On the heels of discouragement will come dejection, the third of the Five Deadly D’s. Dejection is lowness of spirits, the inevitable aftermath of surrendering to discouragement. Today we would call it depression. (Please know there is far more to depression than what I am able to say here. Some depression is chemical and needs a doctor’s help—and if that is the case, prayerfully select your doctor and actively participate in the determination of your medicines and treatment. You live in your body, not your doctor!)
With depression comes emotional fatigue. If you feel worn out, unable to put one foot in front of another, or emotionally void of any feeling except that which seems to be dragging you down into hopelessness, you need to know that you are losing the battle (the battle, Beloved, not the war!). The enemy is standing at your door waiting to devour you as easy prey.
When you feel too weak to fight, what can you do? You need to get alone with God . . . which you probably don’t feel like doing. As a matter of fact, you probably don’t feel like seeing anyone or talking to anyone . . . and that includes God. Yet, Beloved, you must force yourself beyond the destructiveness of your feelings.
Winston Churchill and his wife called his depression his “black dog.” In the movie The Gathering Storm, Churchill said that it was his painting and his building of a brick wall that helped him deal with his “black dog.” Many godly men have battled depression—from the missionary David Brainerd to the famous preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon. If you battle depression, you are not alone—nor are you doomed to defeat. There is victory—and although it may not come immediately, it will come. You will triumph because God promises you that when it seems like more than you can bear He will provide a way of escape so that you will be able to endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13)!
So practically, what you can do?
Get your Bible, a notebook, and a pen. Get outdoors if you can—there’s something about sunshine and God’s outdoors that help lift our spirits. (Our bodies need light; we need sun.) Then ask God, “God, why is my spirit low? Why am I in this state?” Then as thoughts come to your mind, write them down. Whatever comes, just write it down. You can write it below, and then if you run out of room, use a notebook. Leave a line or two of space between everything you list.
When you have written out the thoughts God brings to your mind, read them over. Look for any unbelief. Ask God when you stopped believing Him. Look at what it was that caused you to be disappointed, to lose courage. What have you panicked about instead of resting in His sovereignty?
As you ask yourself these questions and seek out the answers, then there are two other things that you must do. You cannot stop at this point, for there is no solution. You have simply examined the problem. God’s Word has the answer. We’ll look at that tomorrow. I don’t want you to rush through this assignment and miss what your loving Father wants to do. However, until then, why don’t you get a pencil, read [esvignore]Psalms 42[/esvignore] and [esvignore]Psalm 43[/esvignore], and underline anything that describes how you feel.
This blog post is excerpted from the out-of-print 30-day devotional “How to Stand Firm Against the Five Deadly D’s” by Kay Arthur.