Thoughts: Elijah Underneath The Juniper Tree

~ 1 Kings 19:1-9

I have been thinking about Elijah’s story. Elijah has been one of my favourite prophets because of his accomplishments. The most exciting story about Elijah is his showdown with the prophets of a false god which in result God in heaven was glorified through Elijah (Elijah won). I’ve been reading many accomplishments in the Bible but I haven’t really notice the period of depression some have gone through (Except for the life of Job, I’ve read his story a million times) because I realise that sometimes I have always viewed prophets, apostles, or biblical people as unstoppable, fearless, courageous, bold, or sometimes perfect – I think that’s the problem with just seeing what my eyes think is positive, it conceals the mind from hard truths which can be positive in a way. With hardships I face everyday, this is one of the most eye opening stories I’ve encountered and it actually made my faith more mature than ever.

In the story, Elijah flees and ran away from wicked people to save his life. As he left, he soon had a journey in the wilderness. He went through a broom bush (juniper tree) and he sat down underneath it and prayed to God to take his life away and he fell asleep. Then an angel said to Elijah to get up and eat because the journey is too much for him. Then food was provided for Elijah; and he ate and drank and lay down again. For the second time the angel came back and told Elijah to get up and eat for the journey is too much for him. Once Elijah was strengthened, he recovered and went on to his journey again.

The story is simple, but I know there’s a reason why I stumbled upon his story. I learned that time, company, honesty with oneself can really help me, you, and people recover. I also learned that a journey can be really too much and people can be really limited. It took some time for Elijah to actually get better. There are also some factors why his sadness was magnified and maybe it’s because of hunger, exhaustion, fears, and pressures of his mission. Another thing, I really liked that this story is in the Bible and it really did highlight how God will always accompany us when the journey is too much.

If you find yourself sitting underneath the tree, it’s okay to rest – cry, sleep, lay down, or even pray. It’s time to be honest with oneself and with God. Destroy the idea that crying out is negative or bad. Crying gives relief and releases emotions that cleanses are minds and soul. End the thinking that crying must be stopped. Remember that people are limited; remember that Elijah did find himself sitting underneath the tree too; But, never forget to remember that God accompanied him and strengthened him.

 

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How To Turn Depression to Desperation into a Life Back on Track

First things first, I have been thinking of the difference between these two words – depression and desperation. I know that there’s a difference between them, even when some people think they have the same meaning. So I googled what others say about their difference and I found this link – What is the difference between depression and desperation?.

Here are the answers I gathered that I agreed with:

Answers Depressed Desperate
By Malini Rajendra When you’re depressed, you lack in energy and thus you’re fatigued, resulting in some physical ailments like digestive problems, body ache, loss of appetite etc!

 

 

 

But when you’re desperate, you’re loaded with energy to accomplish the task or get the work done. Also you’re prepared to go to any extent, by taking all sorts of risks (which is dangerous too)!

 

 

By Vikas Kanukollu  

 

When you are hit by depression, you shut yourself out from the rest of the world and try to act normal even when you are imploding mentally.

 

When you are desperate, you make sure that the world knows you are feeling depressed.
By Rex Fernando  

 

Depression is an emotional situation where you really don’t want to do anything. You’ll really physically feel HEAVY, and you’d rather continue to lie in bed rather than DO anything.

 

 

Desperation is an emotional situation where you really want to do something. Anything. You’re on tenterhooks to DO something.

 

By Chirag Arora I can’t do this. This is not for me. I will never succeed in this. I should leave this.

 

 

I can do this. I have to do this at any cost. I will surely succeed if I try this. I should keep trying. I will breathe peacefully only after I succeed.

 

Going back to the question, How to turn depression to desperation into a life back on track?

  1. Have faith – Firstly, always believe even there’s no reason to believe. This one is easy to say but it is difficult to establish. It might also sound stupid but it helps depression and having faith is also an act of desperation. Faith is a substance that needs development, it’s not something you can have right away because people always doubt. I started developing faith and letting it grow by practicing on my words which send signals and message to my brain, I always think of lovely things and it really does help.  Imagine the things you desire to happen in your life and you’ll expand your self-awareness and see your potentials; I have learned this from the book of Stephen Covey “7 habits of highly effective people” and I also have learned this from different people in the Bible and on how they grow their faith even when they have big burdens. I love reading books; I also write down stuff because my comprehension can be brittle sometimes and another hobby I love is collecting wisdom and knowledge. According to Stephen Covey, every human has four endowments: self-awareness, conscience, independent will, and creative imagination. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8
  2. I suggest a look on to hygiene –  There are many small ways on helping oneself up but I’ll suggest hygiene because i find this one more doable. Study says that poor hygiene can be a sign of self neglect, this can be true because we sometimes get tired of trying for life and to live. However, a small step on looking into your hygiene should be a mindset of achieving it for yourself and not for others. If you please others, disappointment comes and leads to sadness and leads to extreme isolation. Truth be told, all people have a judgemental attitude because of ignorance but some are understanding because they try to learn everyday. A look into hygiene should be intentional, this is a small step of faith on helping yourself up and a mindset of saying “I love myself”. I wouldn’t force you to do it since I understand the struggle, I have been there. However, I’m gonna be that loving friend to say “Try, because it feels good”. Whenever I clean myself up, I always feel comfortable and good. If you struggle with your personal hygiene, I am here to encourage you that you are not alone and just look into her story: Story of Grace Nonemaker.
  3. I highly suggest Fasting – This is probably my most important suggestion. This one is also a big step of faith. Depression is a state that comes from within us because of our environment, mindset, feelings, insecurities, lack of contentment, fading love, failures, and more. All humans have been depressed but others got stuck and others move forward. Now, I suggest fasting because depression sends bad messages to our whole system until it makes us blind then we fall deeper into the unknown until it will be too difficult to break the chains of being slave to depression. According to Matt Mattson, Chief of Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging (2014), Fasting does good things to the brain and physical health. Fasting helps reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in organ systems throughout the body. I have put more sources regarding fasting below the references and it is worth checking. I do Christian Fasting – science usually explains fasting as some kind of a dieting method which is not bad but true fasting is also about the mindset and mental health and I believe in order to do that is to have no.1 which is faith. So when I fast, I pray. When I fast, I live a servant lifestyle which is explain in Isaiah 58. Fasting is also my way out to depression and a form of desperation to make important decisions and good choices. Fasting does many good things for my whole being until I realise how to get my life back on track.

To shorten all pointers, turning depression to desperation into a life back on track is to practice on growing your faith by believing on your desires and imagination and to see your potential; To break the chains of being a slave to depression, try to start small with looking onto your hygiene because it is a way of saying “I love myself” and it is more doable. Lastly, a way out of depression is to be desperate on saving oneself by fasting – fasting is a matter faith and to focus deep within and to humble oneself. With faith, small steps of moving forward, an act of fasting to develop focus and think clearly – all of these will result to peace and hope. I testify.

References:

7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Why Fasting Bolsters Brain Power?
Fasting: A Path to Mental and Physical Transcendence
Holy Bible