(Blogging University, Writing 101 assignment: One Word Prompt – HOPE)
Hope – a missing key ingredient for me when battling depression.
- no hope that the pain will ever end / the pain will never end
- no hope that I will ever feel better / I will never feel better
- no hope that anyone will understand / no one will understand
- no hope that anything will change / nothing will change
Notice how the first part of the bullet points use the words “ever” and “any.” Or the rephrase (after the / ) with ” never,” “no one,” and “nothing.” Extreme words. Leaving no wiggle room. Implying that there is no hope for a normal life.
When I first admitted to friends that I was suffering from depression, my best friend sent me a card with this verse in it: “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13, NLT. A week or two later, another dear friend sent a note with this same verse written on it. Shortly after that, I read this verse in a devotional. By now, I was saying “Ok, God, I’m listening. You want to tell me something about hope. What’s that verse again?”
It was a hard message to grasp, because the nature of the depression is hopelessness. And when my therapist first asked me what I wanted out of therapy, I told him that I wanted my joy back; I wasn’t even thinking about hope. But when he asked me if I felt hopeless, the answer was a resounding yes. Hopeless – without hope. Somehow, I didn’t make the connection for a long time that I was without hope. I instead knew I was without joy and life was hopeless. But I couldn’t see that I was experiencing hopelessness. I just knew I had no joy and was without hope of that ever changing.
Yet here is this Bible verse that addresses both hope and joy. And peace (which I would eventually need when anxiety joined the depression party). So what does the verse say?
God is the source of all hope. It comes from Him. And because I trust Him, he wants to fill me completely – to the brim – with joy and peace. And when that happens, through the Holy Spirit, I will have confident hope – so much hope that it spills over – it overflows.
Wow. A powerful promise to a hopelessly depressed woman.
And God kept that promise. Over time, as He restored my joy and peace, the hopelessness left. I began to be confident that the future wasn’t so bleak. I began to feel lighter, more hopeful. Eventually the day came that I could share my hope of healing with others who found themselves depressed, hopeless. It overflowed from me.
Now, if I find myself thinking about me or my life using those extreme words, I look more closely to see if I’m also feeling hopeless. That’s a huge indicator that depression is trying to enter my life and rob my joy again. And while depression may try, I can remain hopeful. God is the source of all hope, I trust Him, and He loves me.