At the time when George Washington was president, over 90 percent of Americans were engaged in agriculture or agriculture-related work. In today’s work life, we tap at computers, stare into screens, and talk on the phone. When so little of our work lives is physical, how can our stress level not go up? And how can stressed people not experience more depression? I am surprised neither by the number of people I know who struggle with depression nor the number who depend on antidepressant medications to get through their days.
Doctors, nurses, and medical scientists can explain to you about chemical imbalances in the brain and how antidepressant drugs are not merely addictive crutches. To the medical advice you can get, I would like to add some from God: look away from yourself.
In a depressed person’s mind, everything revolves around him or her. “I wonder what they’re saying about me—probably all bad.” “I am such a failure.” “Nothing goes right for me.” “Nobody really cares about me.” The way out of that dark hole is to let God speak to you of his unconditional love, that you have immense value to him, so great that the Son of God himself thought you were worth dying for.
Second, let God invite you to turn your face outward and look for people to serve. Service to others heals the soul: “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10). Making someone else’s life a little better will make yours better.