Sometimes, when we’re feeling down and discouraged, our natural tendency is to focus inward. This is especially true for many people who struggle with depression. Being around people, even loved ones, can be exhausting. It can be draining, and requires energy that you feel like you just don’t have.
Furthermore on those days we’re often more insecure than usual. You might think that you have nothing to offer, or that you’re just a bother.
Don’t believe that lie. Yes, it can be tough, but pushing ourselves to interact with others can be a game-changer when discouragement is involved.
Here are three types of people who can be especially helpful for you during this time.
I have to admit this one is tough for me. I have struggled with maintaining close friendships, and a lot of the reason is because of my depression. However, good friends can be such a blessing.
The key is to be discerning. Find 1-2 trusted people that you can confide in and ask them to pray for you. Find one or two trusted friends that you can call up and count on to help you get out of the house.
Be sure you’re hanging out with the right people here. Some might be great at letting you vent or ranting along with you, but what you really need is someone who will point you to Jesus. Look for someone who is grace-filled, but not afraid to speak the hard truths. Sometimes a little tough love is the best thing to pull us out of a pity party.
At the same time, if you’re struggling with clinical depression, unfortunately, you may have to tread lightly and be wary. Yes, hard truths are sometimes necessary, but at the same time, you need someone who understands that depression is a real medical issue, who will take it seriously and have your best interest at heart.
If you don’t have someone like this in your life:
- Turn to the Lord first. There have been times in my life when I’ve struggled with not having friends and looking back I can see that it was because the Lord was teaching me to turn to Him first instead of other people.
- Pray. Pray that the Lord will lead you to a friend, and that He will show you someone who is in need of your friendship as well
I love to find real-life encouragement from someone who has been there, done that…and has done it well. Look for those Titus 2 women in your church, or on a blog if you don’t have anyone in real life. Watch these women and see what they do. How do they get through trials? If you feel comfortable enough, you can even ask them for their advice. Just be sure not to discount it. Not everything will work for everyone, but some things may surprise you if you give them a chance.
Whatever it is–a blog, a book, a fictional character, a real person–find something that challenges you and encourages you. Most importantly, look for sources that point you to Jesus!
Someone to Serve
Bear with me, here. I get it. You’re overwhelmed. You’re tired and weary, and couldn’t possibly imagine adding one more thing to what you’re already doing.
I’ve been there and I get it. But nothing pulls you out of the doldrums like serving someone else.
Sometimes we can get so inward focused that all we can see is the stress of our own problems and to-do lists. When we look outside ourselves, things have a way of coming back into focus.
So look around you and find someone who needs something. Call a friend you haven’t talked with in a while–it could be that she’s discouraged too and your phone call could help you both. Take a meal to someone who’s been sick. Find something productive and encouraging to do for someone else.
You might be surprised at the impact it has on your outlook.
When You Need Encouragement