I recall being amazed that my pastor and friend, Mark Sutton, suffered with recurrent bouts of depression. When I learned that he had gained victory over those horrible feelings of hopelessness, it gave me hope. For I had also undergone a long period of depression necessitating professional counseling. During that period, God led me to develop a series of tools designed to help overcome these negative emotions. Once Mark revealed his own personal struggle with depression, I found a sympathetic ear. I shared the details of my battle, including my most effective tool, the LifeFilter. Intrigued by our common experience, Mark asked me to help him write a book about depression, using both my personal experience and my medical knowledge. His vision was to share a simple, day-by-day program for understanding and overcoming depression with clear explanations of the medical aspects of the disease and solid biblical principles.
Just where did the concept of LifeFilters come from? Since the age of 17 I have suffered from high blood pressure. Even though I was a teenager, I still required daily doses of medication. During the early months of my struggle with the worst depression of my life, I realized I could only overcome the disease with daily doses of mental “medication”. What form would this preventive medication take?
I realized the process of depression involved the realm of the mind. Knowledge is the most powerful tool in overcoming the lies that the depressed mind conjures. One phrase I recalled from my counseling was, “What is the lie?” What falsehood had I bought into that made me so depressed? If I could ask myself that question every time I felt depressed, perhaps I could seek the answer – the knowledge that would lead me out of the darkness. Choosing the Word of God, I designed a simple card with a series of thought-provoking questions on one side and a scriptural answer on the other. I would choose a different card every day and when I felt the wearying weight of depression fold its dark wings about me, I would take out the card and ask the questions. After identifying the “lie” I could then turn my attention to the truth of God’s Word. Thus, the LifeFilter was born: a process of filtering my thoughts and emotions through a series of questions until the lies were removed and only the truth remained. The truth of God’s word. God’s promise. God’s knowledge. God’s healing.