Several Ways to Enjoy God When You Are Depressed
Everything is harder when we are depressed. Even finding comfort in our spirituality.
Gary Thomas wrote Sacred Pathways that has helped me in my depression. His idea is we connect more easily to God in some ways than others.
As an example, there are those who connect God most easily through His creation, surrounded by the things God has made. “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Ps 121:1
Many are naturally traditionalists. Worship services for others, both formal and informal, feel closest to God in a worship service with GOd’s people. “I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Ps 122:1
Solitude is time being alone with God that fuels the spirit. “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16
There are always people in need of care. Caring may bring a sense of GOd’s presence to the caregiver. “ Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15
Having uninterpreted time to study and think about God and scripture brings some close to God.
“For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.” Ezra 7:10
Contemplative prayer is about having personal heartfelt devotion where one spends time listening to God. The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10
And of course their are those who are enthusiastic. They love celebration and music, praise, and respond joyfully as a way of worship. “…praise him with timbrel and dancing,praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” Ps 150:4-6a
We use all these methods of worship but there may be those ways that come most naturally to us. But I’ve learned that using my natural pathways help me to connect to God, even when I am depressed.
Study is how I naturally connect with God. Even when my thinking is slowed because of depression or medication, there are times I become immersed in study. Study helps me both feel close to God and gives a brief reprieve from the of depression.
Contemplative prayer was a life saver in my deepest despair. As I emptied my thoughts to let God fill my mind with Himself. Those moments of unconditional love and grace kept me from taking my life.
While you are depressed don’t forget your spiritual connections. Go first to those that come most naturally. You may be surprised at the difference it will make.
Don’t be afraid to try others approaches. Some fresh ways of experiencing God may be just what you need. Spend time in nature. Take a long walk. Enjoy what God has made. Gardening is another way.
The point is that God loves you. No matter how depressed you feel. No matter what kind of thoughts you are having. Don’t give up connecting with God.
What if you try but still don’t “feel” God’s presence? That is ok. You are normal. Depression is a disease that effects us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It has many symptoms. Depression even twists our spirituality and how we experience God.
Do what you can. Trust God with what you can’t.
Remember that nothing stops God from loving you.