SMALL GROUP MATERIAL
EMOTE – DEPRESSION
Wednesday February 13, 2019 – Small Group Discussion
KEY SCRIPTURE: Jeremiah 20:14-18, Psalm 42:1-11, John 16:33 and Romans 8:38-39
MAIN POINT: When I am sad or depressed, I need to reach out, not collapse inward
INWARD PRAYER – Prayer for ourselves
- How was your last week? What have you learned about God this past week?
- Off the top off your head, what sorts of circumstances lead to long term depression? Are they all large traumatic circumstances or can it be a number of smaller circumstances? Explain.
- Why do you think depression is not talked about in church regularly? If you are depressed, what might that say about your Christian faith? Are people who struggle with depression weaker people than those who don’t?
- If you noticed a friend struggling with sadness, how would you approach them about it? How would you like someone to approach you?
- If someone in your small group was struggling with depression, what do you feel your group’s role should be? Is prayer enough or is there more a group can do?
- Read Psalm 42 as a group and look for two things. 1. Words that express deep sadness 2. Phrases of hope. How is this Psalm encouraging for you? Can we have both negative circumstances that make us sad and have hope and praise God at the same time? Is that easy to do? Why or why not?
- How will you impact someone struggling with sadness or depression this week?
OUTWARD PRAYER – Prayer for others
EMOTE – DEPRESSION
Wednesday February 13, 2019 – Devotional
WHAT’S THE POINT?
When I am sad or depressed, I need to reach out, not collapse inward
Jeremiah 20:14-18, Psalm 42:1-11, John 16:33 and Romans 8:38-39
The section in Jeremiah contains some very depressing words spoken by Jeremiah. In a backward’s way this might be an encouragement for youth that people in the Bible struggled. Highlight the depth of the emotion and the reality for Jeremiah. It is important to note that Jeremiah didn’t hold back with God, he went to him with his depression. When we are in dark places, we need to reach out to God and to trustworthy people who care about us.
Psalm 42 expresses deep sadness and depression as well. The writer doesn’t stay in that spot though. Throughout the verses he highlights the hope he has in God. It’s important to communicate that in the middle of our sadness we not lose our hope for God to work in the middle of our circumstances or give us the strength to handle them.
The verse in John contains Jesus’ words. It is good for students to know their struggle is not bigger than Jesus and that He has and will overcome. Often our perspective is that our circumstance is insurmountable. We forget that Jesus is all powerful and wants the best for our lives.
The Roman’s verse is a similar reminder to the John verse.
Start off by sharing the slide provided below of an Instagram post:
NEED TO FIND THIS AGAIN AND POST LINK HERE.
Ask: “Has anyone encountered this kind of post on social media before?”
Ask: “How do you respond to this kind of post?”
You can tell them after that this is actually Jeremiah 20:14-18 from the Message but that it’s quite normal to encounter this kind of depression every day
Alternately, share a story when you experienced depression in your life or about someone who you are close to. Share the emotions around it. Unless your story is a “perfect story” try to avoid the temptation of sharing the simple “I was depressed, I found Jesus, and now I’m not depressed” kind of story. Youth need to see the wrestle of the story and the reality that it’s not always perfect.
WHY DO I CARE?
- Depression is very real and if I don’t struggle with it, I probably know someone who does struggle with it
- Circumstances that negatively impact me can become my whole world and it is easy for me to forget that God is in control
- There is hope, no matter the situation, because Jesus both cares and is in control
WHAT DO I DO?
- Find a good friend (or friends) that I can share the struggles of life with
- Share my struggles, and circumstance (not as gossip with names, but to be heard)
- Share my struggles out loud to Jesus
- Ask Jesus to share with me his view of my circumstances and His perspective of me
- If I struggle from depression, talk to a leader and/or get professional help
This devotional is to tackle the topic of depression and to handle the circumstances that may lead to it. One of the most depressed people in the Bible that I am aware of is the prophet known as the weeping prophet, Jeremiah. Below is a quote from an article on Jeremiah’s depression, describing what he is like, it can be found at:
Jeremiah was a most unlikely super-hero. There he was sitting around one day minding his own business and God says, “You will be my appointed spokesman to all the world. To this Jeremiah responds, “You cannot be serious?” Ok, not exactly how he responded but in effect Jeremiah was only 12 or 13 at the time! Jeremiah had made it plain to God that he didn’t feel up to the job but God said he didn’t need to worry because He, God, was in control. There were times in Jeremiah’s life, like this passage (Jeremiah 20:7), when he seemed to forget that and you can’t really blame him.
He has just spent time in the stocks for the crime of preaching the mind of God; he had just been punished as result of righteous teaching. He had experienced confrontation with the power structure of the nation who refused to do right and who refused to heed the warnings of God. He had been thrown in a cistern and left there. Jeremiah has invested two decades preaching – to no avail; the people are no nearer to God than when he started and God is no nearer than when Jeremiah began. The Babylonians are still on the march and the religious leaders are still playing at being church. Cruel oppressors were still in control of daily life and conspiring to exclude God from everything.
That Jeremiah is speaking God’s words has made him an object of ridicule, insults and cruel treatment. The saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is an absolute lie! Broken bones and bruises mend and fade. Words wound deep within and can cripple for a lifetime.
Jeremiah heard the mocking whispers as he passed by: “Terror on every side” had become his nickname. Even his friends were against him. It’s painful enough when those we don’t know laugh at us but when our close friends mock us the wounds can feel intolerable.
It might be a little long to read to the youth, but it would be good to present the main points of who Jeremiah is. I think he is mostly an unknown character in the Bible for our youth. It is good for them to see that someone used by God has struggled with depression. It is also good to note that depression is not just being sad. Depression is more of a prolonged sadness, not just a day or two, but weeks and months at a time.