Sometimes our worst enemy is our mind.  We have so many thoughts racing through the mind that can create fears that inhibit us, speculations that can send our thoughts in so many directions, thoughts of not being good enough, or a lot of persistent problems that can lead some people to feel depressed and overwhelmed.  God knows this, which is why He instructs us to destroy “speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Winston Churchill, one of history’s greatest leaders, was tormented by what he called his “Black Dog” – periodic moods of soul-crushing depression.  William Manchester wrote that Churchill suffered “spells of depression, sinking into the brooding depths of melancholia” all his life.  One friend said of him, “What a creature of strange moods he is, always at the top of the wheel of confidence or at the bottom of an intense depression.”

Often feelings of disappointment and hopelessness overwhelmed him, and thoughts of self-destruction were never far away.  Churchill once told his doctor, “I don’t like standing near the edge of a platform when an express train is passing through.  I don’t like to stand by the side of a ship and look down into the water.  A second’s action would end everything.”

Churchill coped with his depression by cultivating zestful companionships, avoiding hospitals, and incessant activity.  He told one friend that unless he was perpetually active, he would relapse into “dark moments of impatience and frustration.”1

Life can become overwhelming.  That is why the scriptures encourage us to cast all our “anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) Christ says, “Come to me all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Paul puts it this way; “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:1-3 NIV) And, of course, one of my favorite passages of scripture:  “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9; NIV)

The mind is “a terrible thing to waste.” (Romans 12:2)  “Stay focused…” (Hebrews 12:1-3)

(1)Morgan, R.J. (2000) Nelson’s complete book of stories, illustrations and quotes (electronic edition, p.208) Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers