Joyce Meyer — How do I Overcome Depression?
Ginger: Joyce, we have so many questions, always people are asking about getting over a broken heart and feeling depressed. And we know that there are a lot of rough circumstances in life, people who are desperately hurting, but we also know that there's a God who loves us and wants to help us through all these circumstances. So, let's start a little bit by talking about the fact that we know depression is real. To say that God wants us to be better does not mean that depression doesn't exist. There are many reasons that people are depressed, so what would you see as some of those circumstances and some of those reasons that people may be dealing with?
Joyce: Well, I mean, depression can just be caused from even chemical disorders in your body. So, a lot of times when we talk about depression, we're almost talking about it more not from a medical standpoint, but more from, like, letting yourself get downtrodden and depressed because of just your circumstances.
Ginger: And recognizing there's a difference.
Joyce: Yeah. Nobody is saying that the circumstances aren't real, but it's the joy of the Lord that can be our strength. You know, one of the great things about living the resurrection life in Christ that Paul prayed for, that I might know Him in the power of his resurrection that lifts me out from among the things going on in the world even while I'm in this body. So, it's not that circumstances aren't real, it's not that they don't hurt us, but I was just reminded again recently through a book that I'm reading that, you know, emotions are so volatile. And there's so many things that can make them fluctuate. And really, if you just would take the time to pay attention to your emotions for one week. I mean, the weather can affect them, how you slept can affect them, what other people say or do can affect them. So one of the privileges that we have as believers is learning to not deny our emotions, but also not let them control us.
Ginger: Right, to live beyond them, as you say.
Joyce: To live beyond them. And so, the good news is that in Christ, there's always hope. And so, no matter how down you feel, if you have hope, which is an expectation that things are going to change, that things can change, that something good is going to happen, if you hang onto that hope, then you won't stay depressed. But like I said, there are medical reasons for depression. You know, there are things that may be hurting people from a long, long time ago that are unresolved issues in their life that they may need to deal with. Some people I think end up feeling depressed and sad because they're angry, they've been angry for a long time at someone or about something, and they need to work through the process of forgiveness. So, it's not just a one answer fits all when it comes to this, but God has provided a better way for us to live.
Ginger: Yeah, and there is hope for every situation.
Ginger: Well, here's a question from Aveline. She says, "I'm brokenhearted and lost. Why is God not showing me any way that things will get better?"
Joyce: Well, I don't think it's a matter of God not showing us, I think it's a matter of whether we're willing to see it or not. You know, I had a very interesting thing happen just recently and in my own walk with God. I was telling God something I needed Him to do. You know, "I need You to do this".
Ginger: We've all been there, yeah.
Joyce: I don't even remember now what was going on, but it was something I didn't like, and I needed God to do something. And the answer just came back to me so sweetly from God, "I need your faith". And that just keeps sticking with me that, you know, we have to be so careful that we don't lose our faith. You know, the Bible talks about fighting the good fight of faith. And so, I've been walking with God for 40 years and teaching the word for over 40 years, and so, you know, you would think that my faith would be perfect all the time. But just like anybody else, you can let circumstances crowd in and begin to think, "Well, God, you know, I..." but see, the point is as long as we are believing God, God is working. No matter what it looks like, no matter what it feels like, God is working. And so, I think that this beautiful young lady, if she would just maybe look at things a little differently instead of just... You know, we can drown in the way we feel and, literally just be eaten up by the way we feel. "And well, I feel, I feel, I feel". But feelings are not reliable. I mean, they're really not. I mean, they may be real, but what you feel today you may not feel tomorrow at all, whether that's sadness or elation. And so, we have to stop letting our feelings control our life and learn that there is a higher life for us, one that we can attain in Christ Jesus. And so, I would just encourage her maybe she just needs to simply turn her faith back on again. You know, there's a Scripture in Romans 15 that says that the God of our hope will fill us with joy and peace in believing. But really that scripture says the whole thing. First of all, is He the God of your hope, or have you given up hope? And if you've lost your joy and your peace, it's going to be found again in believing.
