Monthly Archives: September 2014

10 Surefire Ways to Get Yourself Depressed – Part III

Living in Disguise, having a sense of Entitlement, being Prideful and Rebellious, Envious, Selfish, Stubborn, Insolent, taking too much ownership, and Narcissism are character traits that spell D.E.P.R.E.S.S.I.O.N. These traits lead to depression because they destroy relationships and tend to rob us of our need to be loved and accepted.

(9) OWNERSHIP: Taking ownership is usually a positive trait as it usually means we are taking responsibility for our lives. Yet this positive trait can lead to unintended negative consequences when we take ownership for those things that we have no business owning. Taking ownership of something we cannot reverse such as past mistakes is a losing battle since we cannot go back in time to fix them. It only leads to frustration and the propensity not to forgive ourselves.

The craziest things about taking ownership of your past sins is this: You are taking ownership of that which no longer exists. In Christ, your past sins have not simply being covered, they have been remitted. Another word for remitted is dispatched.

See, one of the many wonderful things about having a relationship with Jesus is that he has taken ownership for our sins. Every sin you have every committed or could ever commit has been placed on him. So please, do not take ownership of something that you no longer own. And please don’t mistake the consequences of your sin with having ownership of it.

All of us have to take ownership of the worldly consequence of our sins but the sins is no longer something that the Lord imputes to us. All sin is imputed onto Jesus once we accept Him in our lives

 

(10) NARCISSISM: Are you hypersensitive to less than glowing feedback? Do you tend to blame everyone else for your failures? Are you always looking to take credit for everything good around you. Does it always have to be your way or the highway? Is it all about how you feel and how it affects you? Do you lack empathy for the plight of others? If you answered yes to these questions, then you have some of the character traits of a narcissist.

If you have the traits of a narcissist, then your key words  are ‘let go and let God’.

Submitting ALL of your pain, your past, your hurts to God is the only way the fears, insecurities and trauma that leads you to want to control everything will ever be eradicated. Instead of comparing yourself to other people, a simple comparison of yourself to the holiness of God will lead to surrender. If you do not know what is in your heart that you need to submit to God, just ask the one’s that know you the most. Ask for their brutal honesty and listen with an open mind and heart.

Remember that the wounds of a friend are faithful but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful (Proverbs 27:6). I don’t know about you but I would rather be wounded now and heal than be trapped in the cage of self-deceit.

Acknowledging (confessing) that there is a problem is the first step to solving it. When you confess your faults instead of trying to defend them (and so deceiving yourself), you leave room for God to do His best work in your life.

Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the Lord, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you – Hosea 10:12

It is time to break up the fallow ground of our hearts so we can enjoy the best God has for us.

 

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10 Surefire Ways to Get Yourself Depressed – Part II

Part I of this blog discusses how living in Disguise, having a sense of Entitlement, foolish Pride, Rebellion against the truth, and Envy promote depression in our lives. Another 3 character traits that tend to alienate us and promote depression are as follows.

(6) SELFISHNESS: Selfishness makes it “all about us”. It is trait that comes out us when we operate out of fear and greed. Society has done a great job hiding this trait under a rug of vernacular. Instead of saying we are only thinking of ourselves, we say that we are acting independently. Instead of admitting that we looking out only for our own self-interest, we say that we are looking our for our own security.

Good relationships require give and take. With selfishness, there is no giving…there is only taking. This is why selfishness never results in happiness.

Nothing breaks that cycle of selfishness more than engaging in giving and serving others – especially when the person does not deserve it. Just try it today, go over to someone who does not deserve something and make their day. Watch the smile on their face; watch joy fill their heart as you tell them there is no catch. In truth, when we engage in ‘catch-less’ giving, we receive more than we bargain for. There is something about selflessness that fills us up with joy and happiness. Thus while selfishness sucks the life out of us, selflessness rewards us with the gift of life. So ask yourself how you can make someone’s day today. Then be intentional to make it happen.

If you do not believe me, then believe the wisest man who ever lived. Jesus said: Give and it shall be given unto you. If you want love and happiness in your life, give love and happiness.

(7) STUBBORNNESS: The difference between determination and stubbornness is the state of the heart from which the action comes. While determination is born out of good heart, stubbornness is born out of an evil heart. While determination is positive, stubbornness is negative.  Stubbornness is what makes us dig our heels in – sticking for things we know are not right. Stubbornness is what causes us to never admit our wrongdoing or our wrong ways of thinking.

