Spiritual Practice


Matthew, Sierra, Aidan, Laura & Lisa

devozine Praying Teen Guy TS 117402350Talk about Your Pain

When my parents divorced, I ignored my feelings and moved on. I should have dealt with my emotions at the time because painful feelings of anger, guilt, and loneliness resurfaced later. Of all the options I tried to help me work through my feelings, such as therapy or talking to my parents or my best friend, the most useful was prayer. Offering simple prayers in which I released all my feelings to God helped me to confront my emotions and to discard those that were harmful.

—Matthew Harrison, 18

Focus on God, Not on Your Fears

Tears2 TSP 101081000For me, depression hits hardest when I must make major decisions. I become miserable, disheartened, and exhausted from worry. I fear the future. I constantly wonder, What if? I struggle with confidence and faith, so naturally I expect disaster before it happens. In these times, I dig myself out of depression’s dark valleys through meditation. I clear my mind. I forget about imaginary disasters. I bring myself back to the present, when nothing is wrong and I can remember that God has plans for me. In these sacred moments, I pray without words. I pour out my heart to God through my tears, and God gives me peace and strength to face another day and to keep smiling.

—Sierra Williams, 21

Keep Track of Grace

Did you smile today? Did something make you want to say thank you? That was grace. When I’m depressed, I keep track of the grace in each day. Before bed, I write a list of the moments, the people, and the stuff I’m thankful for. Some days I simply write, “I’m grateful for coffee. I’m glad I didn’t have an anxiety attack today. I’m grateful for my brother and for the book I’m reading.” Other days it takes 30 minutes to name all the grace. Keeping a list causes me to pay attention; and I discover that my life is meaningful, that God restores my joy. The scriptures tell us to give thanks and to rejoice at all times, even in times of depression. I’ve learned that rejoicing does not start with bubbly feelings; it starts by saying, “Thank you.”

—Aidan Gscheidle, 18

depressed guy2 TSP 179273826Trust What You Know but Cannot See

Where I live, winter means cold winds, overcast skies, fog, and drizzle. I used to feel discouraged and depressed in this dreary world devoid of color. Then a camp leader helped me see that God has woven heavenly realities into creation. No matter how gloomy winter is, spring will always come. The trees will bloom. Grass and flowers will grow. Now on gloomy days, a walk outside reminds me that God is faithful and will not leave us in places of darkness. Even when the sky is full of gray clouds, the clear blue sky is right above them. Even on those days when we feel God has abandoned us, we can trust that God is still present, bringing us joy and hope.

—Laura Bacchus, 18



Let Jesus Lift Your Spirit

devozine Bleak Midwinter2 TSP 101197604I unofficially founded a support group called the “Hibernation Appreciation Association” (HAA!) as an attempt to raise my spirits when the days darken and the temperature drops. I’ve experienced deep depression in the winter, so I tie icy days with the desire to isolate myself and to sleep away tough feelings. But if I’m honest, I have to admit that depression isn’t tied to a season. It comes for many reasons and often stays, uninvited.

If depression is a fact of your life, try picturing Jesus standing before you, gently lifting your chin so that you gaze into his eyes. Tell him about your struggle and ask him to guide you to others who will listen and lift your spirit.

—Lisa Crawford

—from devozine (November/December 2015). Copyright © 2015 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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