Colossians 3:2(NASB) “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”
It can happen to us in a moment or even over the course of a few days, maybe even weeks or months, but when it happens, we need to take action. It happened to me recently. I didn’t even see it coming, but it happened, and before you know it, I was pretty deep in it.
What I am talking about is losing perspective. I found myself caught in the trap of having my focus on the wrong things. I guess it could be called a momentary lapse of judgment, where the things around us take control and we simple let them.
For me, it was letting the past get control of my future. I was looking at life from the rear view mirror instead of looking ahead or as the verse states “setting your mind on things above!”
When it happens, we need to stop. Stop right where we are and begin to focus. Focus on Him and not ourselves. Of course, it’s easier said than done but it CAN BE done, by the power of the Holy Spirit and some good friends to call. So if you find yourself beginning to question things, maybe even in the beginning stages of depression- STOP, take a moment and set your mind on things above…and reach out to a friend.
1 Peter 3:17(NASB) “For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.”
I had lost my focus and the growing pain within my soul was all that I could focus on. There wasn’t any big event or even a situation that occurred where I found myself questioning. It happened slowly over the course of the week, where I found myself slowly loosing focus on the things that mattered. Internally, I was suffering. The questions continued in my head…the “what if’s,” the “what could have been”, and the more I dwelt on them, the greater the pain of not knowing the answers.
Sure those around me tried to comfort me, but when your focus is on the wrong things, nothing seems to help. Sure I went on with the daily things that needed to be done, but by the end of the week, even those began to be difficult to accomplish so I stopped. I stopped it all and just sat with my thoughts, my pain – it got so bad that I couldn’t even sleep. I was up all night just thinking – and not finding the answers, but deep within me I knew that I was suffering for the wrong reasons.
1 Samuel 30:6(NASB) “Moreover David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all the people were embittered, each one because of his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.”
And then the lies began to fill my head. “You’re not good for anything, look at your past failures,” I knew better than to listen to those lies, but they seemed to just keep entering my thoughts.
I even tried to spend a day with two men who I hold in high esteem, one being my dad and the other an uncle that has spoken volumes into my life by how he lives his, but while I spent time with them, I kept hidden the deep pain I was going through. (I do not recommend this for anyone) If you’re hurting, tell someone, anyone who will listen. If they don’t listen, scream it louder until someone hears you.
Still, I knew in my heart that I had to find something- anything that would get me out of this funk I was in. Then I remembered a verse from the Bible…“but David strengthened himself in the Lord his God”.
So that night, I sat with my iPad and listened to worship music I listened for hours and as I began to praise the Lord despite my pain, I felt as if my strength was returning to stand firm – to act like me and be strong no matter what. The next morning, I began to get on with life
Sure the struggles were still there, the questions still unanswered, but it seemed with each passing minute I was getting stronger…not in myself but in Him. If you’re in a place where you just can’t seem to find the strength, look to God Praise Him despite your feelings, it will make a difference.
Romans 8:5(NASB) “For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.”
Looking back at those rough days and nights, I began to see the pattern of where the problem started. I began to set my mind on the flesh and not the Spirit. I had allowed my flesh to dictate where my mind was. I was looking at the past…but only in view of the failures.
When we focus on them, we are destined to feel down, to hear the lies about not being worth anything – but if we listen to the Spirit, our past failures can actually be motivating tools to move us forward. As each day came, I began to start my day by praying for the leading of the Spirit. I already knew where the leading of my flesh would lead and I don’t want to go back there.
Another thing I noticed was that I had slowly moved away from meeting with a group of men in my life. Good friends who care enough to speak the Truth into each other’s lives, men who are not afraid to break down the walls of being “macho”, men who know that Jesus Christ is the only Way. They were men who could help me with the pain I was hiding.
It’s hard for men to admit we need help. We would much rather hide the pain than share it, but in sharing it, we find strength to get through the pain. Start by finding one other man in your life, and be honest with him and yourself of where you are in life…and of course pray!
-Tom Sember is the former men's ministry director for the New York District of the Assemblies of God. He currently is a men's ministry speaker and author and works closely with Mantour Ministries during our Mantour Conferences. He also publishes a daily devotional for men. To connect with Tom or to receive his daily devotional, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org