So you've made it through the holidays...right? Some of us might say we barely made it through. Let's face it: this time of year can be very stressful. So although we're wearing a smile and partying with loved ones, many of us are simultaneously experiencing stress, sadness, or loneliness. When
family has gone back home and all the festivities are over, you may be left alone with your thoughts and an emptiness that you just can't shake.
I want you to know there is hope. Isaiah chapter 26 verse 3 is one of my favorite Bible verses. I cling to it when my mind isn't at peace, "You will keep him/her in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You." Did you know that you have a promise from God? He has promised all of us perfect peace. However, the condition is we must keep our minds focused on Him. I want to offer three simple ways to bring our thoughts back into alignment when depression starts to creep in, but first can I blow your mind with the most amazing definition of peace?
In the Hebrew text, the word for peace is "shalom" which means the following:
completeness, soundness, welfare, peace
completeness (in number)
safety, soundness (in body)
welfare, health, prosperity
peace, quiet, tranquillity, contentment
of human relationships
with God especially in covenant relationship
Okay so this pretty much covers every aspect of life. Shalom means completeness. I can make the verse even more personal by inserting my name in the text, "You will keep me (Candi) in perfect shalom (peace, completeness, health, contentment) when my mind is stayed on You." #1 This is actually my first encouragement for you: speak this verse throughout the day. Of course, you can find other scriptures to use, but the main goal is to have God's promises constantly on your mind. This daily exercise will begin to shift your perspective, your mood, and your physical health.
#2 Find 2-3 friends that you can pray with - often. These should be friends who will allow you to bare your soul without judgement. For example, I have two close friends (shout out to Lorie & Loreen) who I pray with at least 4 days a week...yes 4 days. During the most traumatic events in my life, these women were speaking life over me until the storm passed. I would recommend surrounding yourself with women who are operating at a high level of faith (we'll tackle this topic in another blog). You may wonder, what is a good amount of days to pray with someone? Well, if you want to make drastic changes in your physique, you might be in the gym 5-6 days a week. I would say praying at least 5 times a week when you're going through a rough season, is necessary for life change. Keep in mind, you can pray 15 minutes or 50 minutes. Be lead by God on how and when you pray - He is faithful.
#3 Finally, what worked for me during my battle with cancer or losing my mom is an encouragement that I would suggest for anyone: get active. Fitness has always been an area of weakness for me. However, when I was going through periods of depression, I would force myself to go get on the treadmill. Inevitably, every time I worked out, my mood changed. If I couldn't get to the gym, I would take a brisk walk while listening to something motivational. Although I am not as consistent as I would like to be yet, I can't deny the results of being physically active at least 3 days a week.
I pray that you are able to be in peace this season and that you start 2020 with this thought in mind: perfect peace, contentment, wholeness, and health are already yours. Go take what's yours!