Allison comes home from the Christmas party feeling kind of down. “Everyone was smiling. They seemed so happy and ‘together’. Why can’t that be me? What’s wrong with me?”
If you feel depressed around the holidays, you’re not alone. According to the National Institute of Health, many people experience a high incidence of depression during the Christmas season. So what makes this joyous holiday time so depressing for some?
The culprit–too much self-reflection (Williams, 2015). Examining our lives can be positive. It can help us determine areas that need improving and encourage us to make healthy changes.
However, self-examination without knowing the love of God, often leads to thoughts of hopelessness: I’ll never find anyone. Things will never change. Nobody likes me. I’m not good enough. Those are the reflections of a sick mind. Those evil thoughts don’t come from God.
2 Timothy 1:7, King James Version
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
God doesn’t want us to have a dark mind, full of despair. God wants our minds to be full of the light of the Gospel. The Gospel is God’s good news that our sins are forgiven and we can receive healing through Christ–even sick minds can be healed.
Luke 4:18-19, Living Bible
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; he has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted and to announce that captives shall be released and the blind shall see, that the downtrodden shall be freed from their oppressors, and that God is ready to give blessings to all who come to him.”
Sick minds are not just those that are “mentally ill”. Unfortunately, we all have some form of mental malfunction. You might think, “Whoa! I’m not schizophrenic. I don’t have delusions.” Are you sure about that? Examine your thinking:
- Do you often think the worst? You know, if you lose something do you automatically assume someone stole it or that it’s someone else’s fault? If you have to do something new, are you afraid you will fail? Do you wake up and assume your day will be stressful? Why? (Those are all delusions.)
- Do you ever believe people don’t like you or are angry with you? (That’s paranoia.)
- Do you ever assume someone is lying? I mean you are totally convinced they are lying even though they insist they are telling the truth. (That’s an inability to trust.)
- Do you have unreasonable fears? Afraid of insects, worms, et cetera? Why? They are so much smaller than you? Afraid of the dark. Afraid of people who have never threatened you. (That’s anxiety)
From God’s perspective, people who think evil thoughts (false, deteriorating, negative self-talk) need healing. Imagine never being afraid, always assuming the best, always being confident, always able to trust others and have meaningful relationships. Is that hard to believe? That is supposed to be our normal state of mind. But, we have to choose it.
Healthy minds choose good thoughts.
Philippians 4:8, Living Bible
“And now, brothers, as I close this letter, let me say this one more thing: Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about.”
Don’t allow negative thoughts to depress you during this Christmas season–focus on Christ. Forget your failures, forget your weaknesses, forget your mistakes, and definitely forget about comparing yourself to others.
We celebrate Christmas not because of who we are, but because of who Christ is. Christ is the Savior who delivered us from sin. All of our weaknesses, shortcomings and failures have been forgiven. Rejoice!
Isaiah 9:6-7, Living Bible
“For unto us a child is born; unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder. These will be his royal titles: “Wonderful,” “Counselor,” “The Mighty God,” “The Everlasting Father,” “The Prince of Peace.” His ever-expanding, peaceful government will never end. He will rule with perfect fairness and justice from the throne of his father David. He will bring true justice and peace to all the nations of the world.”
- Williams, R. (2015, December 18). Why People Get Depressed at Christmas. Retrieved from Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201011/why-people-get-depressed-christmas
- Photo courtesy of nenetus at net