From Quicksand to the Mountaintop

Wednesday, January 27, 2021 @ 4:45 PM

“Come quickly, LORD, and answer me, for my depression deepens. Don't turn away from me, or I will die” (Psalm 143:7).
When I was trapped in what I called the “quicksand” of depression, I read Psalm 143. I tried to identify with David who was also in a deep state of despair at that time he wrote the Psalm.
Unfortunately, when I was up to my eyeballs in the “quicksand” of depression, I found it impossible to see clearly. What I saw in the Psalm was a healthy (even robust) man, surrounded by people who loved and respected him enough to help him hide from a king. I saw David as a guy, enduring adventure and intrigue. In my self-pitying, nerve-pain-wracked, trapped-in-my-home-prison mind, David's life was a pony ride compared to my lonely life.
Depression shifted my focus inward and the more I looked at ME, the more pain and depression I felt. When I tried to look outside of myself, fear snapped my focus inward. How could I empathize? How could I reach outside of myself when the pain and loneliness, the emptiness consumed me so completely?
How did I escape my prison? I'd like to say that the Lord immediately enabled me to blast my way out, and I’ve never looked back. After all, “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). I can say that the Lord freed me from my depression, but it took time, it took praise – even when I felt like crying, it took prayer, it took a daily dose of His Word, and it took allowing God to shift my focus from an inward concentration to an outward reach.
Psalm 30:11,12 says, “You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. LORD my God, I will praise you forever.” Grabbing hold of this verse, I awoke daily singing praises to the Lord. In fact, when pain awoke me at night (every couple hours), I would put earbuds in, listen to my favorite praise music, and walk laps in my house, belting out songs whether or not I knew all of the words.
Praise eased the heaviness of my heart and shifted my focus upward, away from the pain, away from the loneliness and depression. It allowed me to rise above my circumstances and to actually function amid the shackles of debilitating nerve pain. With daily praise as a springboard, I rose above pain and depression enough to include prayer and Bible reading. Soon, the Lord lifted me out of the “quicksand” of pain and depression, and called me to reach further outside of myself by sharing His love and compassion with other people in pain.
Praise is STILL the foundation of my daily routine. It draws my focus outside of me, away from the distress of chronic pain. Praise reminds me that pain and other trials are temporary; God's love is eternal.
You can rise from the pit -- or quicksand or whatever you call yours – of depression. Here’s how:
• Each time you feel a flood of depression pulling you inward, blast that praise music and sing along until you feel yourself rising above the pain of resentment and depression and outside of yourself.
• Talk to the Lord; pour it out, every thought, feeling; give Him your whole heart. Now, listen. Take at least three full minutes (more if you can) to be still.
• Finally, get out and go. Do whatever the Lord told you to do when you were listening. At first, you might not hear much. If that’s the case, go for a walk, a drive, a bus ride; come back and dig into your Bible.
Eventually, your praise, prayer, listening and the Word will produce results. Press on.
Read more about overcoming the stronghold of depression here: