According to a 2004 Rand Corporation report, depression results in more absenteeism than almost any other physical disorder and costs employers more than US$51 billion per year in absenteeism and lost productivity.
A zoo attendant entered a lion cage carrying only a broom. He casually swept with no concern for the wild animal. He even poked the big cat with his broom. The lion hissed at him and moved to another corner of the enclosure. An onlooker remarked "You certainly are brave." The sweeping man chuckled and said, "I ain't brave, that old cat ain't got no teeth."
In situations where there's not much danger, bravery comes easily. However, most of us face some very scary stuff. Having a sick child or losing your home, your income, your health, or your spouse can be terrifying. In circumstances like these, we can feel alone and vulnerable.
Children who feel that way curl up with a soft blanket or a cuddly teddy bear and feel more secure. But what can adults with big problems cling to? We need more than a piece of cloth or a toy to calm our fears.
When I'm scared, there are two sayings I like to remember: "To be afraid is to believe in evil more than you believe in God," and "Courage is fear that has said its prayers."
Many people think being brave means having no fear, but courage is actually continuing on, in spite of fear. Those who believe that God is ultimately in control can trust Him to do the worrying.
When facing fear, if we don't turn to God, we're missing out. He can provide the courage we need. "Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord."
I taught my grandson this Bible verse: "When I am afraid, I will trust in thee." (Psalm 56:3) We sing it at bedtime to calm his fear of closet monsters, but this simple verse applies to my adult-sized fears as well. When anxiety descends like a heavy fog, these nine words can release fear's choke hold.
When the lions in life bare their teeth, I tell God my worries. Then I put my hope in Him. Remembering that He's with me calms my anxious thoughts. Revelation 5:5 says Jesus is the Lion from the tribe of Judah. A lion may be the king of the jungle, but Jesus is the king of kings. (Revelation 19:16) He is strong and mighty. He is never afraid. He is greater than the lions.
Author Marsha Jordan is founder of a nonprofit charity called Hugs and Hope for Sick Children (http://www.hugsandhope.org). More of her articles on depression are in her book, Hugs, Hope, and Peanut Butter, a compilation of essays illustrated with drawings by critically ill children. Filled with hilarious commentary and practical tips for coping with life's hardships, Hugs, Hope, and Peanut Butter brings hope to the hurting and would make a great gift for anyone who could use a pick me up. Best of all, proceeds will benefit the sick kids of The Hugs and Hope Club (http://www.hugsandhope.org). Other similar essays in the book include, "More Than I Can Handle," "Ten Tips For Beating Depression," "Why Doesn't God Answer My Prayer?" and "What Did I Do To Deserve This?"