Depression: Red Sky at Morning: Sailors take Warning, Red Sky at Night: Sailors Delight.

Ever suffer from depression? Or know someone who does?

Today I saw a facebook status that asked “Is happiness a choice?”  The responses varied and led to a discussion of depression & chemical imbalances and now resulted in this blog post.  Having once suffered from depression myself, I know what it’s like going to counselor after counselor, taking medication after medication, drinking, drugging, and trying to fill the void inside of me in all the wrong ways. I desperately looked for relief from self-help books, people, and doctors.  Here is what I have found to be true and what finally took care of my depression FOR GOOD.

My answer to the question posed in the facebook status “Is happiness a choice?” was this: Happiness is based on what “happens,” JOY is an internal peace and excitement that only comes from Jesus. Therefore, I can have joy unspeakable even when I’m not “happy” about what’s going on around me. Joy changes your perspective on what “happens.”

So yes, I guess it is a choice. The choice lies in our spiritual perspective. If we are looking only to the natural, or attempting to fix our “unhappiness/depression” in only natural ways, the solution will only be temporary. Lasting freedom from depression requires a spiritual approach. Here is a great PDF article that explains it beautifully… click here

So what about depression medications? Medications can be helpful to level out chemical levels, while learning to apply the spiritual principles. But I don’t believe medication is the permanent solution. The Bible teaches that we are spirit, soul and body (1 Thess 5:23). They are interconnected and when we are not trusting God with our circumstances (spirit) it affects our soul (mind, will, emotions – anxiety, worry, etc) and then in it manifests in our body (heart palpitations, high blood pressure, digestive issues, ulcers, chemical imbalances, etc.) So by learning to trust God in our circumstances (spirit), we can stop the corresponding chemical effects on our soul and body.

Is it really that easy?… NO. Learning to trust God takes TIME and EFFORT.

First of all, none of us comes to know God unless He first draws us to Himself (John 6:44.) Perhaps reading this blog post is what God is using to draw you right now? He uses many ways to get our attention. In my own life, I can look back and clearly see God placing certain people, certain mail advertisements (for a new church) in my path as His way of getting my attention to turn toward Him. Once I realized it was Him, I made the choice to give my life to Him. (click here to learn how to do that)

Once you’ve made the choice to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you now must take the responsibility to get to know Him. Just like with any new relationship, you must spend time with Him. You do this by getting in the Word (the Bible) for it tells us in John 1:1 that “… the Word was God.”  You should also get involved in a life-giving church that teaches you how to apply the Word to your life. (not all churches do this. Some are just going through religious motions. Choose wisely.) Being part of a church family will also help you develop Christian friendships which will help you grow. The Bible tells in Proverbs 27:17 that “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Then when you have times of difficulty and have trouble trusting God, you have friends that can encourage you and help you see things from God’s perspective.

This past week, God gave me a vision of a pink sky and I heard Him saying: Red Sky at Morning: Sailors take Warning, Red Sky at Night: Sailors Delight. When I asked Him what He was trying to tell me He said this: The red sky represents difficult circumstances.  And when the circumstance first appears (red sky in the morning) it is frightening and overwhelming. We must heed the warning and recognize the storm, and take responsibility to approach it from God’s perspective.  If we do not, it has the potential to shipwreck us and lead us to sink into the great abyss (deep depression.)  And just like sailors take added precautions when they see the red sky in the morning, we must too. When we trust God, get in the Word, encourage ourselves in the Lord, ask for prayer from others, and give Him praise in spite of the situation, suddenly our perspective will change and AT THE END OF THE DAY (red sky at night,) we will be able to DELIGHT in midst of it, knowing that God is allowing it to do an inward work in us and that He will turn all things to the good for those that love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

I found this description of the “red sky” phrase on-line:  A reddish sunrise, caused by particles suspended in the air, often foreshadows an approaching storm, which will be arriving from the west, within the day. Conversely, a reddish sunset often indicates that a storm system is on the east side (opposite the sunset), travelling away from the viewer.

