by Barbara Hunsaker, excerpted from Hopelifter: Creative Ways to Spread Hope When Life Hurts by Kathe Wunnenberg
As a principal of a small Christian school, one phenomenon I saw from time to time was “cutting.” Students would cut themselves, not deeply enough to do permanent damage but enough to inflict pain and leave scars. I wondered why students would “cut,” and no amount of discussion would help me understand.
Until I experienced depression.
A few years ago, life threw me some pretty tough blows and I began to wonder if I would ever recover. I was in so much pain physically, mentally, and emotionally that I was desperate to make the pain go away. That’s when it hit me: “cutting” was a different kind of pain. It could make the pain I was experiencing go away.
I didn’t cut myself or do anything else destructive, but God used that experience to help me realize what it was like to hurt— really hurt. I decided right then and there I needed a new perspective.
Psalm 34:18 says,
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Are you feeling brokenhearted? Crushed? Like you can’t even breathe? Try this:
• Pray: “Lord, I’m so tired of hurting. At times, I feel like I can’t take another breath. Please bear this pain with me and let me know I’m not alone.”
• Start a journal: Tell God how much you are hurting. Include a list of the good things in your life.
• Make a plan to add something new to your life: Exercise, a new hobby, attend a Bible study.
Sometimes you may need to seek professional help. Visit your doctor to see whether medication or counseling might be needed to help you climb out of the pit of depression.
Know that God cares for you and that He will help you through this.
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Are you hurting? Are you feeling brokenhearted, crushed, like you can’t even breathe? As one who has battled depression, I know exactly what that feels like. Let’s pause here to pray the prayer above, to ask the Lord for a new perspective, a deeper revelation of His Presence with us, and to ask Him to direct our paths. If that’s not where you are right now, ask the Lord to show you who in your life is in a place of deep hurt, who may be self-harming, who may feel deeply alone, who you could possibly visit, bring a meal, share some tears, and come alongside in love. Come share with this caring community about your experience with depression, right where you are in your journey, what new perspectives the Lord gave you, and how He grew your compassion and understanding for others, with us on our blog. We would love to hear from you! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full