Depression and anxiety are the most commonly diagnosed mental health issues in the United States today. It’s no wonder many of us are searching and scouring the internet, purchasing self-help books, and looking for ways to overcome this hindrance. The key to overcoming is operating out of the spirit of thanksgiving.
No matter what triggers depression and anxiety, you can guarantee the enemy is behind it. This devouring spirit needs to be dealt with by the One who is stronger than he who is in the world (see 1 John 4:4).
To battle these consuming thoughts, we must learn to operate in the spirit of thanksgiving.
What’s interesting is that during this time of year, depression and anxiety can be at their highest. The holiday busyness and jammed packed schedule can make it difficult to operate out of the spirit of thanksgiving.
However, this is when we get to…
Hand it all over to the Lord
- “… casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”–1 Peter 5:7
Choose to walk in the spirit and not in the flesh
- “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.”–Romans 5:5-17
Operate out of a spirit of thanksgiving and receive peace
- “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”–Philippians 4:6-7
What are depression and anxiety?
Depression and anxiety are widespread conditions that affect the lives of Believers and non-Believers alike. They can manifest in a variety of ways, such as isolation and withdrawal from family or friends or discontentment with an edgy attitude that seems to follow you around like a grey cloud throughout your day.
They could also present themselves as a change in behavior, such as lack of sleep, appetite changes, tearfulness, or fatigue.
Whether we are the ones struggling with this all-consuming emotional condition or watch our loved ones endure the pain of it, we’ve all likely been close enough to this evil spirit to see it sucking the life out of whomever it has attached itself to.
What does the Bible say about overcoming depression?
The Bible says much about depression, anxiety, and being overwhelmed. Throughout history and in today’s world, people have battled these joy-stealing spirits.
David, a man after God’s own heart, cried out to the Lord in his affliction. While the enemy wants those who battle depression to think it is only happening to them and that they are isolated in their feelings, God’s own chosen people struggled with this very real pain—and many Believers today do as well.
Can you identify with David’s cry?
“The pangs of death surrounded me, and the floods of ungodliness made me afraid. The sorrows of Sheol surrounded me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry came before Him, even to His ears.”—Psalm 18:4-6
But did you notice what David did when fear and hopelessness flooded his mind? He called out to the Lord! And God heard David! Read these words David said later in the same prayer…
“…He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me, for they were too strong for me… the Lord was my support… He delivered me because He delighted in me.”—Psalm 18:16-19
Through David’s cry, he gave the struggle to God because he knew God was stronger than the enemy! He leaned on the Lord for his support, and in the end, David rejoiced in his deliverance because he knew God delighted in him.
Bible verses to overcome depressive and anxious thoughts…
The first step to start the journey of healing is an admittance of the struggle and repentance to God. Through a repentant prayer, you come out of agreement with the enemy’s lies so that Holy Spirit can reveal to you God’s truth. Just like David, He hears your cry and wants to be your support so that you are healed and His name is glorified.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”—Philippians 4:6-7
Many of us know these verses by heart. But God gives us a choice to immerse ourselves in it, believe it, and choose a spirit of thanksgiving daily.
What are some practical ways to start overcoming negative emotions today?
One of the biggest hurdles in dealing with negative emotions such as anxiety, depression, and fear is knowing where to place your hands to start climbing out of the hole.
But what we really need to do is to get down on our knees. Then stand with hands held high in praise! And finally, rest as we pull up a seat at His table.
- Prayer—Following David’s example, crying out to the Lord is where healing begins. Start cutting off the lies and begin filling your mind with truth. Think about where you want to be—in alignment with God’s Word. So, start focusing on His steadfastness, purity, love, and mercy.
“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”—Psalm 107:1
- Pray with others—You aren’t alone in this battle. Reach out to a prayer warrior who has overcome difficulties so they can guide you into wisdom. Together, cast out anything that sets itself up against the truth.
“… casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…”—2 Corinthians 10:5
- Change your thought patterns—When we choose a spirit of thanksgiving, it changes our mind, will, and emotions. We are to dwell on what is good, not what we fear will happen in the future or what did happen in the past. Stay in the present with your eyes fixed on Him.
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”—Philippians 4:8-9
“Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”—Colossians 3:2
- Sing praises—Another practical way to fill the atmosphere around you and your mind with “things above” is to sing praises! Tune in to worship music. Fill your home, car, and even your workspace with a joyful noise. The spirit of thanksgiving is contagious. When thankfulness surrounds you, it seeps into your soul. Then you share it with others.
“I will praise the Lord according to His righteousness, and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.”—Psalm 7:17
- Have a seat and rest—This may seem like an impractical application, but take a moment to think about this verse…
“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”—Luke 6:38
In another version it says, “poured into your lap.” How is this possible unless you are in a seated position? What is poured out can only be caught if you are in the right position to hold it.
Those sitting receive the purpose that is poured out or put on their lap. Peace and rest follow as you have a seat at the Lord’s table. Your calling becomes a reflection of what is in Heaven, as Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father.
Coming out of agreement and cutting off anything that isn’t of God, then stepping into His will and destiny for you releases the anointing of thanksgiving and cancels anxiety. He invites you to rest and pull up a seat to your place at His table.