Healing Spiritual Wounds (Chpt. 2)
Suffer from sadness and depression? Our second chapter takes a look at spiritual alone time. Let’s take a spiritual look at depression and learn how to heal spiritual wounds so that we can better handle depression.
Chapter 2 – Alone Time
If you did not read my “chapter 1” of Healing Spiritual Wounds and Depression, definitely give it a read before you continue. I want to make some of the same disclaimers, once again, before we get going in this “chapter”. First disclaimer: I am not a professional on the subject matter of depression. I am going to talk about this subject from a personal view, and from the views of others that have shared with me their dealings with depression. Second disclaimer: I am a pastor, therefore I will also talk about this subject from a spiritual standpoint. I make this disclaimer because I understand that not everybody believes in what I believe in; so, therefore, this might not be for you if you cannot accept my Christian faith. Third disclaimer: I am no professional writer! If you come across any grammatical errors, charge it to Grammarly and not to me (pretty please?).
Pushing others away
One of the first things that many people tell me they do, when they are feeling depressed, is to shun others. Some of us become like a turtle and retreat into our shells (we close ourselves off). Doing this, some suggest, is not necessarily a good idea. I understand wanting to be alone; the idea of being around others who are not depressed could potentially make our depression even worse. So, is the right thing to do or is this wrong? Let’s take a look at this thought from a spiritual point of view.
Before we get there, I want to take a brief moment to examine what spiritual depression is once again. Personally, I don’t believe that depression is an emotion. Too often we try to equate depression with the emotion of sadness. Sadness is an emotion that we look to “cure” with things that will make us feel the emotion of happiness. Depression is not an emotion and it is not something that we can simply cure with the emotion of feeling happy.
My brother often describes depression as an “emptiness”. To his point, I agree, I feel like depression includes being emotionally suppressed, but also suppressed spiritually. I feel that when we are depressed, we don’t even have the energy to be sad, mad, angry, or happy. So, in my mind, there’s just no way that we can suddenly introduce happiness to ourselves or others and expect to suddenly come out of depression. I feel like this is why we, mankind, struggle so much with spiritual depression.
The next issue: we overlook our soul (our spirit) when it comes to dealing with depression. Again, I am no professional in this matter, but I feel like this is greatly missed. Our soul is not meant to feel as if it is empty. Unfortunately, we continue to try to solve spiritual problems with worldly tools – that’s not going to work. Naturally, our souls should be filled with joy and so our soul constantly craves to be filled with joy. We attempt to fill this craving by worldly means, but the soul rejects, for the most part, what excites the flesh. Maybe reject is too final of a word here for this thought.
The soul is temporarily excited and we feel this joy and believe we are happy. Yet, the soul is not satisfied with that temporary joy that we have brought to it. In this case, our soul is a lot like our stomach, in that we hunger and eat, but hours later, the stomach will go back to growling again. Our spirit is constantly hungry for joy, and the world is only able to temporarily fill it with any kind of joy. So, in other words, the world can not satisfy the craving of the soul.
So, what can satisfy our soul if not the world? Scripture tells us
For He satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungry soul with goodness.
Psalm 107:9 NKJV
I want you to know that the ‘He’ mentioned here in this scripture is Go; it is God that satisfies (fills) the longing soul. God can fill the longing soul because the soul came from Him in the first place. The soul is the piece of God that is inside of all of mankind (Genesis 2:7). To me, it makes great sense that God would be the only one to know how to doctor on His own creation and soul. Though we have tarnished the soul, our Lord definitely knows what it is that satisfies that soul.
Am I saying that those who believe God fills there soul is always full? Does this mean that the faithful are never depressed? You will recall my answer to these type of questions in the previous chapter: depression does not care if you are of faith or not. However, those of genuine faith in the Lord is better suited to be able to handle and swim with depression. Those who are better connected with their soul, I believe, are better able to handle and swim in their depression. Therefore, we have to learn how to connect with our soul so that we can be better suited to handle depression
How do we learn how to swim in our depression instead of drown in our depression? I believe the idea of swimming in a pool, or a lake is a good metaphorical comparison to having to deal with depression. Personally, my level of experience with swimming is not too great. I can get from one end of the pool to the other end, if the distance is not great. If the distance is great and I end up in deep water, I would be in serious trouble! Maybe some of you are in the same shape as me, so hopefully this all makes some kind of sense as I begin explaining the metaphor.
Really good swimmers never fight the water, do they? They have learned how to control their breathing and their fear of ever drowning. The really good swimmer is never hesitant about jumping into the water- they simply dive in. On the other hand, there is the fearful swimmer that is afraid of the water and fights the water. I remember being a child, taking swimming lessons in preschool, and how the other kids would fight the water. Unfortunately, I never completed those swimming lessons because my family moved and I no longer attended that daycare.
The one thing I do know about swimming is that you can’t learn to ever swim if all you do is fight the water. To even be able to float, one has to understand that they are not going to drown, and then allow their body to float. I have done a decent bit of talking about swimming in water because, as I said before, I feel it is a wonderful metaphor for living with depression.
Depression is a lot like that pool or that lake, and all of us are in that same pool or lake – by all of us, I mean everybody. Some of us are able to swim in this lake; we can do all of the Olympic swimming strokes. Some of us cannot swim quite well, and so we begin to fight the waters just to stay afloat. The goal for us is to learn how to not only float, but to learn how to kick our feet and swim.
We must first look into the mirror and do some deep spiritual meditation on our own soul. We are so far behind when it comes to focusing on things spiritually and meditating on our own soul. Trust me when I say spiritual meditation is good for you. People often mock the Asian culture in that they practice spiritual meditation – I believe they are on to something. Why have we gotten away from taking things spiritually serious? Our neglect of focusing on things spiritual in nature does us more harm than it does us good, and I believe spiritual meditation can certainly help us when it comes to dealing with spiritual depression.
