning away. In eternity everything will be touched by truth and light.

© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Wading Out of the Ugliness of Depression

TIMES of incapacity, of staring ahead in a daze, feeling nothing, and nothing certainly good, there we are: in a depression. It stands to reason that we experience this nothing-of-a-life season; nothing ventured, nothing gained. Then there’s the moment of acute sadness — the waves of reality’s truth break clean over us and our hearts are tossed furiously in a tumult beyond reconcile. Wonder upon wonder, this shiftless state creates an imbecile out of royalty; pride is blamed, but can it really be pride when there’s no sense of self or worth in sight?
What hope is there?
One thing I can say about depression is it seems such a distant memory when I’m not depressed, yet when I am it feels I’ll never live happily again. What an irony mental illness is. It’s so easy to be blasé about it, until you’re in the quicksand endeavouring frantically to wade out of it. And I only have my own experience of it; it may well be much worse for others. I pity anyone who wrestles with this blackness of bleakness.
Yet, is there hope?
There has to be hope.
And there is. Calling out to God, we’re prepared to try anything to shift this. God doesn’t answer, but he sends a messenger. It’s a thing of nature. Something mundane, yet beautiful. Even bugs were made for a purpose. Or, it’s a prompting. A little nudge. We resolve to do something on the spur of the moment. We search. Tempt fate. Dive in and plumb the depths of something safely unknown.
Depression is meant to teach us. It has a purpose. It gives us incredible, albeit unwanted, perspective; a suffering both possible yet confoundingly tougher than we’d otherwise imagine. It connects us with our ailing humanity — within us and within community. It opens our eyes to the plight of much of the world. There are millions who suffer. And is it perhaps that we’re being equipped, somehow, to help?
Wading out of the temerity of depression is done one day, sometimes a moment, at a time.
Against the flow of the current that threatens to sweep us further out to sea, we hold out faith that a rip will come and take us into shore, so we can rest and recover.
There is the help of a comrade. A pithy word, too. The grace in a sunrise. The serenity in a sunset. The holiness in a baby sleeping. The waft of a spring breeze. The fall of autumn leaves. Bread baking. The creativity in an idea. The taste of lemonade. The simplicity in freedom. An image cast in the sand. The immense vastness of life. The choice that is joy.
Strive to smile even in darkness. And keep searching for joy and it will come.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

10 Signs of the Healing of Woundedness In the Wounded Healer

Woundedness healed in a soul is:
1.     The seal of the Spirit’s redemptive work. Restoration is the Spirit’s seal of efficacy on a living soul desiring life through surrender before the Lord Jesus.
2.     Evidence of a restorative miracle only God could do. No other power is able to wring such a thing as to transform a vessel for sustained good through service.
3.     The bringing of the Incarnation alive in them. The way to meet Jesus is by the way Jesus is known; through the mode of suffering and of peace, even in that suffering. Only a God who suffers with us without suffering can help us see how our suffering with others can help them.
4.     A qualification for ministry. Few ministers can prove effective without embodying the Incarnation — having a taste of his suffering, and God’s delivery.
5.     Reason for all the saints to rejoice. Although some will inevitably be envious (for better or for worse), it no less abides on a believer’s heart, the power of God to restore a vessel to the grace of antiquity. It ought always to be celebrated with praise.
6.     A promise of the grace resident through that vessel. In the same Incarnational tradition, grace is known in the touch of the wounded healer’s soul as they touch another’s.
7.     The embodiment of a promissory note for the procurement of compassion. They are able to ‘make good’ on the obligation of compassion, unless, of course, compassion fatigue sets in. Then rest is the only solution. (Sabbath is crucial in guarding against and warding off compassion fatigue.)
8.     Merely the sign, also, of a need to constantly press-in on the Spirit for ongoing healing; for fresh hurts. Living in the world of relationships will bring hurts; hurts that must be healed. The wounded healer is not beyond being hurt. The benefit the wounded healer has is the faithfulness of God in having witnessed the effect of healing in their mortal being. They ever believe in God’s healing power.
9.     Evidence of a childlike faith in relational dynamics: with such a committed approach to loving with the truth, the wounded healer is threatened by nobody and can threaten no one. They are as a child in ways of being within their relationships. They seek for the best.
10. Sadly, a target of the enemy. A thing we need to be continually aware of in those who have been gifted the healing of their woundedness is their soul’s conspicuousness within the spiritual realms — both good and evil. The wounded healer’s spiritual health is vulnerable the same as any other’s.
God restores the wounded so they may show others healing in Jesus’ name.
God restores the wounded for glory’s sake.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A Prayer For a Miracle Was Found In Thankfulness

