Dealing with depression (4)
After Elijah fled to the desert and hid in a cave, God asked him, ‘What are you doing here?’ (v. 9 MSG). Whereupon Elijah replied, ‘I’ve been working my heart out…because the people of Israel have abandoned your covenant, destroyed your places of worship, and murdered your prophets. I’m the only one left, and now they’re trying to kill me’ (v. 14 MSG).
Another thing that causes depression is assuming false blame. When we take on a responsibility God never gave us, it’s too heavy a burden to bear. If you’re in the habit of helping people, you soon realize they don’t always respond in the way you’d like. And that’s the case whether it’s your children, your friends, your other half, or the people you work with. People react in many different ways, and you can’t assume personal responsibility for their responses.
God has given each of us a free will, and when you accept responsibility for other people’s decisions you take on a burden that will only depress you. At best, you can influence people but you can’t control them. The final decision is theirs, so don’t let yourself get down over something that you can’t control. When you know you’ve done what God told you to do, trust Him to do what you can’t do. Any time you try to convict, convince, convert, control, or change another person, you’re setting yourself up for misery.
The Bible says, ‘It is God who works in you [and others] to will and to act according to his good purpose’ (Philippians 2:13 NIV 1984 Edition). So when you’ve done your part, back off and let God do His.
‘I’ve been working my heart out for…God.’ 1 Kings 19:10 MSG