One of the most common problems abuse survivors face is depression. You have just had a burst of energy and confidence in your progress, and then WHAM! All of a sudden, the damage done to you hits you right between the eyes and you feel you have made no progress at all! Sometimes, you just want to give up – to stop trying to live a healthy life at all. You’re playing with the idea of suicide, even though, as a Christian, you know that is not what God wants for you. And, you think you’re the only person on earth who is feeling like this. Not so!
Long ago, there was a man named Elijah whom God sent in to do a job. God performed amazing miracles through Elijah, and Elijah was feeling elated. Then one woman, Jezebel, brought him crashing to the point of suicide! Let’s read about it.
Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.”
Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. 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.” Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep.1 Kings 19:1-5
Sleep is a very common way to deal with depression. I speak from personal experience. It took an angel to wake Elijah up and tell him what to do. One threat from one woman, plus the let down of the mountain top elation Elijah was feeling, and poor Elijah wanted to die!
Word of advice here – When you are this “down” you need to stop, take a breath, sleep, and suspend your efforts at addressing your abuse recovery or anything else in your life. Concentrate on resting, refueling, and then recharging. Sit with God’s Word to refuel. Sit with yourself to become comfortable in your skin again. Sit with your fatigue, acknowledge it, honor it and feel it.
It’s interesting that as Elijah rested, an angel woke him and there was some food and drink waiting for him. He ate and drank, and was still overwhelmed and tired, so he went back to sleep. Once more, the angel woke him and there was more food. The angel said to him, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you” (
1 Kings 19:7). The beauty of this story is that God’s messenger validated Elijah’s fatigue, fear, and effort. And yet, that is not where this portion of Elijah’s story ends. He wasn’t where he needed to be yet. There was more to do, further to go on the journey. It was imperative that he take in the nourishment and strength that God made available to him. He ate, and then he got up and resumed his journey.
That is an important lesson to learn. You know you’re on the right road, and you must trust that God knows when the journey has become too much for you. His Spirit will comfort you and build you back up for the journey ahead.
In my own experience, God sends people to help me laugh and laughter is a great healer. A merry heart does good like medicine,Proverbs says. He will give you instructions on what to do next. Perhaps what you need is to hear His birds singing their joyful tunes, or crickets in the night. God will help you make healthy choices if you will only wait on Him. Do not act out of your “dark place”! You will always be sorry you did.
Most of all, do not quit! When you have rested, reflected, and been refueled and refreshed, get back up and keep going! If necessary, do it one step at a time, but every step will take you back up the mountain top.
©2009 April Lorier