Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. Acts 12:7
I’ve read this verse I don’t know how many times, but this time it just “hit” me. The angel popped Peter on the side – struck him – to wake him up. That wasn’t very angelic, was it? Then he yells at Peter (notice the exclamation mark) to get up. Again, not the gentle way I envision angels at work. But the result? The chains fell off and Peter was set free.
I think, when we are hurting, we want gentleness from people who understand and can empathize or at the very least sympathize. However, sometimes we have been lulled to sleep by the voice of our constant companion (depression), and we give in to the demonic lies that tell us today will be no better than yesterday – just stay in bed. We give up hope in God, ourselves and our lives, and therefore give control over our lives to the enemy.
That’s when, I believe, we all need a friend who will just slap us, wake us up and say “snap out of it!”, just like the angel did to Peter. Being gentle doesn’t always cut it, and often sympathy can enable us to remain a victim instead of taking our lives back. Victims have no power – but we are Christians. We have unlimited power, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. Romans 8:11 says:
…the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you…
Even with depression that is chemically induced, we still have a choice of how to ACT, regardless of how we FEEL. I know that it is easier to just give up and go back to sleep. However, it is up to you to tap into that resurrection power and push yourself out of bed. Just getting out of bed when you don’t want to face the day gives you immediate victory over Satan. Rejoice simply in that!
Ecclesiastes 9:4 says:
Anyone who is among the living has hope – even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!
That means that as long as you are alive, things can change, life can get better, you can be happy again. I like the metaphor of a rudder on a boat. If the boat is not moving, the rudder cannot steer the ship. You have to get moving in order to get to the place where you can be happy. And that doesn’t happen when you stay in bed.
Accountability can help – find someone to spiritually smack you when you are believing and repeating the lies you are hearing in your head. If your trouble is getting out of bed, ask that friend to call you and speak the truth to you to help you put your feet on the floor. If you don’t have an angel to smack you with a rousing wake-up call when things get tough, you may have to smack yourself.
How about, on a good day when your head is clear, you record a video to yourself that speaks the truth strongly. Remind yourself that there ARE good days. Remind yourself that there is no way that this day can ever BECOME a good day if you don’t shove the ship out of dry dock and into the water.
Did you ever see “50 First Dates”? The girl had to watch a video every morning to tell her the truth about her present life, because every night when she went to bed her memory was wiped clean. She also made a journal. Make yourself a video or a journal to tell yourself the TRUTH of your situation, God’s version of your life and your future, and play it every day!
Satan wants you to lay down and die. I want to smack you and tell you to “Quickly, get up!”, so your chains will fall off! Satan’s effect on a person with depression is like the older elephant who still thinks that a little chain can hold them in place. You experience one bad day and Satan convinces you that every day will be just as bad as the last day, so you don’t even try to have a good day. TRY, break the chain, trample all over Satan!
*You’ve heard the story – they take baby elephants and chain them to a stake in the ground so they believe they can never move beyond a certain radius, and when they are grown, they still believe the lie. That’s how circus workers don’t get trampled.
So excuse me if today I play Peter’s angel to your depression. I just want you to be set free and have the chains fall off. I also can’t wait to hear about the earthquake that follows that sets all of the prisoners around you free as well! Your life, your happiness, and the freedom of others await you!