303. Late Bloomers

Approved Cover

At the age of 58, Mitch Jasper felt his life was over. He had lost his family, was forced out of his job, and suffered from major depression. Here’s what he wrote about it all.

I was mentally under attack about it being too late in the afternoon. I’d win one skirmish only to find myself in another battle ten minutes later. I needed to move beyond endless introspection. My fingers and a computer keyboard were my instruments of action. I typed “late bloomers” into a search engine, and the results made a stunning list: Ray Kroc, who started a worldwide network of McDonald restaurants when he was 52, with major health problems and a life of neither fame nor fortune up to that point; Colonel Sanders; Grandma Moses, who started painting when she was 78; Nelson Mandela, who came out of prison to be President of South Africa on his 89th birthday; Charles Perrault, who published Cinderella and Tom Thumb when he was 69; Francis Chichester, who sailed around the world solo in 1967, when he was 65; Peg Phillips, who started acting professionally in her late 60s after retiring from a career as an accountant. And many others.

From
TOO LATE IN THE AFTERNOON
One Man’s Triumph Over Depression
Available in paperback on Amazon and eBook on Kindle

 

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302. They Caught Nothing

Full Pic

There’s an interesting story in the last chapter of John’s gospel. Seven of Jesus’ apostles had thrashed about all night in the waters of Galilee but had caught nothing. Isn’t that just the way it is with those of us who have struggled with depression and other dark places? We thrash about in our darkness and come up empty.

At the break of dawn, Jesus shows up and tells them to throw their net over the right side of the boat, and when they do so they catch 153 large fish. The precise number represents all the species of fish known at that time. In other words, Jesus gave them all there was to symbolize He was giving them all He had.

three-legged stool

I have written many times of the three-legged stool to triumph over depression: medication for our body, psychotherapy for our thinking, and Jesus for our soul. The last leg of the stool is what holds all three together.

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301. Healing Troubled Hearts

Bill's Book CoverIn John 14:27, Jesus said, “Let not your hearts be troubled,” but two chapters later He tells us that, “In this world you will have trouble.”

Those of us who have suffered from depression and other dark places know what real trouble is, as we have experienced sinking into a pit of helplessness and hopelessness. Thank God, that’s not the end of the story: the last verse of Chapter 16 says, “take heart! I have overcome the world.” That means He has come to heal our troubled hearts.

How this healing takes place is thoroughly told in a book recently published by my brother, Dr. Bill Day: Healing Troubled Hearts, through exchanges with the Master. In my opinion, it’s a must read.

Dr. Bill Day is a combination psychotherapist and minister; I don’t think I would have triumphed over depression without his Christian inner-healing ministry. I called on him many, many times over four years in the darkest pit I’ve ever known. His was a combination of wisdom and compassion that he now shares with everyone in his new book.

You can find out more on healingtroubledhearts.com.

 

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300. The King in His Kingdom

In previous blogs, I have pointed out that an unhealthy allegiance to your own self can be a source of depression and other dark places. However, self can’t throw out self, and if it could there would be a vacuum within you, and vacuums are filled by whatever is in the vicinity.

In John 18:37, Jesus says, “I am a king.” He is indeed the King of the human race, the second Adam. If we vacate our allegiance to our self and let Him occupy our souls, our life can be one grand vacation. When His Spirit permeates our soul, thinking exclusively about our self is replaced by thoughts of Him. Jesus in our soul is the King in His Kingdom and light in the darkness.

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299. Egocide

Suicide is devastating for the body, but egocide is good for the soul.

Ego is what you and I call “myself,” and too much emphasis on self can lead to depression and other dark places. I’m speaking of dwelling on past mistakes and lost opportunities, anger at other selves and forces that oppose us, and perfectionism, to name a few. Egocide is dying to this inordinate focus on self.

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298. Stopping a Suicide

Listening

What would you say to a young man who told you he was about to commit suicide? “Don’t do it. For God’s sake, don’t do it.” And you’d read all about him the next day in the newspaper.

People who are suicidal don’t reach out because they want someone to talk them out of it.  They want empathetic listening to help them process their feelings and thoughts. And so your job is to…listen.

Suicidal people are missing hope, a reason to go on, any reason. Don’t shy away from talking about death. To them, it’s both an emotional and logical option. Listen to their reasons and accept them as legitimate – before offering better options. “Seek first to understand, then to be understood” is Steven Covey’s fifth habit.

Perhaps a young woman is considering suicide because she has battled depression for several years, has sought professional help, and nothing has worked. “Yes, yes, of course,” you say, “but the professionals you are seeing may not be the right ones, and another medication may be effective, and even a person with treatment-resistant depression can be helped by new electrical stimulation techniques, as well as the old one of electroconvulsive therapy. And if even that doesn’t help, many people have learned to live and even thrive with depression, making lemonade from even the sourest of lemons. There is always hope.”

Finally, offer to stand by a person considering suicide and let him know he is not alone; you’ll help in any way you can. That’s what I do as a coach for those in depression. If you feel you aren’t able or willing to walk with him, find someone who can. As you do so, ask him for some time.

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297. An Antidote to Dark Places

A light in dark places

Thinking of ourselves first and foremost and ruminating on our past failures brings us into dark places, not the least of which is depression. It is as if a man walks from the sunlight into a dense fog.

Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” That is the antidote to dark places. When I was in major, major depression in 2007, the blackest of black holes, the light of Jesus was very, very dim, but it was still there. I needed a Christian psychotherapist to help me dwell on the light instead of the darkness. It was a slow process, but today the light of Jesus is very, very bright in my life.

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296. Love

Love God

God wants you to come to Him not out of desperation or determination, not out of a sense of mission or duty, not out of fear or need, not out of wanting something or striking a deal…but out of love. Love Him. You will fall away from all the other reasons for following Him, but you won’t fall away from love.

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295. Unforgiveness

Forgiveness

A wonderful source of depression is unforgiveness. Anxiety and stress are byproducts of unforgiveness, and these are two of the major ingredients of depression and other dark places.

Jesus tells His disciples in Matthew 18: 21 & 22 that they are to forgive those who sin against them seventy-seven times. In the Lord’s prayer He tells us to forgive those who trespass against us. My concordance cites 143 recordings of the word forgive and its derivatives.

I had a client in my depression ministry who was unable to forgive her mother, the aunt who raised her, and three other family members. Even when I asked her why God would forgive her sins if she did not forgive others, she still would not forgive. She rid herself of the worst ravages of depression by electroconvulsive therapy, but a low-level depression remained, and a joyless life.

 

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294. Believing the Truth

Lies we tell ourselves, rooted in the past, can be devastating in the present. I know of a young boy whose father, always with a notepad, went to all his sporting events. What this father did was write down all the mistakes the boy made and posted them on his bedroom door at home. The boy became a man who believed the lie that he’d never be good enough. He went through three marriages, a long history of lost jobs, and bouts of depression before he finally saw a Christian psychotherapist.

Together they went back to visit the boyhood scenes of a father’s rejection and inserted the truth: “Jesus loves me, this I know; for the Bible tells me so.” Slowly, slowly, the man started to believe the truth instead of the lie, and his life changed 180 degrees.

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