Prevailing Against Coronavirus Based Depression--Your Feelings Match Your Circumstances
Our world is in a difficult circumstance. Is this perhaps the greatest sustained panic since World War II? We are living with:
• A virus for which no cure is currently known.
• Older people dying alone.
• Unemployment skyrocketing to levels not seen in our lifetime.
• The world-wide economy shrinking at an unparalleled pace.
• The news on every side is disappointing.
Such circumstances ideally position each of us incredible depression.
Some Honesty about Depression
Depression is real. Some of the best and brightest in history have battled. Some of God’s best and brightest of the past and present have battled it.
Unfortunately, depression is a condition some feel should never exist in those who trust Jesus. Perhaps reading some of David’s Psalms, Lamentations, Jeremiah would help us understand that being depressed is not an indication of being backslidden.
Accept what you feel as being real. What you feel is consistent with our circumstances. There is no sugar-coating what the world is experiencing. The coronavirus is universally bad.
Today, I might be OK watching a dog do something funny on YouTube. I'd not be OK, hanging out with someone like an old acquaintance of ours. She said she started each day motivating herself by loudly saying, “I’m happy. I’m happy. I'm happy!” We knew her. It didn’t matter what she said to start the day. She wasn’t happy, content, or satisfied with life.
Needing a “long runway” to get started each morning I never was excited about her idea. Just now, when we bury police officers killed in the line of duty without normal honors, when overwhelmed physicians are taking their own lives, and nurses weep uncontrollably during their fifteen-minute break, “I’m happy, I’m happy, I’m happy,” won’t cut it. In our somber season of uncertainty, declarations of happiness will not prevail.
Just now, there are few hugs or smiles. Circumstances have forced extroverts into solitary confinement. There are no parties. The world has gone quiet, except for the sound of sobs.
This does not mean the joy of the Lord is not your strength. His joy and the strength gained are irrespective of circumstances – and should never be defined with the word “happy.”
Nor does admitting your depression indicate a failure of faith. Instead, it is your human response to reality. Accepting that you could be dealing with depression, and that depression could be anticipated in our current circumstances is not a bad thing. How you respond to depression is important.
Few will go through the difficult times our world is experiencing without struggle. We are in an unexpected state of affairs. Already people are talking of a “gray depression” that has settled on them. This experience is known as situational depression.
Situational depression is often part of grief, a major illness or surgery, job loss or a myriad of other things. Situational depression is connected to a circumstance. There is a reason to be depressed. Just now, many people have several reasons to be depressed.
Situational depression is distinguished from other forms of depression. A common form of depression is a condition known as Major Depressive Disorder. In the past, the same condition was called Clinical Depression. A Major Depressive Disorder is not always connected to any situation. Life can be going well, and suddenly the zest for life is gone, a person has sleepless nights or the other extreme – all a person does is sleep, disinterest in things that were formerly a passion, and a sense of hopelessness are a few of the symptoms of a Major Depressive Disorder.
Situational Depression has the potential to be the catalyst for a more serious Major Depressive Disorder. This transition from one condition to the other becomes more likely if our circumstances continue for an extended time.
Today, caring for yourself physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally is important. With the stress we all carry pay attention to caring for yourself. If you don’t, it is unlikely anyone else will.
Medical experts have given guidance on what we should do to avoid the coronavirus. There are also steps we can take to help deal with the spiritual, mental, and emotional fallout.
Getting through this whole begins with realizing what you feel is not “weird.” It is ok. You have my permission, as well as that of Elijah, David, and most importantly, the Lord to feel the load of this moment.
When we admit what we feel, Jesus can help us through. By the way, part of the way He helps us, is giving us the good sense to respond to life properly.
Just Live It!
There is company that uses the slogan: “Just Do It!” Right now, we have one option and that is: Just Live It! Those who adapt and flex with this unusual season will endure better than the rigid.
The Lord Jesus has this in control. Trust Him even though you feel depression and despair. “Just Live It!” is not pop psychology. The real-world is where you correctly demonstrate your faith. “Just Live It!” with faith and hope.
The Coming Days
The weeks ahead will be dark for our world We will have friends, family members, or acquaintances who will be infected. It is likely you already do. But in the blackest night, the light shines bright. Jesus said, “Ye are the light of the world.”
Paraphrasing one of the Lord’s simplest parables, “You don’t light a candle and then put it under a basket.” Is it possible that the “light of the world” had been hidden under the basket of buildings and “business as usual?”
Last month, America’s greatest preachers moved outside their comfort zone. They no longer looked at comfortable saints listening to them preach a normal sermon. Now, they spoke to a camera. Uncomfortable to say the least. A camera offers no amen! A camera provides no head-nods or handclaps.
Because this is so different a few days back a lengthy Ministry Monday was devoted to being effective with online ministry. I’m not the best at this, but have learned a few things from experience. The Youtube video is here.
Currently, comfortable with the camera or not, it is our time – let’s claim it.
Three Things to Help You Survive
See this for what it is. God is doing “something.” I’m not sure what He is doing, but I’m comfortable that the Lord Jesus was not surprised by the coronavirus.
• Accept this time as it is. As I write this, I’ve seven days and seven hours of state-mandated quarantine ahead. I’m tired of waving at my wife while she stands at the other end of the hall. I don’t like keeping a paper-towel in hand for any time I touch something in our home. I’m an introvert by nature, but I’m ready to go somewhere and do something. Except for all the places I’d want to visit are closed:
Barnes and Noble – closed
Springfield- Greene County Library – closed
Silver Dollar City – closed
Favorite Italian Restaurant - closed
Springfield Zoo – closed
Favorite Barbecue joint - closed
Friends of the Library Book Sale – rescheduled
Gailey’s Drugs Breakfast Café – carryout only
Coffee shops – all closed
Kicking, whining and griping will not change any of it. So, I’ll settle in. Protect myself, and others. Let’s get through this having a great harvest of souls and without the coronavirus killing 500,000 Americans.
• Journal your experiences, writing about your feelings. Include your
frustrations. Journaling is one of my primary approaches to prayer. I’ve quite a bit to mention to the Lord these days.
My 89-year-old Dad’s nurse’s aide tested positive for the coronavirus.
People of long acquaintance are in ICU wards around the nation. Several at Calvary – Springfield, are in the medical profession. Others work in medical support. Most have expressed their dismay at the emotional toll this is taking on them and their peers.
Yes, I’ve quite a bit to mention to Jesus. A few things to suggest, not that He always listens to my suggestions. And I’ve several questions to ask Him right now.
Writing down those frustrations, questions, and concerns lets me leave them with Him, for at least a while. It gets it out of my mind, spirit and emotions for a bit.
Weren’t we told, “Cast all your cares on Him, for He careth for you?” Just now, there are more cares than usual – so, here you go, Lord! It’s Yours to handle, for at least the next thirty minutes. Yours, until I circle back around and pick them up again.
• Intercessors are needed. Our world, the religious and irreligious, need Jesus today. In this night, the book of Acts church must be the brightest light. Preachers will preach! Will the intercessors pray? How should you pray?
Pray for God’s Word to fall on good ground.
Pray that your pastor can quickly be comfortable preaching to a camera. He may be doing it for a while.
Intercede for the lost you know, for backsliders, as well as those who have never been interested in God.
We will preach! Who will join us to PRAY?!