I have been in a rather goofy mood lately (I know, you noticed). I will probably be a little more sober in coming posts. There is a lot going on in my life and humor is a coping mechanism.
I was recently diagnosed with a mild, yet chronic, form of depression. It was no surprise to me. But I finally went to the doctor. I am also seeing a psychologist to talk about how my childhood has affected me. I never complained, thought about it, wanted sympathy for it, paid attention to its affect on me. But everything affects us. I am finally learning to accept it and to do something about it.
Anyway, I have been evaluating myself lately, thinking about my life, my ministry, etc. I have sought out godly men for advice and am reading whatever I can find that might be helpful. The Introvert Advantage is one of the books and has been interesting, but not as pertinent as some others.
I want to share some quotes from a booklet by John Piper that was very interesting. It’s called, “When the Darkness Will Not Lift.” I just finished it and am chewing on it still. It is a section of one of his books and you can download it for free from him website.
Here is the summary from his site and the link for downloading:
Even the most faithful, focused Christians can encounter periods of depression and spiritual darkness when joy seems to stay just out of reach. It can happen because of sin, satanic assault, distressing circumstances, or hereditary and other physical causes. This book, which is an expansion of a chapter in “When I Don’t Desire God”, aims to give some comfort and guidance to those experiencing spiritual darkness.
What stuck with me from the book:
- the difference in justification and sanctification (realizing that being saved doesn’t mean we are perfect)
- Start with despair. Despair of finding any answers in yourself.
- …seasons of darkness are normal in the Christian life. I don’t mean that we should not try to live above them. I mean that if we do not succeed, we are not lost, and we are not alone…
- One of the reasons God loved David so much was that he cried so much.
- it is possible to be so overwhelmed with darkness that you do not know if you are a Christian–and yet still be one.
- Stop looking at your faith (and how weak, etc. it seems-bpn) and rivet your attention on Christ.
- And doing is often God’s appointed remedy for despair.
- Don’t let wrong feelings govern you. Act against them.
- False comfort leads to artificial healing.
- quoting Richard Baxter, Resolve to spend most of your time in thanksgiving and praising God. If you cannot do it with that joy that you should, yet do it as you can…Doing it as you can is the way to be able to do it better.
- The pursuit of joy implies hatred for sin.
- concerning Satan: give him his due, but no more.
- Good, solid Bible teaching is a crucial part of deliverance from the darkening power of the devil.
- …essence of Christian joy: it overflows or it dies.
- If depressed saints cannot read the Bible, or a good book, we should read it to them.
Definitely check it out. It’s free and a great resource for anyone you are ministering to (including yourself). He talks some about Psalms and interesting historical stuff about William Cowper and Spurgeon.