Sunday, October 28, 2012

Depression

I am starting to feel let down by God because He is not taking my depression away. Can you help?


Your question moves my heart in a number of ways because I have talked to so many people over the years that feel like you do. There is some specific problem they feel in the emotional area or with another aspect of life that is not working. They pray for God to make it different and He does not. Then they begin to doubt His love, or even His existence.

There are a lot of things God could do for your depression, such as wave His hand and just “take it away.” But He typically does not do it that way for a very specific reason. Usually when we are depressed, it is for a real issue that needs to be worked out in our lives. If God were to take away the depression (which is the symptom), the things about us that need to change would go unheeded. We would be the same, but our depression, the signal that tells us we need to grow in some area, would be gone. And we would have no reason to grow.

This is why James says for us to “consider it all joy when we encounter various trials,” because the trials, accompanied with the wisdom of knowing what to change, have the effect of our being made mature. (James 1:1-5) In other words, when we go through pain, and we learn what we need to learn from the process, we are made more complete. But, if the trial were just “taken away” from us, we would not be any more mature even though we were no longer in pain.

For example, if your depression were coming from a sense of isolation or loneliness, God could “take away” the depression, but you would still be cut off from deep relationships with other people. God wants you to live in deep relationships. So to be isolated and “un-depressed” would thwart His very design for how life is supposed to work. Isolation should leave us depressed, and the depression should be a signal something is wrong.

There are other causes for depression as well, such as feelings of powerlessness or inferiority, unresolved pain and hurt, not developing talents, and distorted thinking…to name just a few. God wants you to change these kinds of things. This is what redemption is all about, “growing up into Him,” and becoming mature. (Ephesians 4:15) And as James says, He will give you the wisdom to know what you have to learn in this trial. (James 1:5)

It may also be you have been very hurt by someone. If so, He wants you to face that hurt. He wants people who have been hurt to get the love they need. Through the healing touch of His people, they can grow in love. If He just “cured” your depression, the injustice that may have come your way in life would have never been touched and made right by love.

In addition, sometimes depression can be a sign that there is a physical problem. Everything from a simple chemical imbalance to significant illness can cause depression and you should see a doctor to make sure nothing is wrong. A physician should check depression that persists.

I long for your depression to go away too. But I also long for you to have a better life. That can only come through growth and finding what issues you have to deal with and change. This can be a grueling task. Remember it is a path God wants for us and it has great reward. He wants us to work on it, for He is working too, the team effort will bring great reward.

As Paul says, “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:12,13) Use this struggle to find the changes you need to make, and allow God to do His work in you of healing and growth. Find the help you need from others, such as a counselor or a support group, and ask for the wisdom to make the changes you need to make. Then go for it. Remember, you are not alone in your struggle; God and the heavenly witnesses are all pulling for you. (Hebrews 12:1)

By Dr. Henry Cloud

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Control

I like being in control of my own destiny, why should I submit to God?
 
God wants you to have the freedom to be in control of your life. However, you may remember the phrase “one nation, under God.” In thinking of the individual’s life, we would do well to look at ourselves as “one person, under God.” The other aspect of this has to do with remembering who is in charge. It is God’s creation, it is His world, and He is the one who makes the rules. The world is His and all that is in it. As the psalmist says, “It is he who made us, and we are his.” (Psalm 100:3)

What flows from the fact He is God and we are not, is that we are to be under His “lordship.” Or in other words, do things as He says. He made life, it seems we would understand He is the one who knows best how it all works. In His direction to us, as He outlined it to Adam and Eve, there are two sides to His instructions. One side is the freedom we have to enjoy life and all that He has created. The other is a way of living that is to be avoided. Listen to His words to Adam and Eve.

“And the LORD God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.’” (Genesis 2:16,17)

He gave them freedom to enjoy life and the fruits of life He made for them. But he told them they needed to stay away from the tree that symbolized the position of Godhood. The knowledge of good and evil was something God Himself was to know, and mankind was to be protected from. In short, we were to be protected from playing the role that only God can play. We were made to be the creation, not the creator. We were made to obey Him, not dictate our own rules. And in doing so, we would avoid death and separation, and the experience of “good and evil.” It could have been “all good,” if we had only obeyed.

So choosing to live life under God, not trying to be equal or over Him, is a wise choice. He made life, and he best knows how we should live it. Submitting to Him is for our benefit because He seeks to protect us.

From Love, Receive and Obey, by Dr. Henry Cloud

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

CR Principle 4

Hey Partners and Friends,

Now we are at a place in our sharing snippets of the CR principles where we come to mountain moving time. The infamous Principle 4, Step 4.
Principle 4: Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust.
It takes guts to do this, courage. God tells us repeatedly in scripture to be strong and courageous. I believe engaging in this principle takes faith, the kind of faith that moves mountains. The result or goal we are looking for is the promise or truth Jesus talked about in MT 5:8 GNT “Happy are the pure in heart; they will see God.” That sounds pretty good, huh? When our hearts are pure on the inside we are blessed with the ability to see God on the outside. The Message bible puts it this way; “You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.”
So how do we go about doing this at Celebrate Recovery? That brings us to Step 4 of the 12 steps: “We made a searching and fearless moral (honest) inventory of ourselves.” We intentionally look at ourselves and our own lives. Typically we (you and me) have the tendency to do just the opposite; we tend to get all bent out of shape and upset over government, politics, corporations, greed, corruption, crime, traffic, immigration, courts, justice, prices etc, etc. Our attention gets consumed by the problems and issues of the boss, the neighbors, the world and everyone in it. Truth is we can’t do a whole lot about any of those things. The very best thing we can do is to find recovery for ourselves, allow Jesus to change us. Then we can be a positive influence on everything and everybody in our lives. We can actually help encourage others by being a strength not a weight or burden. We can be part of the solution not the problem. Here’s the point, at Celebrate Recovery we learn how to look at ourselves and our own issues not everybody else’s. Sometimes I think we watch the news so we can see the garbage in other people’s lives which allows us to feel better about ourselves and basically ignore our own issues.

Jesus talked pretty directly about this idea when He said, “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, ‘Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.’
The scripture we use in CR is Lam 3:40 “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.” This implies if we examine, really look at, our own ways and test them we will find areas or attitudes or behaviors that are at least counter productive or even destructive to our selves or others. Places where we don’t line up with God’s will for our lives. Then we can intentionally and specifically give those areas over to the Lord to help us, and ask Him to change us or do for us what we have not been able to do for ourselves. David, the man after God’s heart prayed it this way; “God, examine me and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any bad thing in me. Lead me on the road to everlasting life.”
God answered that prayer in David’s life, He has answered it in mine and I am seeing Him answer it in countless others. Psm 139:23-23 NCV

Thank you for partnering with us in this mountain moving ministry.

Jim & Pam

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Beginning of Real Change...


If you are interested in a new beginning to pursue goals you have always wanted for yourself, this is an outstanding Christian coaching video to view http://www.cloudtownsend.com/webinars/demo/1/ .    While its 64 minutes, I believe you will find it valuable for its teaching and insights.  Dr. Henry Cloud is a key figure who is aligned with Saddleback Church, Forest Lake, CA, and Celebrate Recovery, and has much to say about healthy processing.  I encourage you to take the time to consider…

Bro. Rob