Escaping the Blues

Escaping the Statesboro Blues    “The Statesboro Blues”   Believers Statesboro   01-03-16

Overcoming the Blues, Anxiety, Depression, and Stress

At one point or another everyone experiences the Blues.  Being that we are living in Statesboro, GA I think it’s fair to call it, as Blind Willie and Greg Almond have called it, “The Statesboro Blues”.

We may sometimes feel blue, down, sad, overwhelmed, stressed, anxious and even depressed.  This is a subject that’s not talked about a lot in the Church; you might say it is “The Elephant in the Room”.

Being that it is winter we should also mention that a lot of people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  They usually become depressed during the winter months but feel perfectly normal for the rest us the year.

WARNING:

  • I am not a professional phycologist, or Certified Counselor. I do not have all the answers for you but I do have some valuable input to help you overcome and Escape the Statesboro Blues.  If you feel that your stress, anxiety, and blues are leading to sustained depression please seek medical help.
  • If you or a loved one are having suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself or others in any kind of way you need to see your primary care physician immediately, or report to our emergency room. Also contact http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org (800) 273-8255.

Our goal in this “Escaping the Statesboro Blues” series will be to help us all experience the opposite of depression and that is what the Apostle Paul refers to as “inexpressible and glorious joy that comes through a relationship with Christ Jesus!

1 Pet 1:8-9 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (NIV)

The Five Myths About Anxiety and Depression

Perry Noble, a highly respected Pastor and author has shared extensively about his struggle to overcome depression.  His book “Overwhelmed” is recommended reading.  In a blog on April 30, 2014 he shares what he calls “The Five Myths About Anxiety and Depression.

#1 – Someone who is a Christian will never wrestle with anxiety and depression. 

We will disprove this myth with scripture today, but I think if we would all be honest we would know in our heart that this myth is not true.

  • Sometimes we are fostering an idea that if you really have Jesus, or if you are full of the Holy Spirit you will never have the blues, this only makes people struggling with the blues feel worse.
  • They love Jesus, they are trying walk full of the Sprit and yet they still have to allow Jesus to help them overcome, to help them Escape the Blues, Anxiety, Depression, and Stress,

#2 – The way to overcome being overwhelmed is to pray and read your Bible more.

Not just praying and reading your Bible, but applying scripture is going to be the number one thing we do to escape the blues, but other factors are also involved, your diet, exercise, counseling, and let’s not forget the GRACE and MERCY of God.  “Do More, Try Harder!” is not the answer.  Christians say they believe in grace, but when it comes to worry, anxiety and even depression they sometimes rely on works.

#3 – A person who trusts Jesus will not take antidepressants.

You can be taking an antidepressant and love Jesus too.  Now I will say in my research about depression and anxiety, I read a great deal about natural vitamins, herbs, and different types of foods that seem to work just as good if not better than some antidepressants.  So I would encourage you to do some research and with your doctors knowledge and advice see if they work for you.  A great source is the book “The New Bible Cure for Depression and Anxiety” by Don Colbert, MD.

#4 – Anxiety and depression is just who I am and I will never be able to experience any type of freedom.

This is a lie of the enemy!  Christ Jesus is all about changing us from the inside out!  Many people have battled through depression and you may be battling through depression or anxiety right now!  But your hope is in Jesus and His promise and plan for your life!

John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (NKJ)  (Right here, right now!)

#5 – If I admit I am battling with these things people will think I am weird.

It will surprise you when you begin to open up about how you honestly feel.  People will look at you and say, “me too, I thought I was the only one who felt that way.”  Not only did Perry Noble have to deal with depression but this is something I have to deal with too.  The odd thing is some of my lowest lows come on the heels of some of my highest Spiritual highs!

The Stats

29% of Christians in the United States have struggled with depression at some point in their life[1] – that’s over 45 MILLION CHRISTIANS!  That’s more people than the population of the state of California and Massachusetts COMBINED!  According to the Numbers…

  • Out of every 10 Christians you know, 3 of them are depressed.
  • If you’re between 18-34 years old, you’re more likely to be depressed than older generations.
  • If you have lower income, you’re more likely to be depressed.
  • If you’re a parent with a child younger than 18 years old, you’re more likely to be depressed.

These numbers tell me that a lot of Christians are struggling and many more are struggling in silence and alone.  Being that we are human beings depression can affect all three parts of our being, spirit, soul, and body.  So let’s just be honest about it.  Love on each other.  Encourage each other and Escape the Statesboro Blues together!

No matter what type of blues, depression, anxiety, or stresses you may be experiencing don’t be afraid to seek help!

 Proverbs 28:13 He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy. (NKJ)

I think this verse would apply for the Statesboro Blues as well.  He would cover his blues (and doesn’t get any help), will not prosper.  But when you uncover and confess that you have a problem, you will find mercy!

“One reason why a person who has truly loved Jesus stays trapped in secret sin & seduction is that he/she is terrified to trust anyone.”  Beth Moore

I think we can also safely say, “One reason why a person who truly loves Jesus stays trapped in secret the Blues, Anxiety, Depression, and Stress is that he/she is terrified to trust anyone.”

