This morning, I was thinking about how much I love the Christmas season. I love the lights, all the sweet treats, the time with family and friends, but, most importantly, that we are celebrating Jesus’ birthday. This is seriously my most favorite season of the year. I am all about getting together and celebrating His birth.
That got me thinking about how this season often doesn’t feel the same for everyone. For some, this time of year is difficult due to loss or loneliness. Depression and suicide is at an all time high.
As I was studying my devotional the other day, this scripture really stuck out to me:
“In the desert prepare the way for the Lord; Make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.” Isaiah 40:3
After dissecting the verse a bit, I rewrote it as:
“In a time when you feel lonely or abandoned construct a path for Him; Make a direct route in this time of feeling rejected for God”
Often, when we are feeling confused, lost, lonely, or abandoned, we want to isolate. However, God says to “keep a direct path between Him and us”. He wants us to keep our eyes on Him and free of distractions.
This reminds me of the scene in the Runaway Bride, where Maggie (Julia Roberts) and Ike (Richard Gere) construct a plan to keep her from running from the altar. She was to keep her eyes on the groom at all times. Just when we think that she is finally going to make it all the way down the altar, someone takes a photo of her, the flash distracts her, and she takes off.
This often happens during our desolate times. We begin with a great plan to keep our focus on God. Unfortunately, satan does not want that. He wants to distract us and cause us to run the other way. We have to remember that God’s plans are to prosper us. Satan only comes to kill, steal, and destroy. He will use whatever means necessary to distract us, and knock us off our path and directly into the wilderness. It is there that he fills us with lies and disables us from doing God’s great works.
In Priscilla Shirer’s new book, Fervent, she writes:
“If I were your enemy, I’d disguise myself and manipulate your perspectives so that you’d focus on the wrong culprit-your husband, your friend, your hurt, your finances, anything or anyone except me. Because, when you zero in on the most convenient, obvious places to strike back against your problems, you get the impression you’re fighting for something. Even though all you’re really doing is just…fighting. For nothing.”
Satan loves this because we are distracted by focusing on the wrong thing…instead of the right thing- Jesus Christ! So, what is the direct path to God? PRAYER! Plain and simple, it’s prayer. Prayer keeps our focus on God. It keeps us from being distracted.
Also, from Fervent, she writes,
“Prayer is the portal that brings the power of Heaven down to earth. It is the kryptonite to the enemy and to all his ploys against you.”
If you are struggling with depression during this time, reach out for help. Isolating only gives satan a chance to attack. That is often easier said than done. Pray! Ask God for help!
If you know someone that is struggling, reach out to them. God has asked His people to care for one another. Go to them and go to battle for them in prayer!
The enemy will find ways to distract or discourage you from praying. He will even put a bad taste in your mouth for it. Fight against that! Put your armor on and keep your path straight! Prayer is the best defense we have against the enemy’s jerk ways. He wants you to focus on your problems. Instead, give them to God, and let Him fight for you. He is your own kickbutt superhero!
Depression is a real thing that often requires medication and therapy. If you are struggling with depression this year, reach out to someone. Below are several numbers that you can call for help:
Samaritans 24-Hour Crisis Hotline (212) 673-3000
Crisis Call Center (775) 784-8090 or text “ANSWER” TO 839863
Suicide Hotline 1-800-SUICIDE
National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-TALK
National Adolescent Suicide Hotline 1-800-621-4000