I am often asked, “Why do some people get healed from depression and others do not?”
The answer to this question can be quite complicated. But on a larger scale, I usually answer their question by saying these groups are usually split in two by a person’s willingness. Everyone I meet is desperate to get free from depression, but I have found that desperation is not often tied to willingness.
Being desperate is not enough. Taking actionable steps toward a healthy life in Jesus is what is required. The two keys I am about to share require action and a change in thinking—both steps of a willing believer.
Every semester, I have been teaching a new group of women the biblical plan to finding freedom from depression. I have scores of lessons and topics, but I always start each semester teaching them the two keys I am about to share with you. I call these ownership and abandonment, and both of these take a willing heart to walk out. These two keys are not just applicable to finding freedom from depression, but they will work in every area of our Christian walk—guaranteed!
I define ownership as “us doing our own part” and taking responsibility for our actions. In other words, it is an individual changing the things they have the power to change.
This principle may sound rather elementary at first glance, but our entire culture tries to brainwash us into believing nothing is ever our fault; blame surely lies anywhere but at our own feet. Depression will lie every day to you, and one of its best lies is that you cannot do anything to help yourself. And yes, you may have a past filled with rejection, shame and possibly abuse (none of which might have been your fault), but I promise you that taking godly ownership will always lead to greater obedience to God. And obedience will always point the way toward freedom.
“Us doing our part” means that we watch and seek after principles in Scripture that please the Lord. We then take these principles and make any necessary adjustments to our life in order that we may please the Father.
In the realm of depression, things like forgiveness, how we use our words, the thought life we develop and how we choose to see ourself are all areas we each have individual control over. Part of the healing process in the life of someone depressed is learning how to take control in the areas that are out of control. It takes obedience to God’s Word to begin to put into play what the Scriptures teach in each of these areas.
My definition of abandonment is simply "giving to God the things we cannot change." It is releasing our burdens to a loving God on a daily basis and not trying to control our future through fear-based thoughts and actions. Abandonment is a study in trusting God.
Saying it is one thing, but you know that doing it is altogether different. Depression often results in a very unhealthy and unbalanced level of fear. As a result, the person begins making choices that are fear-based, which then further exacerbates the situation.
We must learn how to daily (or hourly, for some people!) lay down our need to control and choose to abandon our will for His. Trusting God takes a lifetime to perfect, and even after a lifetime, I am not sure I will have it all together in this area.
But one thing is for sure: I can learn how to trust God more and more with each new season of life, leaning on Jesus to do what I absolutely know is impossible for me in my own strength. It is time to realize that you cannot fix this depression thing yourself—you have tried; you know you have—and to give God your need to be healed.
Ownership (through obedience) and abandonment (through trust) remain the two greatest keys I have ever found to conquering depression. Most people are stronger in one of these areas than the other, which makes for an unbalanced walk with the Lord.
For example, someone may trust God very much for their healing but not be willing to get the help they need to move forward. On the other hand, a person might be very willing to do a bunch of things to get better but at the end of the day doesn’t really trust God that He has any power to change them or their circumstances. By embracing the powerful principles of ownership and abandonment on a daily basis, freedom from depression will certainly be discovered in Christ.
Jenny Swindall is the author of Freedom From Depression (Charisma House, 2013). She has a Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology from Auburn University and started her career in clinical pharmaceutical and biotech sales. Freedom From Depression was birthed out of Jenny’s own struggle and triumph over depression more than a decade ago. Through powerful storytelling, biblical teaching and care for people, she ministers to many on subjects such as emotional healing, Christian dating, how to study the Bible, women’s issues and living a Holy Spirit–filled life.