< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Stay Alive All Your Life - Part 9

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Stay Alive All Your Life - Part 9

Chapter 11 – Lift Your Depression and Live Vitally

British weather forecasts are a little different. A typical one might be “cloudy, rain, fog, with occasional bright intervals.” This, unfortunately, describes many lives too. But, this is one climate we can control.

Depression may be serious or mild. The marks of serious depression are a perpetual sadness, slow reaction of mind and body and bitter self-criticism. And a person suffering like this would need profound therapy. But this chapter is about mild depression, which is much more common. In fact 1 out of 3 people suffer from mild depression. These symptoms are discouragement, loneliness, feelings of inferiority and just getting no fun out of life. These are people who say “Oh, what’s the use.”

An effective cure for depression is the practice of hope. And it’s very similar to what he suggested for joy. Get up in the morning and say, “This is going to be a great day!” If you think and say hopeful things eventually it will force out all depression. Your mental attitude is very much affected by the words you say. (And you have to substitute good thought for bad. Don’t leave your mind empty!)

This section goes on to say we also need body, mind and soul revitalization. Right eating, right exercising, right thinking, right praying, right living. Replace every weak thought with a strong one, every negative thought with a positive one, every hate thought with a loving one and every gloomy thought with a lifted one.

Dr. Peale suggests actually writing down your thoughts and reading them to see if they are creative or destructive. Then go about replacing the destructive ones.

Everyone gets depressed sometimes. Many have absolute despair. But when you let go to God and He takes hold, great things happen.

JC Penney made a great fortune. Then he lost much of it, went into debt and suffered a nervous breakdown. He actually was in a sanitarium. One night he was certain it was going to be his last night on earth and he wrote farewell letters to his family. He felt totally alone and totally beaten. But to his surprise, he was still alive the next morning! He lay in bed and heard voices singing a hymn. He got up and went down the hall and a religious service was being held and people were singing, “Be not dismayed whate’er betide, God will take care of you.” And he thought, “I was reared a Christian. Will God take care of me?” He went back to his room and in a moment of complete surrender gave his life to God. And the fog began to lift. In the days that followed he felt deep joy. Life and zest returned. He started traveling around talking about what God can do for human beings and became one of the most constructive men in the U.S.

So…turn to God. But then care for people like God cares for them. The Bible says love is the greatest. You won’t be lonely if you are really interested and love others. You won’t be bored and alone if you volunteer.

Love and help people and you will be happy your whole life, even when life is painful and hard. Love God and love people – the 2 greatest commandments.

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