Fighting the Funk
I am an Ordained Minister, Certified Life Coach, Biblical Counselor, Certified Corporate Instructor, Community Activist, Change Agent and probably some other stuff I forgot. So that naturally means I should always have it together…right? My smile, display of the fruits of the Spirit, ability to speak life into any and every situation and ready command of Scripture should perpetually post up in my life 24/7…right? Well sorry to disappoint you that isn’t always the case.
To God and the Holy Spirit’s credit I am on point about 95% of the time. It took beaucoup grace, mercy and Godly patience to change me because I was “a piece of work”. But when I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior; God changed me – (2 Corinthians 5:17) “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” And God promised to finish the work He started – (Philippians 1:6) “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Praise God! Hallelujah!
I briefly want to talk about and give some strategies for dealing with that other 5% of the time when we just ain’t feeling it and we’re slogging through the “valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23:4). Or when life just throws us the curve ball of unexpected tragedies. Yes even your best and most godly leaders feel that way at times. Read the biography of King David, Jonah, Job, Elijah, John the Baptist and even Jesus. Remember His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. How do you think He felt facing the suffering and death He knew awaited Him leading up to and at Calvary (Matthew 26:36-46)?
Ok let me share my battle with you. Doctors diagnosed me with Hepatitis C over twenty years ago. Hepatitis C is a stealthy, silent killer that can lay dormant for up to 30 years or more without any symptoms and then flare up suddenly to cause severe liver damage or even death. This disease came about as a result of my heroin abuse and sharing needles in the late 60’s and early 70’s. You see sin has consequences even after God has forgiven us, cleaned us up and given us new identities and lives.
The treatment for Hepatitis C is intense similar to treatment for cancer. You take 7 pills daily (ribavirin and solvadi) and a weekly injection of peginterferon for 12 weeks which can cause some serious side effects. These side effects include achy bones and muscles, flu-like symptoms, weakness, low red and white blood cells which cause fatigue and some more. I’m blessed with a very strong physical constitution and these side effects were minor. The side effect that tried to pounce on me was this: (Alpha interferons, including PEGASYS (peginterferon alfa-2a), may cause or aggravate fatal or life-threatening neuropsychiatric, autoimmune, ischemic, and infectious disorders). In laymen terms this medication can cause severe depression!
Ah depression an old nemesis of mine and a spirit I was intimately familiar with was ready to move back into the house he saw swept clean by years of deliverance through God’s Word. Depression attempted to overtake me and rob me of what God has deposited in my life – (Matthew 12:43-45) “When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first…”. After reading that scripture I thought to myself, “if my condition becomes 7 times worse than it initially was I can hang it up”!
So what did I do? I FOUGHT! I didn’t and couldn’t fight this spirit physically so I cried out to the only real help I know Good God Almighty! (Psalm 121:1,2) I lift up my eyes to the hills– where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
Prayed – yes simply prayed and asked God to show the root of the problem which really wasn’t the medication but that spirit of depression that was lurking to pounce on me and wreak some havoc in my life – (Ephesians 6:12) “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Praised – I determined to offer the sacrifice of praise to God REGARDLESS of how I felt. This includes listening to uplifting spiritually based music – (1Chronicles 16:9-11) “Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.”
Proclaimed – at first I was reluctant to share this testimony because of some pseudo shame that tried to silence me until God reminded me that my deliverance depends on my willingness to share with others. Who knows there are over 30 million people diagnosed with hepatitis C. It’s worth sharing even if my testimony helps only one person – (Revelation 12:10-11) “Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”
Proper exercise and nutrition – exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as “euphoric.” That feeling, known as a “runner’s high,” can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life. Proper nutrition makes sure all of our bodily functions are optimized – (1 Corinthians 3:16-17) “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.”
Well I wish I could tell you the battle over because it’s not. But I know I have the victory and will come out of this fight with more than I entered in with!
Alfred Long Sr. is an Ordained Minister, Certified Spiritual Life Coach, Certified Corporate Instructor and Motivational Speaker. He is the Director and Founder of Jacob’s Ladder Ministries a 501c3 Non-Profit dedicated to choking the School to Prison pipeline.