A significant part of finding my way out of the pit of depression involved transforming my thinking. At some point, I realized that negativity and sarcasm defined me. I was judgmental of others and unable to see that I could choose a different way of thinking. That gradually changed.
Change came through many “aha” moments, which I now realize were not sudden. My awareness of their significance to my thinking gradually increased until I could verbalize them. Those words now outline my mental progression from the muck and mire of the pit to living in victory.
The 80/20 Rule
What started as a way to combat sarcasm grew into an approach to be a better listener. If I say just 20 percent of what I’m thinking, I listen more and focus on myself less.
Slow But Don’t Stop
Initially I used this to keep myself running, which has never been easy for me. Eventually, it became something I told myself when the struggle of life felt unbearable.
Never Give Up
If I refused to quit, I would move forward eventually. If we never give up on ourselves or others, no matter how bleak the situation, we will see the evidence of God’s grace.
Struggle to Victory
Life this side of heaven is a struggle. If we keep moving and refuse to quit, though, we’ll discover that the victory Jesus has already won and the home he has waiting for us was well worth the journey.
Focus Determines Reality
If I focus on all the bad that has happened to me or the mistakes I’ve made, my reality is one of defeat and depression. If I instead focus on God’s grace and the leading of the Holy Spirit, my reality is one of victory and progress.
Progress Over Perfection
We won’t obtain perfection this side of heaven, but we can make progress towards it. At some point, we must take responsibility for becoming better human beings who are sanctified by God’s grace. As we are led by the Holy Spirit, we will make discernable progress.
Small Steps Add Up
Sometimes, the work that needs done is overwhelming. It’s often hard to know where to start. I’ve discovered that if I just focus on taking small steps, I eventually look back and see that they’ve added up to make a huge difference.
Living in Victory
Victory doesn’t mean free from struggle. Instead, living in victory requires a deliberate approach to regular mind renewal. Hope provided the fuel for my mental transformation, and these “sayings” reminded me of the mental action steps I needed to take.
I now see it was the Holy Spirit working mind renewal in me. He continues to remind me to watch what I say, to keep moving and struggling and to not quit, to tend my focus, and to keep making progress by taking small steps. When my feelings and emotions hijack my self-control and logic, these approaches help get me back on track. They also help keep from finding my way back to the pit.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)