For children, Christmas can be the most joyful time of the year. I can remember as a child looking forward to Christmas. The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas seemed endless. I had so much joy on Christmas Eve, waiting patiently to open the presents under the tree. As I got older, though, I realized that the holidays could be a big let down. I looked forward to opening the gifts, but the excitement ended as soon as I opened all the gifts. Christmas was over for another 365 days, what a let down.
Many people experience depression during the holidays. Perhaps they cannot afford the kind of presents they would like to buy or they go into debt to buy what they cannot afford. Some are lonely because of loved ones who have passed away. Others might feel forgotten by family members who are too busy to spend time with them. There are many reasons for holiday depression, but there is a solution to this problem.
I suffer from back pain almost all the time. I have degenerative discs in my neck and lower back, which prevent me from begin able to accomplish many simple tasks. Decorating for Christmas, holiday baking and gift wrapping all cause me to have pain. If I think too much about have chronic pain, I can become very depressed. Many times at Christmas I am overcome with grief, wishing for earlier years before I had this pain. All of my back trouble began when I was in a car accident at the age of 31, which was much too young to begin a life of chronic pain. Bringing out the Christmas decorations can also bring back painful memories of the past. For example, I made the Christmas stockings hanging on my mantle right now. This was the last big project that I accomplished before my car accident. Sometimes I get teary eyed when looking at these stockings because I remember the good ole days before the back pain. The best way for me to deal with this type of depression is to not concentrate on what I can’t do, but to be thankful for what I can do.
So how do I find joy, in spite of my chronic suffering?
I find joy in helping people, studying the Word of God, prayer and blogging. Here are a few things that help me work through my depression:
- The best way to stop feeling sorry for myself is to think of other people who are suffering.
One person who always comes to mind is Joni Eareckson Tada.
She has not allowed her physical disability prevent her from serving the kingdom of God
- I thank God for all my blessings and name them. This reminds me of the old hymn, “Count Your Blessings”.
I can walk, smile, love and write.
- My greatest joy comes from spending time with the Lord during Inductive Bible Study.
Experiencing the Blues and Writer’s Block
I am a Precept leader and used to teach Precept Bible Studies by Kay Arthur, but the Lord called me to teach the young 20 somethings so I have taught other Bible studies. The women I am teaching are not ready for this type of Bible study, or so they think. For the past year, I have been teaching more topical type studies, which have not satisfied my thirst for the Word of God. As a result of these weaker studies, I have had a difficult time hearing the Lord speak to me in prayer. Despite reading recommended devotionals and devotionally read the Bible, my soul has not been satisfied.
My Greatest Joy Comes from Inductive Bible Study
This past Monday, as I was wallowing in self pity over my back troubles, I felt compelled to pull out my Precept Bible Study on Ruth, Don’t Despair. There’s Hope. You have a Kinsman Redeemer! When I began the study on day 1, I felt so refreshed. This is what I have been missing for an entire year. Who would have thought that the study of Ruth was about depression?
I decided to make each lesson my morning devotional. As I spent this past week studying the word “hope”, I felt some chastening from the Lord. Everywhere I have turned this week, I heard the same message from books and the Bible: “Accept your trial, quit fighting, surrender your life to Me”. For 14 years I have prayed for healing, I refused to accept my trial of chronic pain in the hopes that God would heal me. Finally, after all this time I have made peace with God over my trial. That doesn’t mean that I won’t have to repeat this process, but for now I have love, hope, peace and JOY. I understand Paul when he said, “Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church” Col. 1:24. Suffering causes me to look more closely to Christ.
2016 Blog Focus
The best news this year, is that the Lord has cured me of my writer’s block. No, he has not cured my back, but He has given me the main focus of my blog this year: HOPE. I hope you will continue to visit Prayer in Every City, because I have much to teach you. Let us see what the Lord has in store for us.
Have Joy this Christmas Season
If you want to beat the holiday blues, Jesus is there to help you. If you have never accepted Christ, then read this post: Need Salvation? I encourage you to dig deep in the Word of God this holiday season. All the presents, Christmas television programs and holiday cheer will leave you desiring more, but only God can satisfy and comfort your soul.
“How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Psalm 119:103 (NASB).
The true star of Bethlehem was Jesus Christ. I hope you will rejoice exceedingly with great joy this holiday season.