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Overcoming Depression: Lesson #9

Adopting God's Hope

Discipleship Level 2: Reaching Beyond Mediocrity

Rev. Paul J. Bucknell

Depression in the News | Obtaining Hope | Emotions, Feelings and Depression
Gaining Discernment | Root Cause| The Path (5Ds)
Hope Through Obedience | A Strong Shield | Rebuild Foundation
Deeper Trust | Two Truths | Deliverance Cycle


Exercises#1-5 | Handout | Video Podcast | D2 Index | RSS


Emotions, Feelings and Depression

Emotions, Feelings and Depression is part 3 of 12 that clarifies how and why a person does not need to follow his or her emotions into depression. 'Adopting God's Hope, Overcoming Depression' is the ninth lesson in a series on "Reaching Beyond Mediocrity."


Men and women are different! Yes, they are. But how different? I sense we will never know. I cannot step into a woman's skin even for a moment. This section is due to a discussion with my wife regarding emotions and depression. She said, "You are not a women. You do not understand!"

Feelings, emotions and depressionShe stated that feelings play a much greater part of the struggle with depression than with men. Some have suggested women enter depression more than twice as often as men. Feelings and emotions are very influential.

When these feelings surge upon one's life, the person feels as if he or she is living under control of those emotions. I have discussed this interplay between emotions and feelings in the Overcoming Anxiety series, but it needs to be brought up here.If we do not rightly understand how our strong emotions fit into a bout of depression, then confusion rather than clarity will dominate this whole discussion.

Through our discussion here, I am not at all trying to minimize the impact of feelings on depression. They are very closely tied together. One's emotions can greatly control one's perception. Although it feels as if emotions bring on the depression, let me provide an alternative process depression enters one's domain.

perception and emotionsEmotions and feelings are not the cause of depression but the means by which a person more quickly surrenders to the voice of resignation. Emotions and feelings amplify what is hidden in the soul and mind. These powerful feelings will seem to dominate and rule. This is true. We need, however, to keep in mind that they are only amplifying what is in the heart and mind. If we want to find control over these moods and feelings, we will need to go back to our more hidden lives to find a solution.

Hebrews 5:14 points out.

"But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil." (Hebrews 5:14).

Maturity is the mark of the Christian who has grown stable in his or her spiritual life. The Greek word aistheterion is translated by perception or understanding. This is the place the Lord is leading all of us as His children. Notice what the author of Hebrews says is the prerequisite to entering that stage – have their sense trained to discern good and evil.

The word for 'senses' means perception or judgment. In other words, it is one's perception or understanding of good and evil that provides that deepening of maturity. Let's now go back to discuss emotions and feelings.

engulfed in feelingsFeelings are an amplifier of what one believes to be true. The perception of life is formed by these beliefs. Whether these beliefs are true or false, it does not matter. If one changes, say in this case lessens the emotions, it does not change what is the source of those feelings. We can think of it the other way around. When a person is overjoyed by the hope or anticipation of something good, the feelings are again amplifying and revealing one's responses to their inner feelings.

Anytime something is amplified, it is really bigger than it is. Do not be afraid of the deep dark depressive times. The feelings are trying to sway your allegiance. It is at this time you need to firmly fix your focus on your allegiance to the Lord. More will be said below on how to actually do this. Accept your feelings but do not fear them or believe you have to obey them. It is much safer to focus on "Why one might feel this way?" "What is it that I believe that conjures up such feelings?"

The feelings are responders and revealers rather than leaders. However, if we do allow these feelings to shout commands to our lives, then we will quicker give into the confusing spirits of despair. The evil one uses these strong emotions combined with his temptations to subjugate a person. Be careful.

Fortunately, one can stand in the light of God's Word and find help and strength in the time of need.

But how are we going to build up our discernment so we don't get 'caught' in a bout of depression? Keep reading!