Life has taught me at least one trick for repelling dark assaults, even though I have every right to be angry and depressed (or at least that’s what I tell myself).
Consider the following: I was “assaulted” by a sixth grade boy when I was in kindergarten (a story for another time), suffered depression as an early teen, felt the onset of back pain from spinal issues in my mid-teens, dealt with chronic back/hip/leg pain in my mid-twenties and experience greatly limited mobility now (feeding depression and anger, especially with an overly active 17-year-old son and my four-year-old grandson).
And more issues from past and present I won’t bore you with.
But I’ve learned at least one secret to fighting my demons a little more successfully: SLOW DOWN.
For nearly twenty years I lived on the corner of a busy intersection in town. Sirens, lights, traffic and screaming neighbors raged all day and night, with no relief. Didn’t bother me for many years, but it finally started to fray my nerves. My wife could read the stress on my face.
“We have to get your dad out of this town,” I once overheard her telling my daughter.
At last, God blessed my family and, with the help of my father, we were able to buy a five acre lot on a country road, where it’s quiet. This is our rush hour now:
Maybe you also fight the demons of anger and depression (and others, such as fear and anxiety). I fully realize buying a new house is neither possible nor necessary in most cases, but with the help of God and your family, you can fight your dark spirits and win.
First, be honest: with God, your family and yourself. Instead of hiding them, express your true feelings to those who love you.
Next, trust the Lord for your needed change, while thanking Him for His blessings. BOTH are vitally important. If we spend all our time asking, we’ll have no time to be thankful.
Additionally, do what you must to remain gentle and kind. In a day when everyone, it seems, is angry, falling into the mud pit of rage is effortless. When you feel the fury rising, take two steps back and ask the Lord for patience. Take a deep, full breath and walk away.
In other words, in the midst of the city, have a country state of mind.
Finally, whatever it takes, slow down. In town we had 24/7 traffic, but our lives have slowed greatly, and now we can hear a single car (or tractor!) coming down the road. For me it meant moving to the country. For you it may involve backing off just a bit on your volunteer time, or staying home with the family more. Turn off the television (what my dad calls “the idiot box”) and take a walk. Eat at the kitchen table and talk to your family. Find out about their day. Tell ’em a joke. Earn their laughter.
Slow your life down, pray and trust God. When your mind and spirit are running at a slower pace, you’ll hear those demons of anxiety, depression, fear and anger comin’ down the road. When you can hear ’em coming, it’s easier to learn your individual tricks to fight ’em off.
“Let everyone see that you are gentle and kind. The Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have (Philippians 4:5-6).”