The Bare Soul - April 14, 2013
Despair Turned Inside Out

Psalm 42:11 - Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.

Recently, I had a conversation with a friend who is in severe depression. He has been sober for a while and is still experiencing great depths of despair for no apparent reason. His life, on the outside, is headed in all the right directions. However, he has seemed to strayed and lost the joy of his salvation. I shared with this brother that I understand how depression and despair can be debilitating. I can recall the first five years after I sobered up from alcohol and drugs how I fought thoughts of suicide. Gradually, as time went on, I learned the importance of speaking to my soul and not allowing despair to find a place in my mind or heart. While this may sound impossible to some who are going through depression, it is possible with the help of God to overcome feelings of colossal hopelessness.

I remember when I tried to hide from my despair by alcohol and drugs. Of course, this just exacerbated the problem and when I got over my drunk or high, I was even more depressed. Then, I would often sleep around the clock, trying to hide from the awful feeling within. However, when I awoke, nothing had changed. When things did begin to change for me---after I allowed the Lord to take control of my  life once again---was when I started to make different choices that allowed me to feel better about myself. Before, without God in my life, there was a lack of power to even make a decision of this sort. I remember crying out to God and wanting Him to miraculously heal me of my depression and fill me with His joy. In hindsight, I see the lack of reality in this type of thinking. God can do this sort of thing, but He usually asks for our participation. Once I asked for help, and then began to make changes with His help and power, then I started to see things change. However, this would only happen through a change of conversation.

There is always a conversation happening within us all throughout our day. This conversation will inevitably determine the choices we make or do not make in regard to who we become. For years, I would say, "yes, but," to God. I would read from His word that "I was more than a conqueror" (Romans 8:37) but then I would disqualify this statement by thinking to myself, "Well, that is for those who have experienced God's miraculous change! I am still waiting for God's miracle!" Beloved, if I would have continued to wait for God's burning bush revelation in this area I might be dead by now, having been overwhelmed in my own self-pity and lack of faith. However, when I started moving toward this truth in God's word and began speaking to my soul that God is not a liar and I am what He said, then things started to change. I began to make choices that were commiserate with the expected change I desired. And you know what? Things began to change. I no longer had thoughts of self-destruction, but I began wanting God's presence and joy in my life by moving toward Him in faith. Through the promise of drawing near to God and Him drawing near to me (James 4:8), I overcame depression and started living in the victory He intended.

The amazing thing about speaking to ourselves the truths of God is how the Holy Spirit will partner with us, granting us more strength, power, and revelation to do more in faith. Unfortunately, if we are not allowing the Spirit of God to speak to our souls, then we are allowing the flesh and the devil to do so. Revelation will come from soaking in God's word and understanding His promises. Then, we must make a choice to act on the truth of God's word. When we know we have help in the Lord, then we are able to speak by the Holy Spirit with faith to our hearts. There is nothing more the enemy desires is to exclude God from the conversation. He desires to do all the talking and have us do all the listening. What we hear with our hearts is inevitably what we will end up doing with our lives.

The help of God's presence only comes through faith, and faith by the word of God (Romans 10:17). What are we listening to today? This will be the great determiner in what we do, beloved of God. Will we see the situation as hopeless, or will we praise God for the help of His presence as we allow God to speak life to our souls?

Heavenly Father, grant us insight regarding what it means to talk to our souls. Help those suffering great loss to experience great hope by learning to partner with the Holy Spirit and speak life to their souls. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,



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