God is Better than Prozac

Ive struggled with depression over the past 15 years. The first was major and it was a long time in healing. With the help of a therapist and my doctor, I began counseling and taking Prozac. It got me out the a deep darkness -- enough that I could begin to see the hope of my belief in God.

Since then, I’ve had bouts of depression. There were times of more therapy and more medicine but each time I became more dependent on God for my healing.

I’ll be the first one to advise
anyone with depression to seek the help of a good medical doctor and get tested to see if there are some chemical deficiencies. I’ll also be the first to say that God’s healing can go deeper than anything else. But there are times when the chemicals in the brain need to be in balance. I’m no doctor and I’ve certainly simplified the issue.

Honestly, it truly is all about balance. Once the medical issues are in balance, it’s time to take a brutal look at the spiritual balance in our lives. I’ve come to the point now that any time --
ANY TIME I feel depression creeping in, the first place I look is at the spiritual side of my life. Is it balanced with my emotions? And believe me, it takes a lot to balance my emotions.

Fortunately, I’ve learned the truth that emotions are a result of how we see things and what we believe. Certainly, loss brings grief, a satisfying life brings joy, children bring laughter -- the list goes on. But we can’t always trust our emotions, particularly when we deal with depression and anxiety. Truth be told, I can “think” my way into an anxiety attack that could trigger heart problems or send my blood pressure skyrocketing.
But those thoughts aren’t real. They are the result of worry and my very vivid imagination.

You cannot tame your thoughts. You may think you can. You may try with medication. And it’s possible you can take enough to numb how you feel. But if you want to live a full and incredible life, drugs aren’t the answer. You can try with alcohol, relationships, careers -- that list goes on as well.

Taming our thoughts has everything to do with what we think about.

Paul wrote: “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:6-10, NLT

Prozac can’t promise that.

Blessings, Francine

A Cup of Coffee

There was a time in my life when the only thing I had to look forward to at the end of the day was the coffee I would have the next morning. It was a span of days or weeks; maybe even months, when I was deep in the darkness of depression. I was in a place I’d never been before and I felt pretty much alone. Everything was different. I couldn’t pick up the phone and call family. I couldn’t run over to my daughter’s and spend time with my young grandchildren. And financially, things were grim.

Have you ever been there? You may have had just one thing to look forward to but it was enough ... enough to get you through the day.

What is so sad is that it doesn’t have to be that way, especially if we have a personal relationship with Jesus. I did. But in my loneliness, I wandered from the light and got lost in the darkness. All I had was knowing I’d wake up each morning and enjoy the coffee I loved so much. Seems a bit silly now. But then, it was everything.

What is your “everything?”

Whatever it is, it doesn’t last. Oh, I still love coffee, most especially first thing in the morning ... sharing it with nature or the desert critters that visit us. But it is no longer my “everything.”

Almost everyone has something they hang onto in the darkness. Unfortunately, its significance and importance will fade, leaving you wanting more. Which begs the question, “more of what?”

That’s the wonder of Jesus. He is our all in all. He will never leave us. And He gives us eternal hope. Sometimes, we can’t see eternally; all we can see is our circumstances and often they look dark and dreary.

With the hope of Jesus in my life, I don’t have to worry about the circumstances. I know they will always change and, if I trust in them, they will always leave me wanting. Instead, I have an unshakable faith and I know, regardless of the circumstances, Jesus will fill my mind, heart, and spirit with a supernatural peace and joy. It doesn’t eliminate the pain. But then, nothing does. Rather, the hope of Christ gives me new eyes with which to see eternally. And as I recognize how fleeting this life is, I realize that the best is yet to come -- honest and true.

And I’ll let you in on a secret, I am hoping there is coffee in heaven.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by (I)prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
Philippians 4:6-8, NAS



Point and Click

I love technology. I’ve had various PDAs over the past four years that have been my virtual memory. I have an iMac that I adore. Camera, cell phone, digital recorder, iPod -- you name it and my husband has graciously given them to me. In fact, he tells everyone that teckie stuff is my bling bling. I don’t want diamonds or jewelry ... just the next version of the iPhone.

And I’ve used every item ... worn out a couple of computers, use a digital camera that no longer focuses through the lens viewer, and love my iPod shuffle, dents and all. But I have a confession to make. I think I should be able to point and click and get the results I’m seeking, instantaneously. So while I love technology, I’m severely handicapped in that I don’t take the time to read the instructions.

I was frustrated with my iMAC and it’s photo program. I could do lots of things with the click of my mouse but I couldn’t seem to figure out how to resize photos to send in email or upload to my blogs. And, it was definitely hampering creating a web site. I purchased "iMAC for Dummies" and, when that didn’t work, I purchased Adobe Photoshop Elements so that I could quickly resize photos. NOT! Oh, I’m sure it’s easy and one day I’ll figure it out. But one day is too far away for me.

Recently I decided to go to the Apple web site and read the promos on the newest programs that for the iMAC. I desperately clicked my way to the 2009 photo program. And in my rush, I accidentally clicked on the 2008 promo. There I discovered that I could downsize photos through my email function on the iMAC. I tried it and was stunned that it worked. I even figured out how to resize photos without having to attach them to an email.

It got me to thinking. Too often we want to grow spiritually ... and we want to do it NOW. We go to church, join Bible studies, and we love to purchase the latest best-selling books, convinced these things will be the MiracleGro for Christians. Maybe that works for some, but I can attest that it didn’t work for me. Don’t get me wrong, these things are important.

What DID work was immersing myself in God’s Word, surrounding myself with Christian music, and seeking God’s presence through prayer. Of course, I tried rushing through these things as well but it didn’t work either.

Now, I find joy in reading the Bible. My husband asked me if I knew what BIBLE meant. I knew this was no simple question. Then he grinned and said, “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.” I like that. Some people call it our Operating Manual. It’s why God designed it as he did.

So, before you rush out for the latest Christian best-seller or the newest translation of the Bible, just pick it up and start reading. Christian music can be comforting, uplifting, and a source of wonderful praise. Prayer is how we communicate with God.

Seems easy enough. But I bet there are a few out there, like me, who want to “point and click” our way to spiritual maturity. The thing is, it doesn’t work.

Oh, the joys of those who do not
follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners,
or join in with mockers.
But they delight in the law of the Lord,
meditating on it day and night.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do.
Psalm 1:1-3, NLT
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