PRAYER is powerful as any ardent Christian knows. A miracle-believing Christian (is there any other kind?) prayed for me that I’d receive a miracle that he prayed I’d receive — by the end of that day… I got it about ten minutes before that day’s end! And I wasn’t even expecting it. Only as I looked back, in the moment, could I see God’s gracious provision! God is very good; better than we could even imagine.
It came in the form of an innocent-enough conversation. When one considers the reality of our life of comparison with others we often compare what we don’t have. I had the opportunity to glimpse the weight of blessing that I do have, and God made an impression on me in the instant. The fact is I have people I know and love all around me. This other person has not one soul of kin anywhere within several thousand miles. God had me committing to pray for this person, who, in my view, is so courageous.
Who is the thankful one?
They’re the one who’s free,
Found often on bended knee,
Thanking the holy Son.
So there I was, in conversation with a person who had comparatively nothing, family-wise, and my life was so rich with familial blessing. Was this person any less concerned about worries for family members? I think they must have been more concerned, at least from my perspective looking in from the viewpoint of my life into theirs. Was there loneliness on their part? A loneliness that I’d rarely been exposed to. Did they have hopes for reconciling their loneliness? Of course, but those hopes can seem awful faint at times. And the greatest hopes, though faintest, as beacons of faith, may still never come to pass. Courage.
The fact is I don’t often enough count my blessings — and I don’t mean actually count them numerically. I mean, to be mindful of those things we all have the propensity for discounting as ‘normal’ to life. They only appear normal because we have become used to them.
Thankfulness is grace,
Sight magnified of blessing,
Gratitude for the confessing,
Found seeking the Son’s face.
Thankfulness is grace. It’s the portion of favour seen in the everyday throes of life taken for granted. When sight is magnified to actually see with true sight — God-sight — we see what we may have often missed. Then it’s gratitude we ought to confess, drawing close to the Saviour’s face.
Thankfulness causes gratitude to overflow and everyday blessings to be known.
The happy, contented life of joy is all about the sweeping vistas of perspective. Put into correct view, life is good. Such is God.
Sit content in gratitude and know thankfulness. That’s spirituality at its finest.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

How Your Pain Qualifies You As A Wounded Healer

SURVIVAL is the grand initiative of one who has been spurned by life, but not the Lord. Indeed, we ought to know God never lets us go. Jesus lives to intercede for us (Hebrews 7:25). But we who hope to make a difference for the Kingdom must first survive the pain we have been called to endure.
We must survive before we can thrive. And thriving in this respect is about purpose.
The purpose God primes us for is to be a wounded healer: one whose pain has forged within them an extraordinary compassion, but not only that; within them now is the purpose to reacquaint with pain, for there is now no fear, just the knowledge that where there’s pain there’s hope for life beyond it.
Who is the wounded healer?
They’re a trainer in being a feeler.
They’re an encourager to be realer.
In hope they’re the dealer.
The wounded healer opens the safe space of hospitality (Greek: philoxenia) which is more than simply authentic friendship, but that is its essence. Like the counselling relationship, the wounded healer has a special relationship with those they help. It is an entirely serving relationship. The person in pain dictates the space. And the space can just as well be provided to a stranger than an existing friend.
Pain that has been felt — and pain that has been endured — importantly in combination — qualifies us for this special role. We haven’t been scarred by the pain, but we have been softened and matured by it. We have a capacity for others in pain to move into our orbit, so we might be able to absorb some of the heat of their pain in order that they might enjoy warmth and comfort.
The wounded healer is an unsung hero type and they are occasionally susceptible to discouragement. But this is only because they may have a crisis of purpose if they’re underutilised.
Enduring pain, then, has its purpose in what might be offered to those near us who will endure pain in the future. The wounded healer is a purveyor of hope.
The ability to endure pain is a special gift. God will use such a gift afterwards in support of others who are in pain. But we must survive the pain first. And when pain returns to our lives as a wounded healer, we take the opportunity of solace. But we are also helped in the helping of others.
The wounded healer is able to help those in pain with a help they were helped with.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

What’s It Like to Be Depressed?

