During a time in my life when I was at a particularly low point, I was unable to do very little. I could not get up and go to work as I was accustomed. I was unable to care for my family. Even showering and dressing took more energy and effort than I could summon. I was so sick that all I could do was sleep, listen, and read. It was a time in my life that I despised, yet at the same time cherished.
Part of what perpetuates our penchant to hide behind a mask, is our inclination to compare ourselves to others. By comparing ourselves to others, we hold ourselves up to the image that they desire for others to see…the public mask they put on display. So we compare ourselves to others who were not given the same personalities, gifts, and talents as we so we will always fall short if we try to measure ourselves against others as our standard. Yet we must align ourselves instead with what we know to be true. The Bible says that we each are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).
My strength was failing. Sorrow was all I could taste. Hope was more than I could bear. I didn’t know what the next day would bring, but I couldn’t stand more of the same. If I was going to fight for my physical and emotional health to return, I didn’t want to be left unchanged. I prayed repeatedly that this torment that I endured would not be wasted and that the Lord would use this experience to draw me closer to Him, AND to help someone else.
Depression can be perpetuated by focusing on ourselves and our own pain, but when we focus instead on others and their needs, our own pain is lessened.
I want to be more intentional about living in the moment, practicing gratitude, appreciating how God has uniquely made me, and resting in Him. With an open mind and open heart, I prayerfully embrace all that God has for me in this next year. Will I stumble? I’m sure I will. And when I do, I will give myself grace. Even Paul acknowledged that he was not perfect nor had he fully arrived spiritually, but he continued to run the race, and I will too. The reward is the honor of being called by God. I can’t think of anything better.
True confession time, I’ve never been a big fan of New Years’ resolutions. As 2013 comes to a close, and you look toward 2014, don’t look at resolutions as something requiring perfection, but rather, an opportunity to pursue personal progress with God’s strength.