She was in her twenties and struggled with depression and thoughts of suicide. I had been there too, and she knew that. Many texts had gone back and forth trying to figure how to overcome depression and to live a life of true joy. She already knew Jesus but that didn’t solve what was causing her depression. If just knowing Jesus couldn’t cure her depression then what could? Joy.
There is an old saying that states it take 21 days to form a new habit and before I ruin that for you and tell you it’s a myth, let me challenge you to try it anyway. Like I had mentioned, I too had struggled with depression and thoughts of suicide over the years, and it seemed nothing I had tried fully helped. Finally, when I decided I was tired of being depressed, I chose to have joy.
When you decide you’re going to choose joy over depression it seems like any and everything that could go wrong to cause the depression to be worse, will. You can’t give up! During the first week of creating the new habit of choosing joy, there will be some of the worst days of your life. Joy is still a choice, but you can do it!
I know for me personally, and for this young girl, so many times I had chosen depression because it became easy. People came to expect that I was going to be depressed, and secretly, I was accepting that too. I was so used to the negative attention I got from being depressed and even suicidal that I would rather negative attention than none. Finally, when I chose joy and decided God was enough, the true joy came. It took time; it literally took 21 days of choosing joy before I no longer had to choose joy. It started coming naturally. Joy can become second nature when you choose it long enough.
21 days is by no means a cure all for depression, but I learned that spending 21 days choosing joy over depression sure made those days better. My prayer is that if you or someone you know is struggling with depression that you could or at least encourage the other person to take 21 days and choose joy, or at least until it becomes second nature.
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