DEPRESSION for me is to lack purpose, but it could equally be that relationships cause you depression. Years ago I grew comfortable that I’m a person whose purpose is to have a purpose — it’s part of my NF (intuitive-feeling) personality. My personality type is rooted more in becoming than being, and when purpose grinds to a halt, I’m not too far from plummeting.
This is not an identity-in-Christ thing; I accept God has made me a certain way — to serve. I usually find that those who will readily say you shouldn’t have your identity in things other than Christ are usually those who are already serving into their purpose. Take their purpose away and they will probably feel emptied of identity. This is something the helping professions simply have to be honest about. We all need purpose to some degree; some of us more than others.
The trouble is we were saved to serve. It doesn’t deny the fact that Christ is all-in-all, but Christ has saved us to contribute in the building of his Kingdom. And with a work ethic to match the gifting he gives us, we are ready and willing to serve. We are most content when our lives have sufficient content to serve purposefully.
Now, about depression.
For me it’s a severe sense of doubting that springs from the first waking moment; a sense of dread fills the mind, purging into the heart, as soon as I fix onto the day ahead.
When I have that sort of dreadful cognition my typically winsome work ethic goes out the window and I lay there pondering the enormity of the day ahead.
Energy is sapped. My heart is junked.
I’m a real people person, but depression sends me into isolation; not because of fear, but because I crave authenticity and I don’t want to be false around people. I want to give them me. When I’m depressed I cannot be me and get away with it. People get to deserve a pastor. Very often, however, I can operate as a pastor if I can assume the presence of the wounded healer. Not pretending I have it all together, I have more warmth, genuineness and empathy to spare people, not less.
Being depressed is not sadness all the time. It’s not debilitating energy levels all the time. It’s not even feeling useless all the time. But it is a weakness to be embodied in the strength of Christ, remembering Jesus chose to be weak.
Being depressed is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s nothing about being inferior. And it’s nothing about not being able to control our emotions. It is what it is. When people become depressed for the first time they suddenly have to acknowledge that they have no control. What they don’t want becomes them. Suddenly empathy for sufferers is all theirs! And that’s a great learning.
Being depressed is like fighting an unwinnable fight. The truth is, in our depression, we’re incredibly brave; yet, we can’t see our own bravery. Jesus wants us to know he is there and able to save.
When life’s a fight, you’re brave,
All the more call on Jesus to save.

© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Friday, September 11, 2015

What Makes All the Difference In Grief Therapy

HEARTS are strong and hearts do tend, generally, to survive…
The enormity of stress, of grief, of depression, and of feeling overwhelmed.
What people most need when we are confounded by the cataclysm that is loss and grief — and so vast is the field of experience in loss and grief that it spans all mental illness — is the feeling that we are not alone. That we may share the unutterably arduous journey in complete safety. Dignity intact. Not second-guessed. Not doubted. Affirmed. Encouraged. Not judged. Listened to. No advice unless it’s actually sought out. The willingness to be quiet, unless to enquire into feeling.
We need companionship more than anything else, and a wise therapist will know this. They will be a safe companion. And any friend can do this, too.
When we are looking for help in our passage through grief we do well to go to someone who’s safe, who’ll allow us to be vulnerable; who’ll open up space for us to fall into. Such a person will gently though skilfully hold us and contain us; our emotional being, our material, and our fluxing identity. They will be the open door through which we can walk. They will be the comfortable chair where our shoulders can finally slump; where we can simply be.
Grief is a teacher, for in grief we find what everyone needs: empathy becomes us, because compassion is understood in an instant.
What we suffer makes us to know what we have always missed; a key truth for life.
The more we know about grief the less we know about life. Suddenly we don’t know half as much as we thought we know. Overnight we are less sure of ourselves, and this is a good thing. Immediately, we’re less inclined to offer flippant advice. We have finally realised the value in silence, and in simply being present when someone needs us. For, when we’re silent, then we’ll listen.
Grief teaches us what our hearts already have a sense for: we just need to believe we can get through this.
Grief teaches us to value those eternal things that are unchanging and immovable. Those reliable things — the things of God (faith, hope, love, joy, peace) — don’t ever let us down, for grief carries us to a greater understanding of these very things.
What makes all the difference in grief therapy is learning how God helps us, via supportive others, to self-manage.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Are You Okay?