The idea of “pushing” others away sounds terrible at first glance. There is nothing wrong if you are pushing people away so that you can spiritually meditate on your soul. Spiritual meditation is a great way to recharge not only your body but a great way to recharge your soul. I do believe that we all need each other, and that we should all keep each other as well. However, as crazy as pushing others away might sounds, spiritually speaking, this is a really good thing to do.
I’m a very spiritual person and so I believe in some things that others may believe is crazy. I believe we can effect others by just being in their presence. I also feel that we can sense the kind of spirit that is in somebody by just looking at them. Don’t believe me?
Here’s what Jesus says in scripture:
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.
Matthew 12:35-36 NKJV
The heart is the soul (spirit). A good man stores up good treasure in his soul and he brings forth that good treasure. An evil man, like the good man, stores us treasure in his soul, but the treasure he stores up in his soul is evil. An evil person cannot bring forth good things, as a good person cannot bring forth evil things.
Though we may not know what is in the hearts of man, we can certainly see and, I believe, feel what is in their heart. You can just feel when you’re in the presence of someone with a genuinely good spirit; their spirit is the good kind of infectious and can even help to lift up the spirits of those around them. They make everybody around them feel great, not because they are emotionally happy, but because they are genuinely good people.
An infectious spirit – all of us have an infectious spirit. I believe that all of us have the ability to affect those around us through our connecting spirits. When you are talking to someone, or you’re in the presence of someone, you are connecting with them not only physically but spiritually as well.
You will recall from my previous chapter, that I described depression as a demon. A demon, we should all know, is of the spiritual realm and not of this physical world. What this means is that the demon interacts with us on a spiritual level. Demons can come into contact with us, spiritually, and corrupt our infectious spirits. Instead of us spreading good cheer through our infectious spirit, we can begin to spread the disease of our corrupted spirit. Let’s not get too hung up on the word corrupted because anything outside of the spirit being joyful could be considered corrupted.
What am I trying to say? I believe it is possible for that demon, called depression, to jump and move from spirit to spirit (person to person). This certainly sounds bad at first, but let’s keep diving into this thought. Does this mean that if I am depressed that I should stay away from others? If I am not depressed, should I stay away from those that are depressed? We can’t help but interact with people, right? None of us are living on our own planet or inside of a bubble so the answer is no – we have to swim with others. That said, there are some times where we do need our own space and there is nothing wrong with this – so long as we are not physically harming ourselves.
For the spirit that is heartbroken and depressed: alone time will work wonders. I want you to know that when I say “alone”, nobody is ever really alone because God is always there with us. For whatever reason, we think that we have to take on everything without any spiritual assistance. Let me tell you this: stop believing you have to take on everything by yourself – especially spiritually. The believer should be encouraged to take some physical alone time and be with the Lord in spiritual meditation.
James says (James 4:8) that when we draw near to God, He draws nearer to us. The best way to draw closer to the Lord is for us to isolate ourselves with Him in our spirit. You may think this is impossible but we see this happen throughout scripture with some very prominent men in the bible.
Let’s look at Elijah, who suffered from a great form of depression. Elijah’s depression was brought on by this idea he had of being the “only prophet” of God. Elijah was depressed for himself and even his fellow people that would not repent. So, in a way, he suffered from the feeling of being alone (lonely) and in the empathy he had for his people. Let’s say that depression is the same demon for all of us, but there are different things that can bring on our depression. I want to tell you that Elijah’s depression was so great that he prayed to God to take his life (1 Kings 19:4).
To combat Elijah’s depression, God had him leave Israel and travel to Horeb (1 Kings 19:5-8). So that you can undrestand the distance of Elijah’s isolation from Israel: it took Elijah forty days and forty nights to travel on foot from Israel to the mountain of God (Mount Sinai). If you have one of those maps at the back of your bible, you will see that Horeb was and is a great distance from the land of Israel.
When Elijah got to the mountain, the Lord asked, “what are you doing here?” God wanted to hear from the lips of Elijah his plea. I want you to understand this: God already knows our needs, but we still must draw near to Him, and show our faith in that we know it is He who supplies our every need. As soon as Elijah told God what he needed, we see that the Lord supplied Elijah exactly what he needed.
We must learn how to isolate ourselves with God. Through spiritual meditation, we should focus on what is causing our depression, and then talk with God about what is ailing us. This is the very first step we should take when it comes to learning how to heal our wounded and depressed spirit. Even Jesus tells us that we should look to isolate ourselves – go into our closet (or room) and shut the door was His exact words. Understand that sometimes you have to get away from people and their spirit, and even all of the mess that is in your life. Jesus said:
But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
Matthew 6:6 NKJV
Meditation is prayer, my friends and it is the strongest spiritual tool we personally possess. Unfortunately, many of us continue to try to fight our depression without the Lord and we end up finding out that the fight is very difficult. The fight, I believe, is a difficult one because the fight is a spiritual battle we simply aren’t suited to physically fight a spiritual battle. It is also hard for us to fight a fight that we do not fully understand. We cannot fight a spiritual battle without the Lord. So, why not turn to the One who understands all things with full knowledge?
People try to make “being alone” out to be a terrible thing. When times are tough, we should certainly not push the ones who love us away – that is what we are taught. Understand this: we love God so while we certainly should never “push away the ones we love”, we should never push God away. We should have some alone time with the Lord; meditate on our spirit and then focus on Him.
In your depression, I suggest you go into your room, shut the door, and spend some alone time with the Lord. I encourage you to meditate on your spirit. Meditate on what is causing your spiritual depression, then talk to God about what is ailing your spiritually.