The heat has zapped all my energy and once again I am sick. My nerves are shot and my emotions are raw. Yesterday our water was off and now we have no electricity. I can’t help but think how easy and comfortable life was in the States. I had great dreams of being a great global worker but nothing has turned out the way I had hoped. I have fallen so short of my aspirations. Learning this language seems impossible, the hours of language study unending. I want to be out there serving the people, but instead, I find myself coming up with excuses to stay home. I have lost all zeal. Why can’t I be the woman God wants me to be? Why can’t I be content and grateful for all that He has blessed me with? I long to seek God wholeheartedly and to serve Him with a joyful spirit, but instead, depression seeps into my being and I can’t seem to fight it.
But as I sit here feeling sorry for myself, the scene from our balcony catches my attention. A woman sits on the side of the street selling her food in the blazing hot sun as beads of sweat roll down her cheeks. At that instant, our fan in its rotation blows cool air on my face. She sits on a small wooden stool with nothing to rest her weary back. My cushioned chair mocks my weary bones. Then laughter from a child draws my attention to the other side of the street. It is the same child that politely greets us every time we come home, always offering a helping hand. He sits next to his family’s gas pump serving customers all day, sleeping by it at night. Scars on his face–marks of voodoo–clash with the smile he so readily gives. Each morning he watches as children his own age walk past him on their way to school. He must stay behind to help his family. Memories of a carefree, fun-filled childhood prick my conscience. The woman and the child don’t know that they have a God in heaven who loves them, a God who can heal their hurts and give them strength.
There is a village not far from here that has come to know our God. As they meet under a tree lifting their voices to their newfound Father, joy radiates from their faces. I have come to realize God has used me to bring joy into that place despite my inability to fluently speak their language. He has used me despite all my failures and shortcomings. I don’t have to be a “Super Global Woman” to be used by God. He takes me as I am.
For the boy, for the woman I don’t even know, I am going to do everything I can to defeat this dark depression that threatens to overtake me. For them, I will do whatever it takes to fill my heart with the joy that God has already promised me.
“God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them… show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure.” (Hebrews 6:10-11)
“We must not grow tired of doing good. We will receive our harvest of eternal life if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (I Peter 5:10)
Tried and True Anti-Depressants
Pray! Pray! Pray!
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:29-31)
It gives energy and is a natural stress reliever.
Talk to a friend.
Even call the States if you need to. Sometimes it just helps to have someone to talk to.
Read Victory Over Darkness by Neil Anderson.
This book has great insights into depression and how to defeat it.
Eat healthily and cut the caffeine.
Diet can really affect your moods!
Keep a journal.
Sometimes writing can help you sort through your thoughts and feelings.
Play with a child.
Children can bring joy even on the darkest day.
Take a break!
Take time to get away to rest and be refreshed. It’s a necessity! Even Jesus took time to rest.
This article is a classic originally published in our early print magazines.