OFTEN I wonder whether or not spiritual tests of doubting and discouragement are put there by the enemy, and allowed by God, to cajole us into pressing back in. Tests of soul and spirit are there to convince us to press in on God again. God is not sadistic, but he does know what’s best for us in this world: “You will have many troubles in this world,” says Jesus, “But fear not, for I have overcome the world for you.” (John 16:33) By implication, if we trust God we will be protected by God.
My faith tells me to press in on the safe source that God is. Have I ever had thoughts of suicide? Yes. Have I ever had suicidal ideations? Yes, again. Have I ever attempted it? Almost. Thankfully, after every time of thought and temptation I was reminded that I couldn’t do the deed. But I do know what it’s like when life is so unbearably hard, meaningless and terrible, day after day after day.
This article, as the title suggests, is merely asking “are you okay?” People care for you, and so, integrally, does God. If you are not okay, will you let me know? Or would you let someone who cares for you know? Please?
How are you doing,
This auspicious and terrible day?
Are you worried or depressed,
By how much you weigh?
Or is it more a fact,
You fear for being gay?
Is it a relationship,
That has now gone astray?
Or a lack of purpose,
That turns your world grey?
Whatever your problems,
Jesus is here to say,
“God loves you for who you are,
Whether you change or stay,”
So here again says Jesus,
“Really, sincerely, are you okay?”
We need to change nothing by being made by another’s pressure or even our own. God’s grace has made forgiveness a reality, not because of what we do to deserve it, but by what Jesus did. We owe God nothing, but our allegiance, and we ought to know that our allegiance to God is good for us. Jesus understands our depressions, our anxieties, our griefs, our persecutions, and our torments. He seeks out the vulnerable to offer peace and rest. So take him up on his offer. Life will get better.
Jesus says, “Come to me, you who are weary and burdened. My demeanour is kindness and my way is recovery. I will show you how to be still. You will learn never to be so hard on yourself again. I want to equip you with a spring in your step. And I will. You will see. Just believe.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Depression – Darkness of Soul on the Brightest of Days

CHRISTMAS DAY, 2005, sitting poolside at my brother’s house. It was a dark day, yet fun was being had all around me, family understanding where I was at, of course.
Depression, I’ve found, is often imbued with darkness of soul — a feeling the soul cannot get out of — even on the brightest of days. It’s nonsensical and to that end maddening. But, of course, depression precludes us from the energy of being mad.
It’s not the day’s fault we are in the place we’re in. It’s not others’ fault, either.
And it’s not even our own fault. It is what it is. We should not be feeling under threat, but we do indeed feel that way. It proves impossible to shake.
Is it a dearth of encouragement? A lack of purpose? Relationships not going our way? It may be so hard to pinpoint where things have gone so far wrong.
We can assume there is a biochemical imbalance and the general practitioner is a depressed person’s very best friend. Recovery starts from the first appointment, and we must own our recovery. The climb up and out of this depression commences today.
When we are depressed we see truth never more starkly. And for that reason alone we are closer to recovery than ever. We recall that depression is actually the penultimate step of the grief cycle — and so many depressions emanate from grief.
No longer are we denying or fighting the factors of truth in our lives.
No longer are we resisting God in disobedient ways. But we are still not quite all the way to acceptance yet. There is still some work to do.
The hope of depression is truthful sadness; a resignation that things are not the way we want them to be. To be depressed is to sit in that place. To be depressed is to acknowledge things the way they are: reality in all its truth.
Darkness of soul on the otherwise brightest of days, there we are. Unshifting, unmoving, still, and resigned.
But there is hope in this. One day soon our perspective will be different. That day we will accept the simple things for what they are. That day we will rather see those things as praiseworthy. That day we will have learned to be still and content with what we have.
That day we will have learned to let go of our thoughts, to allow feelings to occur, and to not judge either.
That day is closer today. That day is closer today than it was yesterday. Tomorrow is that day.
That day is not far away.
That day we will find, again, a moment’s happiness is a gift quite beyond compare.
That day we will forgive ourselves our past, seeing it was not our fault.
That day we will live in the acceptable present knowing that the past need not be changed.
That day present and future are helped by a past we can accept.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Where On Earth Have I Gone? Depression and Identity