You can learn to rest assured that the storm shall soon pass, and God is always in control. It’s all about perspective.

So is happiness a choice? I say yes.

He has chosen you and is drawing you to Himself. Will you make the choice to follow Him today?

(Afternote: I understand that the word “choice” can bring controversy. The comments attached to this post bring up some great additional points to this topic. Please be sure to read the comments after this post, and feel free to share your thoughts as well.)


About Mary L'Esperance Held

6 Responses to Depression: Red Sky at Morning: Sailors take Warning, Red Sky at Night: Sailors Delight.

  1. schelljy says:

    So if it is all about perspective, all you need to do is change your reality? Reality is not real and does not matter. Just simply shuffle the deck a bit and move on? Well, I hear that alot. I am a Christian. I trust God. I am severly depressed. What I cannot understand is this perception is reality. Change your perseption, change your reality. Doesn’t God work with facts? I can just choose to change facts and it’s ok? I think that is a bit of a load. Is happiness a choice? sometimes yes and sometimes no. We have no control over others and circumstances. Ask someone who has lost a child, or is facing a huge challenge that they will not overcome. Yes, eventually they will find peace, and that will allow joy and some happiness. By golly – its not always a choice.

    • Hi schelljy, thanks for your honesty and transparency. I understand your frustration with my posting and I’m sorry to hear you are struggling with depression. When I first saw the facebook status that I wrote about, I struggled with it because I hate the word “choice.” Its a LOADED word. It can tend to imply more than is intended. It can imply that someone “desires” something when that couldn’t be further from the truth. Who would choose unhappiness???? But yet, is there anything we can do to be happy? Is there anything we can “choose” that would lead us to happiness? One of the people in the thread of discussion asked “Why do some choose not to be happy?” My response was: “They are ignorant that they have a choice.” I know I was. Like your statment above about huge challenges that people will not overcome, some do not think they have a choice and don’t believe they can ever make any attempts to be free. Now I realize I was not a Christian at the time I was initially depressed. But even after becoming a Christian, the depression didn’t lift until I made one choice…. not a choice to be happy, but a choice to allow God to change my perspective. I couldn’t change anything… not even my perspective. Only God can heal that. Yet even after I made the “choice” (in other words: set my will in agreement with God that the way I was feeling was not a healthy response to lifes trials) I still had to seek help to get there. It was a long painful process. God used preaching / teaching/ worship / studying and prophetic prayer ministry to heal me from the inside to conform my perspective to His. The only choice I had to make was the initial one that said: I CAN’T DO THIS BUT I BELIEVE YOU CAN AND I KNOW YOU WILL. The minute we are convinced that our challenge is so great that it can never be overcome, we are choosing (there’s that “choice” again) not to believe that God is bigger than our challenge. The facts may never change. People may never change. And you are right, we have no control over others. Our peace and joy cannot be based on things we can’t control, it must come from within. That way, when bad things happen, our peace and joy overrides what “happens” (the root of happiness/unhappiness). Not that those thing still don’t hurt, but we can grow to avoid plummetting into the deep pit of dispair that we once did. I hope this helps. Like I said, I hate the word “choice.” I know for a fact that no one would choose unhappiness or depression. Many feel stuck, but there is hope. If you’re in the Atlanta area let me know. I can connect you to some great people who can help.

    • I should also add that part of the “choice” I had to make during my process was to forgive many people who had wronged me, and forgive myself for past mistakes. However, prior to someone revealing this to me, I didn’t even realize how much unforgiveness and anger I had buried deep within. The unforgiveness alone was like a spiritual cancer inside of me that caused major chemical imbalance. It was difficult to choose to forgive, but God is faithful. Once I did, I got “unstuck”. I didn’t “feel” like I had forgiven initially, but eventually my feelings caught up with my choice.

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  3. Toshia Felts says:

    You may have not intended to do so, but I think you have managed to express the state of mind that a lot of people are in. The sense of wanting to help, but not knowing how or where, is something a lot of us are going through.

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