Setting a wall up against the will of God , moving against his spiritual laws, and not admitting when we are wrong are surefire ways to be depressed. Just ask Judas Iscariot. He stubbornly set himself against Jesus even after it was clear to him that Jesus knew he going to betray him. The result: His ensuing deep anxiety and remorse led him to hang himself. Other stubborn guys we know of are Pharaoh of Egypt, King Saul, and Jonah. They all suffered for it.

Lets not be like all  these guys who suffered deep anxiety.  Let us not hang our joy and happiness on a tree. Let us be determined to do what is right and let us be quick to turn towards what is good. We ought to accept being called a flip-flopper and do what is right than be known as a resolute people who steadfastly drove their lives off into the gorge of remorse and anxiety just because they were trying to save their image.

To win yourself off stubbornness, remind yourself that you do not have to be right all the time.

(8) INSOLENCE: Being loud, rude, and otherwise obnoxious wins us no favors in life. In fact, it tends to alienate us from peaceable people in the society. It causes unnecessary dissension and strife.

Since birds of a feather flock together, it is highly unusual to find insolent people walking around with peaceful people. At some point, insolent people will be rude to one another and take offense. Hence, the end result of insolence is that we miss out on the joy our relationships should bring us. That in itself can cause us a deep sense of anxiety as the people we love to get out of dodge for their own peace of mind.

In other words, it is difficult for people to love you for you if you are rude, crude, loud, and obnoxious. If they do, they would rather love you for you at a distance. Thus, it will be difficult for you to walk in fellowship with others when you are insolent. Once fellowship is removed, watch out. You are prime candidate for negative thoughts and the other tricks of Satan. Don’t I say “I don’t need anybody”. Everybody needs somebody.

Friend, lets us remember that we are to exhort and speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19). Only then will we have positive and meaningful fellowship with one another.

 

 

 

 

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10 Surefire Ways to Get Yourself Depressed – Part I

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), roughly 18% of Americans suffer from anxiety disorders. The contributing factors that may promote depression are many. They include abuse, certain medications, conflict, death or loss, genetics, substance abuse, major events, and other personal problems. Additionally, factors such as our upbringing, our coping strategies, and our general view and outlook on life impact the possibility of us developing anxiety disorders.

Being a proponent of the “Prevention is Better than Cure” principle, I wonder how many cases of depression can be prevented if we learn the right copying strategies, have the right perspective on life, and perhaps avoid the character pitfalls that have the ability to drag is unto the dark pit of depression.

Just as an unhealthy lifestyle promotes many cases of obesity and cancer, there are some things that we should avoid if we want to reduce the likelihood of falling into depression. Here are 5 of 10 things we should avoid that promote D.E.P.R.E.S.S.I.O.N.

(1) DISGUISE: In masquerade parties, we wear masks and pretend to be people we are not. In real life, we tend to wear masks to hide who we truly are. Many times, it is because we are afraid of being a disappointment or are afraid of being rejected by people. Hence, fear is the main reason people where masks. For most of us, mask wearing is only meant for a particular audience – perhaps in our workplace or when around certain caliber of people. The problem comes when we are so deeply fearful that we no longer take off our mask – regardless of company, situation, or circumstance. We are in dangerous territory when no one around us really knows who we are. When this happens, we do not have real relationships but have developed illusions of relationships. We feel deep loneliness because no one know who we truly are though we may be surrounded by people. Many comedians wear masks and so suffer from depression.

A key to stop our mask wearing is to know that we have been accepted. Our acceptance does not come from who we are or what we do but from who God is and what He has done! So let us take off our mask and allow people to see the real us. We must leave the place that tells us we have to behave before we belong; we must go to the place where we first belong well before we behave. That place is at the feet of Jesus!

(2) ENTITLEMENT: When we feel entitled to something, we not only feel disappointed when we do not get it, we feel robbed and angered. We feel as if some grave injustice has been done against us. We feel the world is unfair and against us when we can do nothing about our perceived injustice. So we go around gloomy and sad with the weight of the world on our shoulders. A weight that we have placed there ourselves.

Perspective is what breaks the yoke of entitlement. From a biblical perspective, the only thing we are entitled to or deserve in this life is death! We know this because the bible says all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God; it says that the wages of sin is death! We must let go of whatever we feel entitled. We must learn to be glad for those things that we do have and are in the process of attaining. Only by living with a heart of gratitude will we see the little miracles that God places in our lives on a daily basis.

