By Bill Gaultiere
Soul Shepherding Moments, © 2013
Last night I fell into a dark hole, a pit of depression. I didn’t see it coming. This bad mood came out of nowhere and pulled me down into a dark discouragement. Have you ever felt this way?
Yesterday was actually a good day. For instance, I began the day with an hour in solitude on my morning run, enjoying the bright morning sun, the beauty of the lake, praying for my family, and memorizing a chapter of Scripture. In counseling appointments and a prayer meeting with ministry leaders I was honored to join in Christ’s work and sensed him using me to minister his care, wisdom, and encouragement. I was blessed to share in a wonderful dinner with Kristi and her mom in which we celebrated Mom’s birthday and mine too.
How Did I Fall into a Pit of Depression?
Where did this pit of depression come from? Maybe it started at the end of my run when I had pain in my knee and I became afraid that three months of training for my upcoming marathon would be wasted. Maybe I was weighed down more than I realized by absorbing the pain of others or engaging in spiritual warfare on behalf of a ministry that’s under attack for sharing Christ in China. I know that I felt disrespected when a friend cut short our conversation, but I thought I had worked that through. I know I’ve been reflecting a lot on turning 50 years, but mostly this has been positive.
It wasn’t until later in the evening that I fell into the foul mood. I was trying to catch up on paperwork, scheduling a number of ministry events, and dealing with some administrative issues for our ministry and family that involved getting organized and making decisions…
As I was working at my desk I started muttering complaints. I can’t catch up. I’ll never catch up! I just can’t handle this stuff and I’m not good at this stuff. Kristi expressed her concern for me, rubbing my shoulders and offering to listen to me, but I distanced myself. Why would I say no to love? Why would I chose to wallow in my dark pit alone?
That’s the pit of depression.
Praying with the Psalmist
I was tired. We said some short prayers and soon I was asleep. The Psalmist prays, “On my bed I think of you Lord through the watches of the night… Answer me quickly before my spirit fails — rescue me from this pit!… Yes, the Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want anything else.” (Psalm 63:6, 143:7, 23:1, paraphrased and blended).
Thank God for Psalm Prayers! Sometimes the only way I can pray effectively is to grab a hold of some words like these from the Psalms and hold on for dear life! This is what I did, particularly in the early morning hours as I lingered in bed, drifting in and out of sleep.
Then I woke up, not just physically, but spiritually. I sat up on the edge of my bed with clear vision. I hadn’t just fallen into the pit I’d been pushed in there! I will not be discouraged about my challenges or about getting older. I will not be deterred from my prayer as I turn 50, “O God, show me how I can best reveal Christ to the people in my circle of influence in whatever time I have left on earth.”
Christ is our Shield in Spiritual Battle
With courage and determination I engaged in spiritual warfare and prayed:
I stand beneath the cross of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. His blood flows over me and washes me of all my sin. He has risen from the dead, conquered all evil powers, and set me free to live in the kingdom of the heavens now and forever. He has embraced me in the love of the Father and breathed the Holy Spirit into me. I take refuge in Christ and resist all dark deceptions and condemnations of Satan.
Christ before me. Christ behind me. Christ beside me. Christ above me. Christ is my foundation. Christ is all around me. Christ is my shield. The name of Christ is in my heart and on my lips. I go forward in the mighty name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is my all and all! He is my reason for living, my love, my joy, my peace, my power. He is my victory. He is the victory for each person I meet. Amen.
As I prayed I felt the Holy Spirit warm my body and lift my spirits. I experienced the joy of the Lord return to me. The Good Shepherd rescued me from the pit of depression.
My friend, I pray that you would find refuge in Christ today and that his joy would permeate your body and soul. I pray that you would go forward to face your challenges today in the mighty name of the Lord Jesus Christ. May you be blessed by God to be a blessing to others today.
Reprinted with permission from SoulShepherding.org
Bill Gaultiere, Ph.D. and his wife Kristi Gaultiere, Psy.D. are founders of Soul Shepherding, a 501c3 nonprofit ministry. As counselors, spiritual mentors, speakers, and retreat leaders since 1987 they facilitate intimacy with Jesus for pastors and all kinds of ministry leaders from around the world. Bill is the author of You Can Live in Jesus’ Easy Yoke. You can sign up to receive his soul care messages by e-mail, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or LinkedIn.