Bible Greats Escaping the Blues

Elijah Was Overwhelmed By The Blues – “Take My Life!”

I King 19:4b He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” (NIV)

I want to save the details of this story for next Sunday!

Moses Got the Blues – “The Burden is Too Heavy For Me!”

How stressful and hard is it to Pastor and lead about 650,000 people across desert?  Look in Numbers 11.

  • No one seemed to be thankful, they just complained. (vs1)
  • The people even made God angry at them and Moses had to intercede for them. (vs 2)
  • A group of trouble makers decided that supernatural food, manna, from heaven was not good enough for them and they begin to stir up the people to complain for meat. (vs 4)
  • They started longing for the food that they ate in Egypt, even though then they were slaves! (vs 5)
  • Now Moses hears the people sitting at the doors of their tents crying! (vs 10)

Numbers 11:10 Moses heard the people of every family wailing, each at the entrance to his tent. The LORD became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled. (NIV)

 Numbers 11:11-15

11 He asked the LORD, “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant?  What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me?

 Moses began to believe some distortional thought patterns that we will address later in this series and he saw all of this as God’s punishment upon him!

12 Did I conceive all these people?  Did I give them birth?  Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their forefathers?

Why did you select me to lead one of the greatest deliverances of people that the world will ever see!  He almost made it sound like God was being mean to him, selecting him for greatness.

13 Where can I get meat for all these people?  They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’

How can I make this work?  Moses didn’t have to make it work and you don’t either!

14 I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. (This much was true.) 15 If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now– if I have found favor in your eyes– and do not let me face my own ruin.” (NIV)

I can’t take it anymore, just kill me and let’s get this thing over with!  If you love me, kill me!

Jonah and the Blues – “O LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live”

After Jonah ran from God, and was swallowed by a whale and spit out, he finally preached and prophesied to the city of Nineveh calling them to repentance or destruction!  And guess what?  They repented.

Jonah 3:10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.

Jonah 4:1-3  But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry.

Jonah had the Word of the Lord for his enemies, but didn’t have the heart of the Lord toward his enemies.

In his anger he tries to justify his rebellion and disobedience.

2 He prayed to the LORD, “O LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home?  That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish.  I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. 3 Now, O LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” (NIV)

I’m so angry right now, because I’m not getting my way!  I’d rather die than live!

Did Jesus Every Have The Blues? – “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.”

Matt 26:36-38  Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”  37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.  38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” (NIV)

Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are– yet was without sin. (NIV)

Not only does Jesus know how you feel when you have the blues, this verse in Hebrews would indicate that just because you are feeling blue does not mean that you are necessarily sinning.  Jesus was able to work through the blues without sin, and we can too!  Jesus escaped the blues through prayer, God’s Word, and God’s promises and obedience.

The Apostle Paul’s Blues – “Far Beyond Our Ability to Endure”

2 Cor 1:8-9  We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia.  We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.  9 Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death.

Ever felt that way?  I have.  But Paul saw beyond his current circumstances and suffering.

9b But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. (NIV)

Notice he said in verse 8 that this was far beyond his ability, but it was not beyond God’s ability!  When we feel this way we need to shift our reliance from ourselves to God!

Paul is actually writing the church of Corinth telling them how he felt, but as he reflects on the lessons he learned during those hard times, in the introduction of his letter, he states:

2 Cor 1:3-11 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

What did Paul report to the Corinth church concerning that stressful time.

10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us.  On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers.  Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many. (NIV)

Spiritual Escaping The Statesboro Blues

All types of blues and depression have a common thread, which is the lack of God’s joy in our lives.

Jesus wants our joy to be full!  John 15:9-11 (NIV) “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete (full).

We must walk in joy and we need to trust God completely.

John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God; trust also in me. (NIV)

NEXT STEP: During this series I commit to trust in God’s promises, and seek His overflowing joy through:

  • Daily reading and meditating on God’s word.
  • Being filled with the Holy Spirit.
  • Memorizing scriptures.
  • Practicing thinking according to God’s Word (Phil. 4:8) and speaking faith-filled words.
  • Casting down thoughts that are contrary to God’s Word and practicing gratitude.

 Life App Group and Family Devotional Application

  1. Growing up or in your past experiences has the issues of depression and anxiety been openly discussed or taboo.
  1. How was Pastor Scott relating Proverbs 28:13 to Statesboro Blues, depression, and anxiety?
  1. Have you ever had something happen to you where you felt like Apostle Paul in saying, “This is far beyond my ability to endure?” (2 Cor 1:8) How did God get you (or getting you) through that experience?
  1. What is your best advice to others to help them trust God, be full of joy, and overcome the Statesboro Blues?

 

  1. Discuss the Five things in the “Next Step” that we were asked to commit to in this new series.

 

[1] based on Harris Research Analysis, 2014

One Hour on Wednesday 01.06.16

January 6th, 2016

Tonight we will have out first One Hour on Wednesday service in 2016! Join us at 7 PM as we kick off the new year with a special Praise & Worship night!

One Hour of Praise & Worship