GUEST POST by Gregg Farah serves as a teaching pastor and the student ministry pastor at Shelter Rock Church on Long Island. He and his wife, Janine have been married for 20+ years and are the parents of three amazing daughters. Gregg says besides hanging out and laughing with his family, he enjoys writing, pursuring the perfect pizza slice, cheering for the Mets, and playing sports.

This is such a challenging topic that I’d love to offer humor to help deflect some of the pain you or someone you love might be experiencing. Instead, I’m going to share several ideas to help you care for yourself mentally, physically, relationally, and spiritually. You may only resonate with one of these ideas, but I’m mentioning several with the hope that 2-3 or 5-6 will give you a fresh perspective and some practical, next steps.

The first one is the big one:
1. Separate fact from fiction (Care for yourself mentally)
Maybe you’ve made some bad choices, or maybe you’re not leading the way you want, or using time the way you should, or you wish you had a different body or different skill set. That has not changed God’s love for you or His plan for your life.

I want you to imagine a coal burning train: an engine, a coal car, and a caboose. If you want the train to run, you have to put the coal in the engine. If you put coal in the caboose, the train won’t run and all you’ll have is a dirty caboose and angry customers. So you’ve got to put the coal in the right object. In the same way, separate fact from fiction. Put what you’re hearing and feeling through the grid of God’s word. Our feelings ebb and flow, so let God’s word help you separate fact from fiction.

2. Be realistic
If there are things you need to change, face reality and put together a plan

Care for yourself physically
3. Sleep
Sometime the most spiritual thing you can do is take a nap

4. Eat a good diet

5. Exercise
Sometimes when I’m feeling down, my body is reminding me I’ve been mistreating it.

Care for yourself relationally
6. Spend time with friends for honest discussion

7. Spend time with friends to laugh and have fun

8. Spend time with friends for accountability

9. Ask someone to mentor you…or see a counselor

10. Prayer and Bible reading (Care for yourself spiritually)
This isn’t a magic pill that will automatically make us feel better. But time with God gives us perspective and keeps us focused.

Seven years ago I was diagnosed with depression, and I did not like what I saw in the mirror. I attempted to push away God, friends, and family members. Thankfully they didn’t give up on me. I’m lucky, because even though I felt horrible, I knew I was loved. My depression was connected to an undiagnosed physical condition, so once I was able to treat that condition, my depression improved. So take time to evaluate how you’re doing spiritually, physically, relationally and emotionally. And know that God’s love for you never changes. It will never ever end. A mirror might reflect our physical image, but the image God sees when He looks at us is Jesus. Let that truth resonate throughout your entire being as you take a new step today…and then another one tomorrow.

Question: what would you add to this list? Share your thoughts

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