From the Church on the Hill
by D. Eric Williams
Pastor, Cottonwood Community Church
It is reported that between 17 million and 21 million people are diagnosed with depression each year in the United States.  Yet mental health professionals are not sure what causes the disorder.  According to the experts, there may be a variety of factors that contribute.  For instance, people with depression appear to have physical changes in their brains that sets them apart from people who are not depressed.  It is believed that traumatic events during childhood, such as abuse or loss of a parent, may cause permanent changes in the brain that make you more susceptible to depression.  Others believe depression is hereditary in some way since it is more common in people whose biological family members also battle the condition.  Indeed, researchers are trying to find genes that may be involved in causing depression.  At the same time, certain events, such as the death or loss of a loved one, financial problems, and high stress, seem to trigger depression.
Moreover, naturally occurring brain chemicals called neurotransmitters are linked to mood and are considered a significant factor in depression.  It is thought that changes in the body's balance of hormones may be involved in causing or triggering depression.  Thus, a certain percentage of people experience depression due to hormonal disequilibrium and are therefore unable to fix the problem without medical help.  On the other hand, many people suffer from depression by choice.  Allow me to explain.  
The Bible says, anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad (Proverbs 12:25).  According to Websters Dictionary, anxiety is, “concern or solicitude respecting some event, future or uncertain, which disturbs the mind, and keeps it in a state of painful unease. It expresses more than uneasiness or disturbance, and even more than trouble or solicitude. It usually springs from fear or serious apprehension of evil, and involves a suspense respecting an event, and often, a perplexity of mind, to know how to shape our conduct.”  Therefore, it is not hardship or heredity or that cause depression for most people but a self centered attitude and reliance on one's own strength.
The Apostle Peter tells us to, be humbled by God's power so that when the right time comes he will honor you. Turn all your anxiety over to God because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:6-7).  In other words, be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).  
We make a choice every moment of every day to live in our own strength or in the strength of the Lord.  When we choose to make our own way in life will eventually encounter depression.  
More on this topic in next week's article.  

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