“She girds herself [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task] and makes her arms strong and firm.”
Depression can cause spiritual, mental and physical exhaustion. I saw a television advertisement that said, “Depression hurts.” Yes, it does because we can become paralyzed literally in our thinking, becoming so low that some have attempted to take their lives because of it.
Depression is a tool that the enemy uses to stop progress in our thoughts. Thoughts of past hurts, of family woes, financial concerns, and abusive relationships can all take their toll on an already weak mind. When I say weak it is because depression seems to hit hardest when we’re feeling down about ourselves already, low self-esteem and self-hatred dealt cold hands. Sometimes it can go unnoticed, and it might have succeeded if had not been for the ultimate battle that came to claim its victim.
Today I want to talk about THE CAST DOWN SPIRIT, because it is the in-between area that blends in with the happiest of times and the worst of times. However, it is the most hurtful because it is here that this silent enemy almost always wins unless we find strength to fight it. Depression is the number one cause of disability in women, but it affects men as well. We need to talk about it because there are some who even in this day and age with all the medical treatments and therapies available still find it hard to speak out that there is something wrong. This to me is the greatest tool that Satan uses against women and if you were brought up in an environment where secrets were kept makes it even harder to speak out. I want to go in-depth about this silent killer of good thoughts and see what the word is saying to us about gaining strength, but first let’s look at what thing really is doing to our minds.
Take a look:
What is Depression?
Minor depression is characterized by having symptoms for 2 weeks or longer that do not meet full criteria for major depression. Without treatment, people with minor depression are at high risk for developing major depressive disorders.
Some forms of depression are slightly different, or they may develop under unique circumstances. However, not everyone agrees on how to characterize and define these forms of depression. They include:
- Psychotic depression, which occurs when a person has severe depression plus some form of psychosis, such as having disturbing false beliefs or a break with reality (delusions), or hearing or seeing upsetting things that others cannot hear or see (hallucinations).
- Postpartum depression, which is much more serious than the “baby blues” that many women experience after giving birth, when hormonal and physical changes and the new responsibility of caring for a newborn can be overwhelming. It is estimated that 10 to 15 percent of women experience postpartum depression after giving birth.1
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is characterized by the onset of depression during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. The depression generally lifts during spring and summer.
- Bipolar disorder, also called manic-depressive illness, is not as common as major depression or dysthymia. Bipolar disorder is characterized by cycling mood changes—from extreme highs (e.g., mania) to extreme lows (e.g., depression).
Symptoms of depression include:
• Little interest or pleasure in doing things
• Feeling down, depressed or hopeless
• Trouble falling or staying asleep or sleeping too much
• Feeling tired or having little energy
• Poor appetite or overeating
• Feeling bad about yourself, that you are a failure or have let yourself or your family down
• Trouble concentrating on things, such as reading the newspaper or watching television
• Moving or speaking so slowly that other people could have noticed or the opposite in that you are so fidgety or restless that you
Have been moving around a lot more than usual
• Thoughts that you would be better off dead or of hurting yourself in some way
Women may be more likely to report certain symptoms, such as:
• Somatization (the physical expression of mental distress)
• Increases in weight and appetite
• Outwardly expressed anger and hostility
Sometimes these feelings may seem normal, especially when we don’t know anything of a calm environment or may have had them early on. They were noticed then at their first onset, but were unrecognized or ignored. I was 20 years old when I first experienced this sad feeling. As I look back on it now it came in with the thought, “I should be married now.” Wow, what a difference time has made and what a blessing when wisdom comes…Thank you God, Amen. More lessons, yet more wisdom to go.
“Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the help of my [sad] countenance, and my God.”
Even David was faced with depression because he asks himself, “Why are you cast down, O my inner self?”
Cast down means to be depress or as/like sinking and this verse gives us where this is taking place in our spirit (KJV says soul). It’s a very hurt feeling that comes along with thoughts but when first experienced it comes on so suddenly that one has to question why? Sometimes there doesn’t have to be anything going on and there it is. It’s reminds me of someone who is baffled about something and cocks their head to one side because they’re trying to figure it out but can’t quite pinpoint it, that’s the response to it; bewilderment.