(3) PRIDE: I feel like cringing everything I hear someone say “My pride is all I have left“. I want to reply, “You pride is likely the reason you have nothing but pride left“. See, the bible says that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Why is pride so bad? It is because pride does not seek help from others. Pride says we can go it alone and ostracize people. Pride never admits any wrong-doing. Pride refuses to pardon but drinks the poison of unforgiveness. Pride convinces us we are the stud-muffin but then fails to pick us up when we fall. Pride cannot stand failure and is hard on us. Pride never wants to change course even if the course is leading us straight to the pit. Pride is the friend the betrays us in the end. Pride causes conflicts in our world and leads us to live the stressed life instead of the blessed life.

When we make it about pride, we make it about is. When we make it about humility, we make it about the greater good.

(4) REBELLION: We will never find the tree rebelling against the sun. No tree has ever decided not to bends itself towards the sun. Similarly, you will never find the fish rebelling against the water. Likewise, we should not rebel against the truth. A truth is something that remains unchanged regardless of time and circumstance. A truth about human beings is that we are relational beings – we were made to be in relationship with one another in love. The moment we lock ourselves away from all people in our hearts is the moment we begin to rebel against our need for companionship.

Just as it is hazardous for us to rebel against the law of gravity, we must not rebel against the spiritual laws governing faith, hope, and love. Rebelling against these spiritual law’s will lead to spiritual starvation and depravity and deep state of anxiety.

(5) ENVY: Nothing saps satisfaction faster than envy. We not only become dissatisfied with what we have, we become dissatisfied with God. Envy causes us to question how much God loves us. This is turn causes us to cheapen every blessing God has bestowed on us. Envy causes us to take our eyes off God and place is on other people; it is what causes us to keep up with the “Jones”. It leads to unhealthy competition with people who are not competing against us. In other words, it causes us to put undue pressure on ourselves to perform.

Instead of being envious, we must make a conscious decision to be happy with where we are and what we have. Even if our current situation is not the best, it does not have to stay that way. Remember that Joseph was not always in the pit but made it to the palace. Remember that David was not always running away from Saul but became a king. Instead of being envious, we must embrace our season of character development while awaiting our promotion in life. Moreover, we must make it a point to be happy for others. We must remember that God is no respecter of person’s. If he has done it for our neighbor, He can do it for us as well as we trust and follow Him.

 

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I Was Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places

An erroneous view of love will always lead us to look in the wrong places; it will cheat us out of the best life we were created to experience. If we go looking to satisfy our love craving from our spouses, children, parents, jobs, or possessions, then we end up disappointed. If we think that love is about feelings, emotions, and infatuation, then we have drunk the wine of lies that causes us to stagger and stumble. Rather than guess at love, it is best to see what the Scripture says about it. Without a scriptural understanding of love, what we end up believing in and showing is not love but simply components of love. Let me explain.

If someone shows us the horns of an elephant, that does not demonstrate that we have seen an elephant, nor does it demonstrate that an elephant doesn’t exist somewhere. All it tells us is that an elephant previously existed. Similarly, just because we are being shown acts (or parts and parcels) of love does not mean we are being shown love, for those acts may have been done out of fear and self-seeking. For love to be shown, the heart behind the actions must be pure. Analogous to the missing elephant, it is impossible to show and give what we do not have. Therefore, it is impossible to show and give love if God is missing in our lives and if we are operating in fear. So how do we make sure that what we have and are experiencing is love? The first step is to define love accurately. Although love can be described in many ways, here is the complete definition of love

Love = God = Word = Jesus = Holy Spirit

Here are the scriptures that help us come up with the equation:

1) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).
2) “And the Word became flesh (Jesus) and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
3) “But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And aft er it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God’” (Acts 5:3–4).
4) “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:8).

With regard to real love, this equation reveals that no human being can claim to love without having the presence of God in his or her life, a stumbling block for those that do not believe there is a God. It says that it is impossible to say that we have love in our lives without having Jesus in our lives, a stumbling block for the non-believer. In addition, it says we cannot claim to love God without loving his Word. We cannot say we are walking in love without walking in fellowship with Jesus through the Holy Spirit. Alas, any action we take that does not align itself with the Scripture is an act that is devoid of love. Any decision we make that is not inspired of the Holy Spirit does not fulfill the call to love.

Real love is not just satisfied that we “know about God” but requires that we “know God.”

 

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