Depression

13 Reasons to Live: It’s Not Over

Blog_TheaterStageIt was my son’s first time at a play. When the curtain closed after the opening scene, he whispered, “Is it over yet?” I smiled and gently explained that there were many scenes to come before the end. He endured the remaining acts with impressive restraint for a four-year-old, though on the way home he broke down in tears. I thought it was because he’d bumped his head on the theater railing after the play, but instead he cried with greater drama than any of the actors combined, “That play was so long! It was super, super long. It was tooooo long.”

Sometimes in life, the curtain falls too soon. We’re in the midst of a trying circumstance or we’ve made some huge mistake, and we presume it’s over. Not realizing we’re on scene one of a multi-act play, we succumb to despair, thinking there’s no opportunity to redeem the mess we’re in.

Other times, it seems we’re trapped in a never-ending drama. Scene after scene unfolds and we find ourselves asking, “Will it EVER be over? How much more can I possibly endure?” We don’t realize the author has built one scene upon the other to grow his characters until the great and final outcome.

I’ve been thinking on this theme of 13 Reasons to Live for a few weeks now, considering what brings us to the point of despondency and what can bring us out. Wondering how we come to the point of wanting to give up and thinking upon all the reasons we shouldn’t.

Maybe we come to the point where we don’t have the fight in us to make it through one more act. What we don’t realize is this crucial truth of life: It IS a fight. Anything worth living for is worth fighting for, and will take fighting for.

I’m not talking about war in the way of battles and weapons. I’m talking about the day-to-day fight that must be fought for anything that’s good and worthy and true. It’s a spiritual battle, and often emotional, sometimes physical in the way that it drains our reserves and our resolve. If we’re not prepared for the battles that come, we will falter when they do. But if we’re in it for the fight, we’ll endure through the fight.

And what carries us through the daily warzone? The knowledge that we’re in the midst of redemption’s story, in which the Author of all life is the Author of our lives, working every scene together for good.

We may think it’s over, but in His hands, it’s not over until He says so. Only the Author can determine the end.

Or maybe we think it’s endless. But there will come a time when the battles of our days will cease. We’ll see that it was worth the fight, and it was worth our living and enduring. Because no Author starts a good work without bringing it to completion.

“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.” (Philippians 1:6)

 

Photo Credit: Bella Rose Arts Centre – Wikipedia

Where There is Beauty

Yes, there is suffering. Yes, there is evil. Daily, we’re bombarded with news we’d rather shut our eyes and ears to. Yet still, there is beauty, tenacious beauty. Where there is beauty, there is hope. And if there is hope, there is reason to live.

 

Photo Credit: File:Bodnant Gardens, Petal strewn path – geograph.org.uk …

Greater Things to Come

Everything which would seek to steal beauty from this world and joy from our lives is compost for the greater things to come. Every tear is a seed sown, the ground watered for greater things to come. All the horrors of history, all the tragedies of today are nothing compared to the glory God will one day reveal.

 

Photo Credit: Flower Path | A flower path runs through trees at a display … | Flickr

Looking Beyond

When we live with our eyes trained on suffering, our lives become laden with despair. We may become convinced we have nothing to live for. But when we train our eyes beyond, we see there is so much more.

 

Photo Credit: Free photo: Valley, View, Landscape, Vegetation – Free Image on …

13 Reasons to Live: This Ain’t Hollywood

Something happens when you grow up in the shadow of Hollywood. And you don’t have to live in Southern California to feel its effects. The shadow extends far beyond sidewalk stars and palm-lined streets, reaching into living rooms across the globe.

There, in our very own homes, the modern media preaches its self-proclaimed gospel from lit-screened pulpits. It tells us “follow your dreams and be yourself” all the while showing us which dreams we should follow and which self we should be. That dream should be larger than life, catapulting us to center-stage before the awe-inspired watching world. That self should be known to all, its talents recognized and applauded by multitudes if it is to be of any significance.

And if you don’t find that million-strong crowd of personal adorers, then maybe you’re not so significant, after all.

Maybe your life isn’t worth living.

Far too many of us have built our lives on the foundation of this lie only to be find our would-be masterpiece crumbling under the weight of disappointment.

As in Pixar’s the Incredibles movie, “in a world where everyone’s super, no one is.” It’s the paradox of this fame-starved generation. We’re told to hunger for world-wide significance, when all the while that banquet table is bankrupt.

This isn’t Hollywood. The average person will not become famous, while those who do live under the constant scrutiny of their so-called admirers. The sooner we let go of the pursuit of self-exaltation, the sooner we’ll find contentment

Consider what is now the most well-known name in history…Jesus.

What impresses me most about him is that he could have come with all the trumpets and fanfare of heaven, yet his coming was undetected by the wider world. He lived a virtually anonymous life until the start of his ministry, and even then he didn’t succumb to the clamor for earthly success. His brothers urged him to pursue a place of greater recognition, saying, “No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” Jesus replied that his time had not yet come. He refused to be enticed by earthly significance, even when mobs tried to crown him king.

His significance came from humility, servanthood, and sacrifice. From putting others before himself, to the point of death. He had three close friends and twelve disciples. Beyond that, there were crowds and multitudes, yes, but his greatest investment was in the seemingly inconsequential. Think of how small Israel was in comparison to the surrounding empires. Jesus never left that speck on the map, yet there was his greatest impact.

So here we are, in Hollywood’s shadow, moping about because we haven’t garnered a billion followers on social media or landed a slot on the latest Reality TV talent show. Depressed? Check. Discouraged? Daily. The constant striving leaves us weary.

Maybe our self-perceived insignificance is one of the reasons we’ve considered taking our own life.

Yet the most influential, significant person in history lived the most humble life and died the most despised of deaths, giving not just hope…but LIFE, abundant and everlasting, for the world. For generations to come. In his eyes, you ARE significant. And in his hands, you FIND significance—not in pursuit of the world’s applause. But in living the life you were created to live, surrendering to sacrifice for those in your own sphere of influence, however small it may be.

And that is enough reason to live.

Photo Credit: Hollywood hills sunset | Rayleigh scattering gave us an ambi… |

One Day

One day, whether here on earth or in the glory of heaven, we will see. God, the master designer, weaves good from every thread of pain wrought on this earth. That’s what makes him God.

 

Photo Credit: File:Colorful Threads (3965274345).jpg – Wikimedia Commons

Deeper Still

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