Depression is often caused by burnout. Simply put - you have overdone it! I am very prone to this as I tend to like to do a lot. Very often I only realise I have done too much when it is too late. Learning to rest has been a key for me to avoid getting depressed and burnt out.
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.
Paul summed it up nicely in this verse in Philippians. You will find this is a fascinating verse if you look into what hearts and mind means in the original text.
Rest Your Mind
Heart in the original Greek text is “kardia” as mentioned in the chapter on the mind, which is the thoughts or feelings of the mind.
Mind in the original Greek text is “noe ma” which means a perception, purpose, disposition or the intellect.
Would you agree with me that ‘the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,’ sounds like a great rest for your mind? Paul suggests that we can have this simply by ‘being anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God’. Not only will this give you peace but ‘will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.’ Too often I get all stressed and agitated because my ‘ thoughts and feelings’ are filled with too much worry and so is my ‘perception, purpose, disposition or the intellect’.
The reason I am writing with so many quotation mark and italics is because I don’t want to dilute what this verse is actually saying. It’s so simple and the point could easily be missed or complicated. We can rest our minds by not worrying. Um... sounds familiar? Jesus said this too several times in the Bible and clearly stated that worry can achieve absolutely nothing in our life - so why worry?
Paul brought it up again when instructing young Timothy, saying that God didn’t make us worriers but gave us a sound mind. 'Sound mind' in the original Greek means discipline or self control, so accessing this sound mind involves our will. God has not given us a worried mind, He has given us a mind that we have the ability to control so we must choose to rest our minds from worry. If we won’t rest our minds we can’t expect to rest in any other area of our life either.
I am not going to give you a “how to” list because most of what I have written in this book will double up as a “how to rest you mind” list too. For example, if you apply the chapter on making lists to the area of resting your mind, you will see that it would be good to make a list of things that cause you to worry and stop you from worrying. When you find yourself worrying, you can yank out your list for some ideas of what to avoid of what to do to stop worrying. The chapter on choosing your friends can help you rest your mind too because some friends will cause you worry and other friends will bring peace into your life. Eating well, exercising and sleeping affects your ability to unwind so you could use this chapter to find ways to rest your mind. I am sure you are getting the picture now. Most chapters can be applied to the area of resting your mind.
Rest Your Body
I have heard some people tell me not to be religious about the seventh day rest as we don’t live under the law anymore. Yes that’s true but don’t throw the baby out with the bath water! I believe God gave all the instructions to the Jews for their benefit, not to catch them out with laws. If we carefully examine every single law God gave in the Old Testament we can clearly see how they were for the Jews benefit and still today those “tips” that God gave them are totally relevant to us too. Sure you don’t have to do what the Bible says, it certainly won’t send you to hell or anything, but why would you want to blatantly disregard God’s helpful tips on how to live on planet earth? He did create earth and us after all! If I buy an appliance, I do like to read the manufacturers guide to understand how to use my appliance. It would be kind of silly to throw the handbook away and then sit and struggle for weeks trying to figure out how the silly thing works, wouldn’t it? In my humble opinion I view the Bible in a similar way, as life’s hand book written by the manufacturer of me.
OK enough waffle, back to resting our bodies... God made it a very serious offence to neglect the Sabbath. He really wanted people to understand that their bodies needed rest, so he added a death clause to it as a consequence.
You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.