Many of you know I have bipolar disorder. Half my life has been spent in the darkness of bipolar depression. It’s a miserable place to be, tormented by negative thoughts about life. The Bible describes it this way:
“Some sat in darkness and deepest gloom, imprisoned in iron chains of misery” (Psalm 107:10, NLT).
That is such a fitting description of depression: imprisoned in chains of misery, sitting in darkness and gloom. That’s what it feels like. The psalmist goes on to explain why they were in darkness.
“They rebelled against the words of God, scorning the counsel of the Most High. That is why he broke them with hard labor; they fell, and no one was there to help them” (Psalm 107:11-12, NLT).
They stopped listening to the words of God. There are many “voices” playing in our heads: our own thoughts, God’s thoughts, and thoughts put there by the Accuser. When we stop listening to God’s thoughts and start believing the Accuser, we find ourselves imprisoned in misery, beaten down by Satan’s tormenters with a barrage of negative, hopeless thoughts. But things can change when we turn to God for help:
“’Lord, help!’ they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He led them from the darkness and deepest gloom; he snapped their chains. Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. For he broke down their prison gates of bronze; he cut apart their bars of iron” (Psalm 107:13-16, NLT).
Sometimes God will allow us to get to a place of deep despair so we will turn to Him for help. When we admit we are helpless, God can work. In the psalm, he led them from the darkness and deepest gloom. He snapped their chains of misery. He broke down their prison gates and cut the iron bars. In other words, he set them free from their bondage to the gloom and misery by destroying the strongholds that held them there. This psalm isn’t talking about a literal prison; it’s a metaphor for the hopeless bondage of depression. Hopeless, that is, until God shows up.
The past few months I’ve been taking Bible classes to help me identify negative thoughts and emotions and replace them with positive ones. The Bible explains it this way:
“We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5, NLT).
Thoughts put in your head by the Accuser can be identified as such and rejected. For many years (and increasingly over the years as my bipolar worsened without treatment), I allowed the Accuser to build a home in my head, and his lies seemed more believable than the truth of God so I would get caught in a mental prison. Now I’m learning to knock down the strongholds the Accuser has built in my thought processes. I’m learning to kick his false arguments out of my head. And I’m learning to capture those rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.
All those thoughts from the Accuser were keeping me from knowing God. They were holding me in chains, in deepest gloom. Now I’m listening to God’s voice and hearing the truth about me and my life. It’s so refreshing; I don’t want to be mired in the old thoughts any more. I’m training my brain to choose the right thoughts to listen to and rejecting all others.
I don’t know if this will result in healing from bipolar disorder, but I do know it will make my depression cycles more bearable. Even if my body is physically depressed, my mind and spirit can be free of the chains of misery. I no longer have to live that way. Christ has set me free! And he can do the same thing for you.
To those who have never struggled with depression, this may seem obvious, but to me, this has been a life-changing transformation process. And it’s not done yet. I’m still working with God to bring his healing love to all corners of my heart, mind, and life. The difference has been amazing so far. I can’t wait to see what things will be like down the road.
And now I would like to leave you with a blessing-prayer:
- May the Lord fill your heart to overflowing with His love (Romans 5:5).
- May He rescue you from the kingdom of darkness (Colossians 1:13).
- May the Lord shine his light in the dark places of your heart and life (1 John 2:9).
- May living in the light make you clearheaded and protected by the helmet of salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:8).
- May you listen to the voice of God above all others (John 8:47).
- May God identify the voice of the Accuser in your thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5).
- May He evict and destroy any strongholds (thought structures) that hold you captive (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
- May He expose your innermost thoughts and desires and clean out old wounds with His sharp scalpel (Hebrews 4:12).
- May He break the bonds of misery and fill you with joy (Psalm 107:10-16).
- May He transform your thinking so you have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).
- May God’s resurrection power work in your life to bring you from death and darkness to life and light (Ephesians 1:19-21).
- May you use the weapons of righteousness to take back the ground the enemy of your soul has claimed (2 Corinthians 6:7).
- May God give you gladness in proportion to your former misery (Psalm 90:15).
- May you find rest in the shadow of the Almighty (Psalm 91:1).
- May the Lord give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do (2 Thessalonians 1:11).
May you experience all of God’s blessings! Thank you and God bless!
Servant of the Lord Most High