As its name implies, depression is the state of being depressed. When something is "de-pressed," it is literally "pressed down" to a low point. To illustrate this principle, consider an object that is pressed down in the center. A low point is created which is considered a "depression" in the object.
When contemplating a human being, a healthy functioning human spirit is balanced and even. But when it is pressed down, a lower point in the spirit is created, producing a "depression" in the spirit--sometimes referred to as being low in spirits.
A person who is depressed has lowered vitality or functioning activity. Feelings of sadness and hopelessness accompany this condition to varying degrees. The causes of depression are widespread, often making a specific trigger difficult to pinpoint.
Over 11 million women suffer from clinical depression in the United States. Typical symptoms of depression are sleep issues--either insomnia or excessive sleep, loss of appetite or overeating, and difficulties in thinking and concentration. It is not uncommon for a depressed woman to struggle with suicidal* thoughts. She may feel like she just can't go on.
Many women who are depressed isolate themselves and do not want to interact socially. Friends and family of depressed women may plead for them to get out among people-- but to little avail, resulting in feelings of exasperation and frustration.
What hope is there for the seemingly hopeless state of depression? There is much hope--but only by the transforming hope and healing that can be found in Christ!
In Matthew 5, Jesus talks about the "poor in spirit" being in a unique position. When we are emptied of our spirit, or completely depleted and poor in spirit, we have the unique and divine opportunity for the wealth of Christ’s Spirit to encompass our hearts. Matthew 5:3 says, "Blessed are the poor in spirit."
In the original language of the Bible, "blessed" means a person whom God makes fully satisfied, not because of favorable circumstances but because He indwells the believer through Christ.
However, poverty of spirit does not automatically mean Christ’s filling in this manner. In our poverty, we must beg Him to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. "Poverty" in the original language, means just that -- to be so poor that one must beg in order to find relief or help -- because it is beyond ones own ability. What great hope for a woman who is experiencing depression and feels at complete loss.
Many think they must become balanced in their spirit before they can have a healthy relationship with God; this is not correct! The song "Come Just As You Are" rings truer than ever in the case of depressed women. There is more hope for the depressed than those who are so filled with their own spirits that they do not call out for the Spirit of the Lord at all.
"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
*If you or someone you love is struggling with suicidal thoughts right now, please call this hotline to let someone know about your pain: 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433).
Using Philippians 4:8 as her starting point, Paula Masters helps women navigate beyond clouds of spiritual darkness into the brilliant light of truth, peace, and healthy thinking.