When our oldest son was ten, he broke his femur skiing and ended up in the hospital for six weeks with his leg in traction.
The pain was excruciating, and I still remember one thing the nurse told us: Try to stay ahead of the pain.
In other words, don’t wait until the pain is so overwhelming you can’t stand it before you take the pain meds. Instead, take them on a schedule: every four hours. Because if you wait until it really starts hurting, it’s almost impossible to get rid of.
The same is true with depression. If you wait til the pain hits full force, it’s almost impossible to get rid of. Far better to stay ahead of the pain.
But how do we do that? One of the ways we can do it is to renew our minds before we enter the emotional-frenzy stage. And interestingly, just as with pain meds, I’m finding that every four hours is about perfect if we’re going through a difficult season in life.
A Bundle of Insecurity
The importance of renewing my mind throughout the day really hit home for me when I was putting the finishing touches on my last book. I noticed that on the days when I got up, had my quiet time, and then worked on my book all morning without a break, I was a bundle of insecurity by the time lunch rolled around.
But here’s the interesting thing: I didn’t realize I was a bundle of insecurity until I took the time to renew my mind.
I just thought I was stressed out.
Stress or Lies?
Once I sat down to capture my thoughts, I realized why I was so stressed out. It’s hard to stay peaceful when your thoughts are telling you, This book is so terrible! I can’t believe you’re publishing it! What are you thinking??? You’re crazy!!!
If I didn’t renew my mind at lunch, the thoughts would be worse by dinner: You’re such a failure! Everyone will hate this book and they’ll also hate you! Do you really want to publish this book?
This wasn’t true (people did end up liking the book), but I fully thought it was true by the time dinner rolled around because my mind had been fogged with lies for eight hours by then. Just as physical pain gets worse without medication, emotional pain gets worse without going to God to bring our thoughts captive to the truth.
And once the pain gets really bad–once it hits the depression stage–it’s hard to get rid of.
So what do we do if we want to avoid depression? Try to stay ahead of the pain–especially when you’re going through some intense struggle in your life. Renew your mind either before you experience the pain or at the very least when the pain is still manageable.
In my own life I find that when I’m just a little upset, it doesn’t take me long to renew my mind and get over it – less than five minutes. But if I’m really upset? It can take a long time – maybe an hour – and even then, I might not be feeling that great. I’m far better off if I process my emotions before they get to the frenzy stage.
It Takes Time
I know what you’re thinking. What about the time? It does take time to meet with God and discuss life with Him. And we often feel like we don’t have time on those really stressful days. But here’s the truth: it’s worth it.
Here are a few things we’ll get if we take the time: a more intimate walk with God, growth in our character, the fruit of the Spirit, and interestingly, better productivity. Why? Because when we’re working in peace and joy, we are less prone to time-wasting procrastination techniques and can accomplish more.
If you struggle with depression, I hope you’ll give this a try. It can’t solve all depression because sometimes depression has a physical cause, but it can definitely help in many cases.
If you’d like to listen to a couple of podcasts on depression, click on the links below:
Renewing of the Mind Project Class Begins 9/21/15
I also wanted to let you know about another class beginning a week from Monday. Karina Price will be leading the Renewing of the Mind Project in a private Facebook group. If you’re interested in the free class, just click on the FB icon over on the right side of this blog to find my FB writer page and then I’ll have a link to get to Karina’s page (for some reason I can’t get the link to work when I put it on my blog). You will need to friend Karina, and then she can add you to the group. Let me know if you have any questions!
Great observation and analogy. I too find it necessary for not just depression, but for anxiety as well. There really is no peace in this life without calling of the Spirit Who created us.
It’s amazing how overwhelmed we can get when we fight with the measly flesh. But when we call on our Father all things are possible and every scenario conquerable. Thanks for the reminder, Barb.
Barb Raveling says
I love what you said, Floyd – all things are possible and every scenario conquerable when we call on our Father. A good thing for me to remember – thank you!
Karen Foster says
Couldn’t have come at a better time. Where do I sign up.
Barb Raveling says
Hi Karen! Karina is leading the class and you should be able to find the link to her FB page on either my I Deserve a Donut page or my author page – if you friend her, I think she’d add you to the class automatically. If she doesn’t you can message her. If you can’t find her page, just do a search for Karina Dyan Price. Hope you enjoy it!
Barb…so thankful for your ministry…in writing and in relationship! How you spur me on in pursuing God…his truth and grace. So glad to see your blog post…for a lot of reasons…thanks for sharing!
Barb Raveling says
And I’m also thankful for our friendship, Becca! :) I’m so glad God brought us together for mutual encouragement!