Joyce: Then extra time with God and surrounding yourself with other people that will build you up is very important. Let's just say maybe somebody's married to somebody that just does not have the gift of encouragement, they just don't get it, they don't give compliments, whatever. Well, then you need to find a couple of very encouraging friends and let God work through them to give you what you need. You can't always expect every person in our life to give us everything we need. Sometimes, we have to trust God to bring what I call divine connections, so if I'm not getting what I need from this person, then God can bring somebody else.
Ginger: Yeah. This is a very simple but poignant question from Keny, "How do I stop feeling unsatisfied?"
Joyce: Well, Jesus said if you eat and drink of Him, the living bread and the living water, then you'll always be satisfied. So, I think that, you know, a good thing to do is to ask yourself, really get honest with yourself, "Okay, why am I unsatisfied? Am I unsatisfied because I don't like myself?" Sometimes, people are never going to be satisfied with anything in life because hey're not satisfied with themselves. There's a war going on on the inside of them all the time. And that may very well be the case with this particular person. You cannot ever be satisfied with anybody if you don't come to a point of being satisfied with yourself. And when I say that, I don't mean that you never want to change, but I mean you are what you are, and you have to take the gifts you have and make the best of them. But really, discontentment and dissatisfaction in life many times comes from just not trusting God. We're wanting to be where we're not, we want what somebody else has, we don't have that. And so, I believe that any question that you have like that in your life, if this person will go to God and say, "Now, what is the root of my dissatisfaction?" There's something there that they're not seeing. And God gives us answers. We might not always like them, but He will give us answers to what's going on. I mean, for example, somebody might say to the Lord, "You know, why do I feel so dissatisfied?" Well, the answer could come back, "Well, you're not thankful". Or the answer could come back, "Well, you're selfish". You know? Like I said, we don't always like to hear those things, but there are reasons why we continue to have these adverse feelings.
Ginger: But anytime we're just living in dissatisfaction, we're not living in the joy of the Lord.
Joyce: No, and that's not God's will for us. He doesn't want us to do that, so you got to learn how to enjoy where you're at on the way to where you're going. And hey, I have to make a decision to do that many days just like everybody else. It's not that I've got everything all together, and every day I wake up, you know, perky and wanting to sing a song, you know? Because that's not the case. I have to make decisions like everybody else.
Ginger: Yeah. Well, as we close, let me just ask you this then. What is your best suggestion for someone right now who is watching and is in that state of depression, and they want something to hold onto? What would you tell them to do?
Joyce: Well, right away, I have to remember the psalmist David, who wrote in the psalms that he was going through... I mean, he was depressed, he was discouraged. And he said when he felt that way, he remembered greater days in his life when God had done great things. So, I think when you're depressed and discouraged, you need to find hope in something. And hope is not a depressed state. Hope is an expectation that something good is going to happen. And the thing I love is that Peter said we're born again into an ever-living hope. So, when we receive Christ as our Savior, we're never without hope. The only way we feel hopeless is if we stare at our circumstances and we're just glancing at Jesus. But if we stare at Jesus, we keep our eyes on Him, and we just glance at our circumstances. You know, Abraham, he knew his circumstances, he knew what was going on in his life. He considered his circumstances, but he still did not let those circumstances steal his faith. And listen, I know this is a battle for everybody. Everybody has issues in their life, everybody is going through things. And I've been around long enough to know that I don't have an answer to get anybody a perfect day every day, but I do know that hope is a powerful, powerful motivator. If you're sick today, you can hope to feel better tomorrow. If you got hurt today, you can hope, you know, that things will be better tomorrow. The great thing, many great things about God, but one of the greatest is that we are never hopeless when we're in Him. So, I would remember something good that's happened to you and expect something good to happen again tomorrow, and spend time with God. You know, the more you spend time with God, He can reach places in us that nobody else can get to. So, too often we run to people to fix our problems, and we want them to make us happy again. And a lot of times, they just don't have the ability to give us what we need, so we need to go to Jesus.