Monday, September 27, 2010

The second step in overcoming depression and reducing stress

Hello again. It's good to see you here in A Good Bible Study.

Did you enjoy your weekend break? It's good to take that time off for the Sabbath, or the "rest" and just re-charge. Let's get started with prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, we bow our heads before You and thank You for providing us with Your Word. Please clear our thoughts, Lord, so we can spend this time with You, instead of our distractions. Open your Word to us and fill our minds with Your wisdom, and our hearts with Your love. In the name of Jesus, amen.

Let's read Proverbs 3:6 together. "________ Him and He will make your paths __________."

Last time we met, I told you about my becoming so downtrodden and depressed, I started giving up on myself and just making it through the day for my family's sake. A couple of things sparked hope in me, or at least a desire to help myself.

One was my sister's visit and her observations about the way I did not treat myself with value. I realized no one else would treat me with value, if I didn't show them how. I had to do it first.

After that, I went out and hit some sales and bought myself some clothes that fit me right then, not for when I lost weight. I also got a good haircut and bought some new makeup. You know what, it might seem unimportant to some, but it made a big difference in how I felt.

I also began telling myself I was valuable, good, and loveable. It wasn't easy at first, but after a few days, it felt more comfortable. Today, I can look myself in the mirror and say, " I love you. You are a great person and worth loving," and mean it.

Try that today. I hope it is an easy task, but I think for a lot of us, if not most, it will be harder than you expect. You might be suprised to find you don't love yourself, really.

But, even if it feels false, do it. I'll tell you the truth, the first time I did this exercise, I broke down and sobbed, because I needed to hear those words so badly.

Some of you think you are not loveable, that you have to do something special for God to favor you.

Read the following verses about how God loves:

Deuteronomy 1:17 Do not show partiality in judging; hear both small and great alike. Do not be afraid of any man, for judgment belongs to God. Bring me any case too hard for you, and I will hear it.


Deuteronomy 10:17 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.


2 Chronicles 19:7 Now let the fear of the LORD be upon you. Judge carefully, for with the LORD our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery."


Job 34:19 who shows no partiality to princes and does not favor the rich over the poor, for they are all the work of his hands?


Acts 15:9 He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith.


Romans 2:11 For God does not show favoritism.


Romans 3:29 Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too,


Galatians 2:6 As for those who seemed to be important--whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance--those men added nothing to my message.


Ephesians 6:9 And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.

See, God created each of us and loves each of us equally, wants the best for each of us, equally, works in each of our lives, equally. Does this mean we can expect as Christians that our life circumstances will measure equally to all others? Well, in some ways, yes. Read Matthew 5:45

It means that we all may seem different in social status, wealth, opportunities, outer appearance, etc., but each of our lives are marked by joy and pain, blessing and curse, rest and work.

Think about it, you might have thought my life is only marked by blessing, because your only knowledge of me was through my "bio" as a writer, which only talks about the successes, the exterior. Now you know differently. Until this study, you didn't know some of my pain, and I still don't know yours. But, I do know we are joined by the fact that we will both experience sunshine and rain, and we are both created, and loved, by God.

Now, I promised to tell you what the next thing was that helped spark my recovery from depression. What I didn't tell you was that during this time I began experiencing severe anxiety. In addition to the problems with my ex-husband and children, we were simultaneously going through a major financial crisis.

Like so many people, we felt the economic crunch. In 2006 my husband bought another truck and leased it to a friend who was a driver and needed a boost up, and we bought what we thought would be our dream home. Things were good, we thought.

Within three months, our trucking income was cut in half as rates fell to the basement in response to the financial climate. Stores put the brakes on ordering items, manufacturers cut way back, and all this affected the trucking industry. There is a saying, "If you've got it, a truck brought it."

Well, if no one is buying, making, or distributing products, truck's aren't bringing it and we weren't making the money we planned on making before we bought this house!

During this time, I woke up feeling my heart pound in my chest every morning. I felt a strange energy that wouldn't go away, and I just couldn't relax and enjoy anything about my day. Sure, I handled my daily responsibilities and kept a smile on my face for my kids, but inside I was a nervous wreck.

I talked to my son (the one living with his dad) about wanting to get in better shape and he told me, "Mom, just do 10 situps, 10 pushups, and 10 squats everyday. You''ll start to get stronger."

Well, I wanted to please my son, and I did want to get stronger, but 10 of each? I wasn't sure at that time that I could do 1!

I hung up the phone, and I got down on the floor and I did a push-up. Barely. So I rolled over and did 3 sit-ups, and then I stood up and did 5 squats. You know what? I felt just a tiny bit proud of myself.

The next day, and every day after that, I did 5 each of those exercises, and I kept building up until I could do 10, then 15, then 20, and finally I was doing 30 situps, push-ups and squats every day. It wasn't the cure to my anxiety, I will tell you about that tomorrow, but it was the next step in caring for myself that made all the difference.

As a former clinical therapist, I knew that exercise is one of the most effective ways we can reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and a host of physical ailments. I knew it, but I still needed someone else to encourage me to do it. Let me encourage you now.

God says we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Loving yourself is active, remember? He gave us bodies to use, not abuse.

Today I want you to start adding things into your day that will cut down on your feelings of stress.
  1. Read this bible study every week-day and look up the verses, and pray aloud the prayers.
  2. Do 1, or 3, or 5 or how ever many you can do, each of a pushup, a crunch or a plank, and a squat. For proper form see here
  3. Buy yourself one new thing, an item of clothing, a new lipstick, a pair of shoes.
Promise yourself you will do this. I guarantee you will feel better this week if you keep your word. Comment to me and let's all be accountability partners to love ourselves this week, with ACTION!

Lord, as we begin a new week, help us to have thankful hearts. Help us to see the small moments of joy instead of the long stretches of anticipation, or struggle. Motivate us to get up and move this week, starting with today. Help us to see anxiety and depression as a message from our hearts that we need to help ourselves, and help us to take action now. In the name of Jesus, amen.

Love, Karen

Photo by .Shock, courtesy of

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