Turning the Page on Depression

breaking light

When you don’t want to wake up the next morning, pray that God may gently wake you up to the goodness happening all around you. Then soak yourself in it. Take it in and let it mindfully grow throughout your soul.

Last week I was out doing some garden work for an elderly lady. When I arrived, she invited me in for a cup of coffee in her tiny one bedroom unit. Like many older people living by themselves, she wanted to talk. She told me all about her family, her children and some of the tragedies of her life. All in half an hour. In amongst the conversation she said that often she would pray that she wouldn’t wake up in the morning.

Prayers from the Pillow

Secretly I think many people pray for this.

As the head rests on the pillow at night some of the deepest and most honest prayers are made.

As a struggler with depression, I know that prayer,  perhaps you do too.

You’re tired of the pain, you feel lost, totally alone and wish it would all go away.

There are other prayers you can pray from the pillow. I will share them later.

Passive Depression/Suicidality

Passive Depression/Suicidality is the kind of suicidal depression where you want to die, but you don’t want to kill yourself. You don’t have plans for intentional self-harm but you still in some way hope it will happen.

It’s the soil out of which the seeds of active suicidal ideation grow. It needs to be taken seriously, and help needs to be sought.

I wonder how long that thought had been nurtured?

Soulcare for the Suicidal

For someone in that dark place, the greatest gift you can give is your presence. Sitting and listening with no agenda is a beautiful offering to a tired soul.

A conversation where there is

  • No Fixing
  • No Advising
  • No Saving
  • No Setting them straight

Read – Please. No Fixing, Advising, Saving or Straightening Out

You ask gentle questions that demonstrate a connection to the soul. It’s a gift that we all need and can give.

There are two pillow prayers I would encourage you to pray even if you are not suicidal. Two prayers to begin your day when you go to sleep.

1. Prayer to be gathered in.

Jesus described God as being like a hen gathering her chicks under her wings.

How often I’ve ached to embrace your children, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you wouldn’t let me. Matthew 23:37

Jesus is talking to the people of Jerusalem and their stubborn refusal to come to God. She prayed to God that she wouldn't wake up in the morning

It’s beautiful imagery to use when you’re going to sleep. To imagine yourself being gathered into and under the protective wings of God.

‘God, gather me under your wings. May I feel your closeness, warmth, and love for me at this moment. Help me to hear your heartbeat of consistent love. As I sleep may you be at work in my situation.’

2. Prayer for awareness

The second prayer is one of awareness. What has God been up to while you have been cuddled asleep under the wings?

Look for the little gifts of God. A flower blooming, a bird singing in the tree, the refreshment of water. Soak in these gifts. Mindfully take them in and then give thanks.

Jesus, in talking about worry, advises us to be proactive in the taking in of Gods creation.

Look at the birds of the air. Matthew 6:26
See how the flowers of the field grow. Matthew 6:28 

Hope is not found in passively waiting for life to happen to us. It is discovered by actively taking part in the life happening all around us. It’s the little things we need to focus on, the small delights along the way.

‘God, wake me up to the reality of what you’re inviting me to be part of. May I see with fresh eyes the delights of your creation and to embrace their welcome’.

To wake up well

After listening to her story, I began working in her overgrown garden.

As I pulled away the weeds and pruned back overgrown shrubs, I discovered some succulents called Silver Dollars (Crassula arborescens), and they were covered in beautiful petite white flowers. She prayed to God that she wouldn't wake up in the morning

She got a great deal of delight as I exposed the beauty of them to the world. She remembered stories about them.

She was beginning to wake up well.

Then a neighbor called in to say good morning.

There were snippets of God’s goodness happening all around her, but she had focused her soul elsewhere.

The invite was there for her to wake up to the goodness of God in her day.

When we don’t want to wake up the next morning pray that God may gently wake you up to the goodness happening all around you. Then soak yourself in it. Take it in and let it mindfully grow throughout your soul.

Quotes to Consider:

  • What I focus on gets me.
    Focus on the negatives/challenges will always take me down.
    Focus on the positives/ good things will always give me hope.
  • Despair is a spiritual condition. Despair is when you fall under the belief and conviction that tomorrow will simply be a repeat of today. Rob Bell
  • Paying attention is being open and awake – ready to be seized by whatever is present to us in the present moment. David Benner

Questions to answer:

    1. What are the prayers you pray as you go to sleep?
    2. What little gifts of delight are happening all around you that you don’t notice?

Who is someone in your neighborhood that you could offer the gift of Soulcare?

Go to the original story by Barry Pearman here.

Steve has spoken, mentored and modeled to churches and leaders around the world with the simple message that anyone – regardless of their gifting or experience – can be involved in bringing God’s loving kindness to others. His first book, Conspiracy of Kindness has been translated into several languages with more in the works. His first book has sold over 300,000 copies. Altogether his books have sold over 500,000 copies.