I grew up in the day when the video game set Atari came out. It was a really big deal when my parents made a special trip to Gold Circle early in the morning to get in line to get an Atari for us. We all had different games that were our favs- my brother and sister loved Pac-man, my mom loved Frogger, my dad loved Space Invaders, and I loved Pitfall.
This little guy traveled through many hazards of the jungle trying to collect treasures of silver and gold bars. He encountered rattlesnakes, alligators, scorpions, and quicksand in his quest. Sometimes as he was running along he would fall into a pit (or climb into it). That’s where the scorpion roamed and sometimes you were trapped between a brick wall and that little guy with a deadly stinger. I can still remember the sound it made when he fell into that pit.
Have you ever been in a pit? Felt like you were just journeying a long in life and then bam, Pitfall! I’m talking about depression here. That deep hole you don’t want to be in, but have trouble finding your way out of. We all face it to some degree at some point in our life. You may be there now, or you may have recently found the ladder and climbed out. You may be halfway down that ladder and trying to avoid going the rest of the way in! So let’s talk about just a few things we can do when we find ourselves in or near a Pitfall.
Number 1: Yell for help! Do not wait silently in the pit! Call out to The Lord and call out to a friend! Depression tends to cycle in and out for many people, but if it is severe, debilitating, or seems to be staying for the long haul, please tell a doctor. You do not have to be a rock all the time, and more than likely, your friends knows that pit well and can support you by letting you know you are not alone and praying for you. It can be freeing just to say it out loud to someone- removing the isolation- and the power of the enemy to whisper stinging lies!
Number 2: Take inventory of your physical, spiritual, emotional, and relational bank accounts. I did this recently myself. There are things that make deposits into these areas of our lives and things that make withdrawals. Take a look at what deposits need to be made into your life daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly to keep your account from completely depleting. Withdrawals come and they are part of life- that’s why we must make a conscious effort to make deposits, and limit any unnecessary withdrawals! Tip: Sometimes we do things in an attempt to make deposits that are actually making withdrawals. Be aware of what these things are for you! You will know them b/c they only provide a momentary relief.
Number 3: Ask God to fight for you. You may be feeling weak and vulnerable. Let this verse encourage you today:
“If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’ why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” Romans 8:26-28 The Message
The “pregnant condition” refers to the difficult times of pain we see throughout creation and experience as people as we await what comes next for us. They are birth pains that are around us and within us. We are yearning for deliverance! So what do we do?
Number 4: Shift your focus from self to God and what He can do (even when you can’t feel it). Trust comes alive!
“Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them–living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores god, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what He is doing.” Romans 8:5-8 The Message
Number 5: Wait. You won’t be here forever. It’s a difficult season, and the light may seem far away or nonexistent. But,
“If we go through the hard times with Him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with Him!” Romans 8: 17 The Message
Good times are coming, and you will look back and see that your faithful friend was there all along:) This I know!
What things do you do that make deposits into your accounts? What encouragement would you offer to someone who is in the pit today?