Framework For Joy

"Must just be baby blues", I thought to myself.

But as my postpartum months wore on, and consistent low mood and lack of zeal for life became a companion, I began to realize that I was dealing with something deeper. Depression can be like that. It can occur suddenly through a trauma, physical change, or slowly progress from various sources into a heavy, thick cloud that we can't seem to wrap a description around.

It has many faces and many causes, but one of the most challenging facets of this struggle can be the sense of inward shakiness we feel. Fragile seasons happen to all of us, with wildly different levels of intensity. We've scrambled onto scaffolding, many of us, and have done balancing dances, wondering how long our scaffolding would hold while we repaired some broken places.

So if it's just you and me over coffee, I wonder, friend, what do we rely on at the deepest level when we ache? What is our inner framework? How are we strategizing for joy? How are we being intentional?

Depression can and does seep into so many crucial areas, affecting our vision, our decisions, our productivity, and our relationships. I've learned through my own share of painful seasons that His joy strategies are the strongest, most incredible timbers that you've ever built upon. They can go the distance. They can carry the weight. You can build solidly on Him.

Could I offer some thoughts for a more permanent footing-- perhaps a framework for joy?

  1. Know His heart

He is willing and ready to give us the truth that we need when we need it. John 16:13 reminds us that "...He will guide you into all truth..." He is the Wonderful Counselor. His counsel is tested, pure, and right. (Psalm 19:7-9) One year ago, I had a specific focus in my prayer life for wisdom and discretion. It was astounding to me how He answered those prayers. Know that His heart towards you is to bring answers to your needs and desires.

  1. Know your heart

We are seeing like never before the importance of soaking ourselves in truth. When Scripture talks about speaking the truth in your heart (Psalm 15:2), it is guiding us to the key fact that our hearts hold and capture beliefs. In this, we see a very real and concrete physiological concept--that of holding, pondering, mulling over, grasping, and owning truth. This has been proven scientifically to be powerful in shifting from depressive states to positive states. What is your inner dialogue? It is also critical for us to examine who we are spending time around, what we are watching, reading, listening to, and what occupies our thought life.

  1. Ask For Help

Significant times of breakthrough can often happen when we embrace the help of someone who is filled with the truth of Scripture, strong in mind, body, and spirit, and is positioned to come alongside us. Bring the struggle to light in some solid companionship. Additionally, if you find yourself in a strong place, but you know someone who is struggling, please make sure they know that if they need someone to talk to you will be there for them.

  1. God's plan For Wholeness May Surprise You

Trust Him. He has strategies for you-mind, heart, and body. It is amazing to note the diversity in God's healing plan for people. He used an undesirable river (2 Kings 5:10-12), a fig poultice, (Isaiah 38:21), clay (John 9:11), the hem of His robe, (Luke 8:44), and so many more to individually guide those He loved to wholeness. He has a plan for freedom and strength for you. It may look different than you expect, but your wisest question to Him may well be:

"Lord, what is Your next step of action for me?"

Hear Him; hear His peace over you. Trust His love. Speak the truth in your heart. And know this, friend: God never patronizes you. When He restores you, part of His restoration is the gift of your dignity. You will know your place in Him.     

Jennifer Carroll

Jennifer Carroll is a wife, homeschooling mother of two, coach, and writer. You can connect with her on her blog.


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