“And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me?”
I want to point out here two other words that can help us to relate to this condition because sometimes we become sorrowful in our spirit and can’t explain it. We are blessed that God has given us the wisdom to seek after the Him…we should want to know more, because He is showing up the enemy tactics. David use some solemn words to describe what he is feeling.
Moan: the Strong’s dictionary describes it this way, it’s clamorous, to make a loud sound, rage, tumultuous. There’s this episode of “I love Lucy” where Lucy, Ricky, Fred, and Ethel are traveling to California and they have car trouble to stop over at this little rinky dink gas/motel/diner. It’s the middle of the night and their starved and have no other choice but to stay over in this run down roach motel. They pay for sandwiches and the only room available so that the 4 have to share it. While the owner is outside trying to fix their car, they then find out that the cheese on the sandwiches is like rubber so they have to go hungry. So they go to their room and try to get some sleep, but the beds are a mess and uncomfortable, and then when they finally do manage to calm themselves enough to rest a loud train comes through which causes the beds to vibrate and move to the center of the room. Then they try to leave the place and find that their steering wheel has been stolen, and the owner just happens to have one just like theirs for sale; that’s a bad day. Similarly, that scene you’ve just witnessed is what it’s like when we can’t control our thoughts and emotions…seems that everything around us spiraling out of control.
David questions his downcast spirit and then he tells it the solution and what he will do, he says, “Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the help of my [sad] countenance, and my God.”
This is important because this moment of questioning and decision is where Satan uses our sin against us…this is where some will run back to the sin that so easily besets…alcohol and other substance, adultery, promiscuity. Remember that the purpose of the downcast spirit is to tie you up and force you back into to bondage; or keep you there if you aren’t delivered but have walking that way.
Where are we headed?
It’s either sink or swim, because we can choose to give in to this trick of the enemy or seek God in the middle of the sinking sand. We can either lay on the couch of the enemy or seek God through this sea of sadness so He can bring us to a place of wealth in our minds. Yes, I say wealth because if we are depressed then something has been severed from the promise of God. So it is the thought of where we are headed that seems most important at this point, so let’s look at the word of God:
“She girds herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task] and makes her arms strong and firm.”
I have to tell you that when I look at the Proverbs 31 woman the way for the woman of God seems auspicious or favorable because God has given us a clear picture of what we will be like as we follow Him to wholeness. But this picture to me or could seem to others who haven’t attained this promise yet…a far reach. I believe that with all else we have to conquer being wives, mothers, students, etc., that we have to be whole in our minds to be anywhere near this woman portrayed here, this is impossible when we are weak in our minds; and most certainly cast down in our spirit. Where are we headed?
To “Gird, “means to put on something, look at this:
Proverbs 31:17, says, “she girds herself with strength in all areas of need.” the result is that she then becomes fit for her God given task. So that we see it as impossible to gain the type of strength needed for anything unless it is God given.
In all areas of need that are spiritual, mental, and physical. It’s not easy to take time to rest and do all that is expected of us as wives mothers, and employee not to mention if we’ve embarked upon other ventures of independence…”you’ve come along way baby” then has improved avenues of wealth not only has also added to diverse thinking but has brought about stress where there was none before. So if we haven’t gotten ahead or bettered ourselves in terms of that career profession or education then chances is that this too has become more of a hindrance than a help…has this become a cause of dissension in our mind?
Get help for your mind. Putting on strength means that we seek out those things to help us in our daily life. Some think that more money will solve the problem, and that may be so but if we are weak in any one of the three areas, I need to mention money will not help. Our source of strength has to be more powerful than we are. Seek God for your spiritual needs.
Here’s some other help:
1. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – With Help Comes Hope
2. Depression Center: Symptoms, Causes, Medications, and Therapies
3. 1on1health.com: Depression
Praying for sound mind and good thinking….be in peace.