(see part 1: “The Kind of Depression Medicine Can’t Touch”)
Acedia is a form of depression that medicine can’t touch. It’s a deep and tragic disconnect between one’s will and his being. Basically, he has chosen not to become who he was created to be.
Here, we want to look at a pathway to healing…
Several years ago, my wife Bonnie and I were living in Kansas City and one night she woke up feeling sick. A few minutes later, our carbon monoxide detector started blaring. She was 7 months pregnant at the time. We called 911 and within 15 minutes she was being rushed by ambulance to the hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning. Neither of us had smelled anything. Once at the hospital, they placed her in a hyper-barrack chamber and flooded her body with pure oxygen.
At times, we need a spiritual equivalent to such a chamber that will purge the poison and breathe new life into our souls. There’s no single pathway to healing acedia, but the ingredients are the presence and power of the living God, His word, wise counsel, and prayer. I recommend a few steps to get started:
–Start a soul detox
Get rid of anything that has become a crutch. For sure, eliminate media, alcohol, and anything else that distracts you from God or tempts you to sin. Eat well, get adequate sleep, and de-stress your schedule. In the margin you’ve now created, read scripture and develop or renew your prayer life. If you’re not sure where to start, check out Richard Foster’s book, “Prayer.”
-Enlist some help
Find someone who understands healing prayer and can serve as an encourager, prayer and accountability partner on your pathway to healing.
-Go forward by first going backwards
This may not sound like good news, but you need to confront your past.
A refusal to confront the past is a refusal to face present day reality.
Your past affects you whether you acknowledge it or not. William Wordsworth once wrote, “The child is the father of the man.”
The first step to freedom begins with a release from past bondage. A great book that describes such a process is “Restoring the Christian Soul” by Leanne Payne.
Some specific questions to pray about:
What do you most fear? Why? Be honest.
What are your signature wounds? How have you dealt with them?
Where are you struggling to receive or give forgiveness?
–Schedule a spiritual retreat
Bonnie and I have greatly benefited from programs at Christian retreat centers and monasteries. It’s easy to fall into a restless activism and overlook the care of our souls, and retreats are great ways to experience spiritual renewal and receive revelation from God. When we unplug, we’re simply more receptive.
Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash. -Matthew 7:24-27
Any other recommendations?