Insight #316 – When You’re Feeling Down

To live a life of hope in Christ the solid Rock (Insight #315) is easier to write about than to put into practice. Any Christian knows (or should) that a big part of our living with that hope depends upon daily delving into God’s Word, daily pouring out our hearts to God, and weekly (or more) gathering with the saints. Beyond these spiritual essentials, let’s explore some other aids.

GOOD MUSIC

A great example is King Saul. “David took the harp and played with his hand; so Saul was refreshed and was well” (1 Sam. 16:14-23). Today we don’t have to send for a musician as Saul did. We have it all at our fingertips. Whether we stop everything to listen or have it as background while we work, good music can be uplifting. It can be as refreshing as colorful sunsets or gorgeous flowers. High on your listening list can be good secular music and especially good Christian music.

“Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; singing… Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly… with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing” (Eph. 5:18-19; Col. 3:16). With all the technology today, we can listen to others sing for hours on end, filling us with “the Spirit” and “the word of Christ.” We just might end up singing out loud ourselves. And we will find the melodies and words running through our heads even when the source is turned off.

PROPER REST

Daily: God made us so that roughly one-third of every day must be spent doing nothing. Sleep is a time of revitalization. They tell us that drowsy driving is as dangerous as drunken driving. You likely know that when you go to work sleep-deprived, you will deprive your boss of the top-notch work you are capable of.

“If I only had more hours in the day.” No way! Both scientific evidence and personal experiences like jet lag prove that more hours are no good. How many times did you tell your acting-up kids “you need a nap”? It is just as true of adults; a bad attitude may not be a sign of bad spirituality. Rather, it might be a sign of ignoring the way God designed our bodies. To function properly and to maintain health, our bodies need adequate daily rest.

Weekly: I do not believe that God intended us to be workaholics. That is plainly evident in the Ten Commandments. Not only were the people to cease from work one day a week, but also their children, servants, guests, and even animals were to rest (Deut. 5:14). No, today we are not under the Ten Commandments (2 Cor. 3). Nevertheless, in my opinion, we have a principle here that life is more than work. We need time specifically dedicated for worship, for family, and for relaxation. We are not robots. We are spiritual beings. Burn the candle at both ends and sooner or later you will get burnt. My beloved Margaret had a wise chiropractor who told her that there was an English word she needed to learn: “No.”

Periodically: I remember hearing of a missionary couple who were experiencing bad attitudes and assumed it was a spiritual problem. They got wise counsel from a brother who sized up their situation and told them they needed some extended time off to recuperate physically, mentally, and spiritually. And so it was. In a small way, we see Jesus’ example when he told the disciples, “You come apart into a deserted place, and rest awhile” (Mk 6:30-32). Smart CEOs know that giving workers weeks off annually is not just being kind; their employees will be better workers for it.

GET BUSY

There are times when a person needs the opposite of rest. There’s an old saying, “Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop.” Sitting around moping is not good for anyone. At times when Margaret was feeling down, she found relief by using all her energies to really give the house an extra-good cleaning.

We also have a Bible example in 1 Kings 19. God’s man Elijah had had it. He didn’t commit suicide, but he did ask God to take his life. Did God reject or even rebuke him for that? No, rather, God dealt very gently, approaching him neither in a raging wind, nor an earthquake, nor a fire, but rather in “a still small voice.” God did correct Elijah’s view of how many in Israel rejected idolatry. But rather than preach him a sermon, God gave Elijah work to do – anoint two kings and another prophet. Getting busy is sometimes a good solution to unhealthy attitudes.

WHICH?

There is no “one size fits all.” Much depends upon your nature and your situation at the time. If you really need to slow down or take a break, do it. If you honestly need to quit moping and get busy, do it. In either or any case, spice up your day by listening to some good Christian music. It can be good medicine for your soul. When you are feeling down, look up. And “whatever you do [whichever specific paths you take at different times], do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).