Depression

Greater Outcomes

There are greater outcomes when we endure the furnace of affliction with grace, allowing God to birth in us a deeper compassion through the fire.

 

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The Battles we Fight

We’re each granted our own share of battles that when we emerge victorious we might also battle on behalf of others.

 

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A Deeper Love

Those of us who bear scars love on deeper levels than those who have not endured the fires of affliction.

 

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Blood-red Compassion

Through our scars we bleed blood-red compassion that brings others to know the healing that is found in Christ.

 

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Healing Wounds

Yes, by his wounds we are healed. But have we forgotten that we also are called to be like Christ? If he suffered, how are we to presume that we will live a life free of suffering? And if we are healed through his suffering, shall we not bring healing to others through our own suffering?

 

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The Purpose of Scars

My son is very proud of his scars. He loves to share the stories of how they came to be, giving play-by-play accounts of how he got that scrape on his knee or the bump on his elbow. In vivid detail, he’ll describe exactly where he was on the playground, what he was doing, and how he tripped and fell or whatever other catastrophe transpired. If we’re lucky, we might get a re-enactment of the event, minus a repeat injury.

As much as he loves elaborating upon stories of his own calamities, he equally enjoys sharing how his friends got their ouchies. It’s not that he revels in their pain, but that he empathizes. When a friend gets hurt, he understands. He’s been there.

At times, I’ve seen him put his arms around the shoulder of a crying friend, sharing one of his many stories of just why he can relate to their pain.

Imagine a world void of such compassion. It’s terrible enough to suffer. And yet, to suffer alone?

Some churches falsely teach that we’ll never suffer. “Christ suffered in our place, on the cross,” they reason. “And by his wounds we are healed. Therefore, we’ll never be wounded.”

Yes, by his wounds we are healed. But have we forgotten that we also are called to be like Christ?

If he suffered, how are we to presume that we will live a life free of suffering? And if we are healed through his suffering, shall we not bring healing to others through our own suffering?

I’m not saying that we can bring the supernatural, all-consuming healing that only our Savior can bring. But I believe that through our scars we bleed blood-red compassion that brings others to know the healing that is found in Christ.

I’ve found that those who adhere to the false prosperity gospel tend to be most impoverished of compassion, judging and condemning those who endure any amount of suffering.

But I’ve also found that those of us who bear scars love on deeper levels than those who have not endured the fires of affliction.

We’re each granted our own share of battles that when we emerge victorious we might also battle on behalf of others. Financial lack frees us to empathize with those in poverty. Barrenness enables us to understand loss. Physical pain helps us to relate to those enduring far worse.

Given the choice, the selfish part of me would choose a more comfortable path. But I know there are greater outcomes when I endure the furnace of affliction with grace, allowing God to birth in me a deeper compassion through the fire.

 

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Beware the Mind Invaders

Blog_UFOI’ve done stupid things, and I’ve done stupider things. And though I tell my kids stupid is a bad word, it’s just not possible to describe my most recent near-catastrophe without saying it was one of the stupider things I’ve done.

It all started with fear. Some rogue message appeared on my computer warning that if I didn’t click the link my computer would be infected with a deadly virus. I didn’t click the link. Yay, me. Smart choice. But throughout the day, I kept worrying that maybe my computer WAS getting sick and would shut down and lose all my treasured info. Hardly catastrophic on the scale of world catastrophes, but for a writer it would be quite devastating to lose a dearly beloved laptop.

Long story short, I looked for a reputable virus removal software, clicked the link to download, and that’s where it all went bad. Before I knew it, I was on the line with some outsourced customer service agent of some not-so-reputable company trying to take over my computer. As they small-talked me about the crazy weather and other random topics, they were subtly attempting to sneak info from my computer while implanting viruses.

Good thing my husband was smart enough to shut it all down and clean it all up before it was too late.

The same thing can happen with our minds. Fear sets in, leading us to seek defense. Somehow, in the process, we download bad info that attempts to take over our minds.

Take bitterness, for example. Someone hurts us. We fear they’ll hurt us again. Our defenses go up. Yet as we seek to protect ourselves, something insidious seeps into our thought life. While we initially sought to control our circumstances, we find we are the ones being controlled. Before we know it, bitterness rules our thoughts, words, and actions, if not paralyzing us completely.

The danger of allowing bad data to enter our thoughts applies in every arena, from self-hatred to racism to rage to depression. It begins with fear, moves to self-protection, then whammo! We’re the victims of a mind invasion.

When I realized what was happening to my laptop, it had to be shut down, rebooted, examined, and cleaned up. We had to put up a firewall, protecting my data from malware. We need the same defense when it comes to our thought life. And how much more valuable are our minds.

“Watch your thoughts for they become words.
Watch your words for they become actions.
Watch your actions for they become habits.
Watch your habits for they become your character.
And watch your character for it becomes your destiny.”
(Margaret Thatcher)

“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)