WAKING UP is always a strange experience when you’re depressed. A sense of lostness from the get go. The identity has gone absent without leave. It’s gone without explanation.
The cause of the depression has its roots in relationships gone awry or a lack of purpose or a combination of the two. But the effect of the depression bears no relationship to the cause — helplessness bequeaths to us a dissociative pathway. We have lost part of ourselves — a vital part that we cannot do without.
Depression hits at the very heart of identity.
It strikes us at our vulnerability and targets our weakest place. The soul is bare and defenceless with identity askew.
The effect is a loss of hope and the incoming future that we call the present carries to us the mood of lament for being alive. Happiness seems a distant memory, too far away from our immediate future. We can tell depression has taken its grip on us when day after day we feel the same way — for weeks — and we cannot seem to shake it. We are at a loss to know what to do. All options seem a stretch too far.
Banking on the identity we have in our faith is our way of coping in the day.
Going to the Word of God, to the psalms, Paul’s writings, particularly 2 Corinthians, we have a way of identifying with the human experience of life when life is tough.
We find afresh, we are not alone. Many have been here where we are at before us. And if we are watchful our forebears will show us a way out. They will show us a way to stronger identity.
We are forgiven for asking “Where on earth have I gone… I long for me to return.”
Having read the Word of God we then go and share what we’ve learned with someone we trust. Connecting with another human being about our depression is vital. Support gets us through the day. Just speaking with someone who will listen to us makes today’s difference. But resist people who think they know what’s best for you if you can help it. Unless you know they know what’s best and can help to that end. Being told what to do when it’s unhelpful will only make the depression experience worse.
Having become lost to ourselves in depression there is hope we will find more of our true selves in the process of recovery.
Questions of identity expose, but they also offer an opportunity to create something new. On a good day, ponder the possibilities. Don’t think of the work ahead. Simply enjoy the possibilities.
You will find yourself again. Hope for an even better “me” prevails when we ponder possibilities.
People can say “I wish the old you would return” all they like, not realising it’s us who miss ourselves most.

© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Overcoming Depression’s Destructive Self-Talk

RECALLING times past, times when my mental health resembled a tiny craft on the choppy high seas, brought memories flooding back of the state of my thinking and how perilous it was.
Easily I would think of myself as useless and worthless, despite the fact I coveted my faith in Christ dearly.
On one such day I remember reaching out to my wife; I didn’t want to be alone. I needed her companionship that moment; someone to talk to.
I explained where I was at. I’d just done a simple repair job around the home and it almost went horribly wrong, and I had been berating myself. “Sometimes I just feel absolutely useless and worthless,” I said. Sarah simply looked into my eyes and said something like, “You’re a child of God… it won’t always be this hard… sure, there will be more times like this, but it won’t always be like this.”
Those words brought me immense comfort.
To know that life won’t always be the way it is right now.
I quickly found that I replaced my tremulous self-doubt with this new knowledge and I was able to move on into the rest of my day. God’s Word also does this. If we open our Bibles up when we feel compromised mentally, God’s Spirit warms our hearts with a fresh dose of courage. We are in-couraged (encouraged).
The fact is it’s only the enemy of God who wants us feeding on a negative self-concept only the devil would have us believe.
We need to hear God’s voice through his Word. We need to hear the Word speak and the Spirit breathe hope into us.
It certainly doesn’t hurt to get past our anger and sit in the sadness of our depression for a time. Indeed, the truth in our depressed thoughts can often carry us through to acceptance — if we were to adhere to the grief recovery model.
Overcoming depression’s destructive self-talk is necessary in growing through the hardship of pain. Finding hope enough to live a good day is all we need.
The last thing we’d want to do is pretend it was easy. It’s never easy. But it’s possible and achievable and worthwhile doing.
Being realistic is important, just as bringing our thoughts captive is. When we become aware of the destructiveness of a thought we analyse it for its truth, through the eyes of someone who loves us.
You will get through this. It won’t always be this hard. But as hard as it is right now, keep looking up in hope, and know God loves you.

© 2015 Steve Wickham.