Fortnight Friday. I was very excited because it’s our connect group meeting! The reason I get thrilled with connect group meetings is that I believe that our huddles are not just fellowship with the believers of Jesus but an appointment with God Himself, the Holy Spirit.
This was our first small group get-together after my birthday. To my surprise, my group mates set up a birthday dinner for me. They brought cakes, pancit, and my wife brought shanghai spring rolls. Everyone in the group greeted me and asked about the things that I was thankful for the year. I told them that I had a lot of things to thank God for, but If I’m going to choose one, it was victory over my anxieties.
I confessed that overcoming depression was the hardest test I faced so far. I shared stories about mornings when I woke up trembling in fear. I shared how I started each day with an intense burden in my heart. I shared how I constantly asked my wife to tell me if I was going insane. I guess what made the experience with depression extremely difficult was the reality that I have nothing to worry about. It was all in my head, and it was scary. Very scary.
This opened the discussion about mental health in the group. There were eight people in the meeting that night, and four of us confessed that we experienced depression one way or another. It’s good to know that I was not alone in this psychological and emotional struggle. I read and watched people share about mental health before, but personally meeting people who dealt with depression gave me encouragement.
I’m not going to write about everything that we discussed but I’m going to share my key takeaways from our group’s discussion.
1. There’s nothing to be ashamed of.
We all agreed that going through a mental health problem is not something to be ashamed of. A lot of people go through it. Research says 1 out of 4 people experiences anxiety attacks. If you think you’re depressed, don’t hide it. Talk to your friends. It’s okay.
2. Seek professional help.
I didn’t seek professional help, and I regret it. I feel okay now, but I’ll make an appointment with a specialist soon. I want to get more information about what I went through so I could help others win over mental and emotional issues as well. Every psychological issue is different. Non-mental health professionals wouldn’t be able to analyse emotional and mental problems. It’s best to check with an expert.
3. Seek a support group.
My family gave me the support that I needed when I was going through mental issues. I also sent a message to my connect group leader about my worries. She prayed for me and provided words of encouragement.
Some friends can provide excellent support during difficult times but make sure you open to people who are close to you. There were friends who judged me when I reached out to them.
4. Remember God.
God said He will not allow any challenge that we cannot overcome. Have faith in that. The Bible says that believing God doesn’t exempt us from hardship, but we can expect His empowerment during tough times. When our anxiety gets the better of us, read the Bible and dwell on God’s promises. If we keep the faith in difficult times, we will surely celebrate with God in good times.
5. Don’t quit. Sometimes it feels like our prayers are unanswered. It seems like the pain has no end. Even if it looks like there’s no solution to the problem, don’t quit. Just hang in there. God is a God of seasons and in His perfect time, He will let this season of hurt cease. Keep praying. Don’t stop reading your Bible. Never forsake the assembly of believers. The season of abundance will come soon! The Bible says:
New International Version (NIV) 1
5 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.
We are called to encourage one another in faith. Let’s be mindful of our actions and focus on becoming a blessing to people. We can’t tell if a person is going through a war within so let’s aim to put a smile on people’s faces today!
Thank you for reading this devotional story and I pray that it encouraged and empowered you in your walk with Christ. Please read other devotional stories on the website. You might find Change Your Mind, Cry, Depressing Demons, Failed!, Fear is an Illusion, I Can't Do This Anymore, and These Hard Times interesting.
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