On Depression and Negative Thoughts4 November 2021
You’re still worried. Tell me, why is that so? ‘Everything’s going well externally’; you’ve re-examined and sorted everything internal; you’ve taken your decision. So where are these worries coming from? They’re all from the enemy. All of them. From nowhere else.
How else could it be? What else could happen? Are you expecting to run your life all by yourself, through your own abilities and efforts? If that’s the case, I advise you to change your mind straight away, otherwise you’ll never be free of confusion and turmoil. Take another look at yourself or remember what I’ve pointed out to you or what’s happened throughout the whole time of our correspondence. Remember, as well, the outcome of your reflections on life. Finally, direct your self-examination in such a way that you end with a firm decision to place your future in God’s hands, without reservation. So, once you’ve taken your decision, pray fervently to God. Tell him: ‘I’m confidently leaving my future in your hands. Direct my life, Lord, as you know best and as you think fit. With all the unexpected events and difficulties that involves. From now on, I won’t worry and fret over myself. My only concern will be to do what’s pleasing to you’. Talk to him in these terms and show him in practice that you’ve surrendered yourself unconditionally into his hands, that you aren’t worried about anything, that you accept any situation calmly and without complaint, whether it’s pleasant or not, in the conviction that it’s been allowed by divine providence. Let your sole concern be the observance of God’s commandments in every situation.
Once you’ve taken this position, all your worries will be blown away. You’re concerned about yourself now because you want everything to fall in with the outcome that you desire. Obviously, that’s not going to happen and this is why you’re troubled and worried: ‘This didn’t turn out well; that didn’t go the way I expected’. But if you confidently hand everything over to God and accept that whatever happens is from him and for your own good, then you won’t be concerned any more. You’ll look around you, see what God’s sent and act accordingly. Every situation can be subjected to a divine commandment. Act, therefore, in accordance with the relevant command, seeking to please God and not to satisfy your own desires. Try to understand what I’m saying and decide to apply it. Of course, you won’t be able to do this suddenly, from one minute to the next. It requires a struggle and also prayer.
I’ll ask God to relieve you of this depression which you say is unbearable, but only if this is in accordance with his holy will and is necessary for your salvation. In any case, he’ll relieve you of it when the time’s right. Arm yourself with faith and patience. We see how rapidly the conditions of our life change. Things change all the time. Your spiritual state will alter, as well. The day will come when, relieved of this millstone, you’ll breath freely and spread your wings, like a butterfly skimming over flowers. All you have to do is bear the burden for as long as God permits.
When the lady of the house puts a pie in the oven, she doesn’t remove it until it’s cooked. The Lord of the universe has put you in the oven and will leave you there until you’re done. So be patient and wait. You won’t be in the oven a minute longer than necessary. As soon as you’re ready, the Lord will take you out. But if you jump out by yourself, you’ll be like a half-baked pie.
I should also tell you that, according to our faith, those who bear difficulties without complaint, in the belief that God has allowed them for their good, are equal to the martyrs. Always remember that and you’ll be comforted.
It’s impossible to live without emotions and feelings, but it’s not right to give in to them. You have to restrain them, through reason, and direct them properly. You’re sensitive and easily moved. Your heart overflows and pours itself out in your head. Try to acquire control over yourself. I’ve already written what you should do: think in advance where the probable stimulus for each emotion is coming from. Once you’ve located it, be on guard in order to prevent any emotional disturbance of the heart. And keep your heart under the firm control of the nous. You have to practice this. With practice, it’s possible to acquire total self-control.
But, in any case, everything comes from God. Given that, let’s turn to him in prayer. Yet you write that you don’t pray. What on earth is that? Have you become an atheist? What do you mean, you don’t pray? Don’t say the formal prayers, perhaps, but address God in your own words and ask his help. ‘Look, Lord, what’s happening here with me? This and that. I can’t go on by myself any more. Help me, merciful Lord’. Talk to him about your every need, even the smallest, and ask him for continuous support. That prayer is the most candid.
Why do you listen to him who discourages you from praying? Don’t you realize that that’s the devil’s work? It is, beyond doubt. He whispers in your ear: ‘Don’t pray’. And sometimes, since he has dominion over all your body, he casts you into your bed and sends you to sleep. All of these ploys are solely his. When the evil one is doing his job by distracting you from your good task, you should be doing your own work, carrying out your task until the end.
As I’ve told you many times, arm yourself with courage and don’t listen to the enemy. Don’t pay any attention at all to his whispering. In fact, get angry over it. If you get angry with him, it’s like striking him on the chest. He disappears like smoke.
I hope with all my heart that you’ll find peace in the end.
God be with you.