Time Out: Whipping up a good pity party (Elijah)

Topic / Time Out

Time Out (by Jerry Schmoyer)

While some are more prone to self pity than others, I guess everyone has had a time or two when they’ve indulged themselves in it. Depression isn’t fun, and it isn’t easy to defeat. While there are various contributing factors, central to victory over depression is a strong faith in God. When we get our eyes off Him we sink emotionally just like Peter sunk in the water when he focused on the waves instead of Jesus in the boat. Elijah was a great man of faith, but when he lost focus he, too, sank.

After experiencing God’s power in a way few ever have, he ran away depressed. Challenging the priests of Baal was a draining experience and Elijah was exhausted when God burnt up Elijah’s altar and sacrifice. The priests of Baal were killed and the people turned back to God. But Jezebel threatened Elijah’s life and he fell apart. He forgot how God had protected and taken care of him when the raven fed him and when he lived with the poor widow. Instead he withdrew from the people and places he knew and told God he was tired of living and wanted to die. He said he was the only one still faithful to God and he was tired of it all. He got into a deep depression, felt sorry for himself, didn’t think God cared about him any more and even wanted to die.

What did God do? Well, God didn’t lecture him, scold him, reject him or punish him. God let him talk, had him eat and sleep, then let him talk again. After eating and sleeping some more told him to get back to work. God reminded him that he wasn’t the only one who had stayed faithful to God, that others had as well. Elijah got his eyes off himself and back on God and went on to continue his fruitful service as a prophet.

We can, too, when we do the same thing. Proper diet, enough rest, good exercise – these are foundational to keep good emotional and spiritual health. But even more important is to keep our eyes on Jesus, trusting Him no matter what happens It is easy to get our eyes off of God and onto ourselves when things get hard and we face difficulties and opposition, especially if we are physically or emotionally drained. God still loves us. He is still there. We are not alone. We need to stop believing those lies. We need to get your eyes off ourselves and back on Him!

1 Kings 19:3, “I have had enough, Lord,” Elijah said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”

Psalms 42:11, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”

Philippians 4:8, “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.”

1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”


  • Are you prone to self-pity and depression?
  • What usually triggers it in your life?
  • What can you do to help prevent depression from taking over?
  • How can you help someone else who is going through depression?

Jerry SchmoyerJerry Schmoyer has been a minister in Pennsylvania for over 25 years and has worked with teenagers for 14 years, ever since I became one myself. He authors the weekly Time Out series here at Life in Student Ministry in hopes to spiritually refresh your soul as you continually pour so much of yourself into students. God bless!

Posted on June 28, 2009

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