Monthly Archives: January 2016

Not About Me

We live in a world that’s full of comparing and competing. You have to be better than her or you have to be the best at that. We live in a world that’s sending the message that our worth is based on us being better at something than someone else is. If you’re feeling a little down, you’re supposed to find someone who’s worse than you at something and give yourself a pat on the back. But the funny thing is…

This whole life – it’s not about me.

What a relief! It’s not about who’s better at different activities. If it was I’d be sunk because my oldest sister is an extremely talented writer, and I can’t even dream of writing as well as she does. And while I’m probably better at drawing than some people, others totally cream me at Ultimate Frisbee and volleyball. But who cares? It’s not about me. I’m not the point of my own existence, and therefore, what’s the point in comparing other people with me? That’s not what this is all about. 

Not that we have a pointless existence, but our existence is to point to Someone else. It’s about God. Everything, from whether or not I make eye contact and smile at the cashier to whether or not I go to college to whether or not I give up everything I own to go and live overseas and hunt lost souls, is about God. All this wonderful, beautiful, crazy, heartbreaking existence is for Him. To please Him because I’m doing what He created me to do, regardless of who does it better or worse than me. That’s what it’s about. There’s so much freedom in knowing that none of this is about me, but God. And I think that’s where true confidence comes from: knowing that it doesn’t matter whether I look silly or mess up or fall down from time to time, because it’s about running after God with everything I have, and knowing that when I do what He made me to do and do it with all my heart for His glory, He smiles. So who cares where I measure compared to other people?

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Depressed and Alone

Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment. ~ Proverbs 18:1

I’ve chewed on this one off and on for a while, especially recently as I’ve been reading a book on depression. I can’t pretend to know what it’s like for others with depression since I only struggle with a milder – yet chronic – version, but for me, when my depression flares up the first thing I do is find a way to be alone.

Why? The easy answer is so that I don’t have to hide it. If there is no one around, there’s no one to see that I don’t have it all together. That in itself is an indicator that there’s something wrong. I need to trust someone enough that I don’t have to hide when I’m struggling. It’s not necessarily a problem with the people around me – I know tons of wonderful people who would gladly help me out if they knew I needed it. It’s that I often don’t choose to trust any of them enough to open up long enough to show my struggles. The results?

Isolating myself gives me nothing but myself to think about. 

Engage “seeking her own desire” mode; aka. selfishness. When I’m depressed and alone, all my thoughts revolve in one way or another around myself. My unmet desires, my anxieties, my failures, etc. You get the ugly picture. If I constantly look within myself instead of outward at the world around me I spiral deeper into depression because we humans were never meant to be all about ourselves.

Isolating myself takes away the very support system that is able to haul me back on my feet. 

Namely people. By shedding my God-given support system and isolating myself I’m effectively “breaking out against all sound judgment.” In other words, I’m being stupid. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 sums it up well:

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him — a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

If I’m alone I have no one to tell me when I’m clinging to unhealthy thoughts and depression-inducing lies from the enemy, and he is able to prevail over me. An outside person can easily recognize ridiculous thought patterns that I in the moment can’t see and they can steer me back toward sound reasoning. My sister did this when she pulled me up short about my negativity.

My motivation dies when my depression flares up, and if I’m alone, it’s extremely hard to muster my scarce willpower in order to shoulder my way through and do things anyway. I sit around and waste the precious time God has allotted to me, simply because by myself I can’t fight depression. However, recently when I talked about how I was struggling even to find motivation to work on my drawing lesson (have I mentioned I LOVE drawing?) she took the time and initiative to sit down and draw with me, even though drawing isn’t one of her passions like it is mine. It gave me the momentum I needed to push through and finish the lesson on time.

Here’s the thing: you can pray and ask God to reveal the harmful patterns and lies that dominate your mind, and you can ask Him for extra strength to depression’s anti-motivation exhaustion. Maybe He will do so just working privately in you, but more often than not I think He chooses to use the people in your life. If you isolate yourself, you’re taking away the very method He put in place to answer that prayer. And also: this concept applies to pretty much any struggle in life, not just depression.

So please, if you’re struggling with something you can’t beat, don’t retreat within yourself. Pick someone to open up to and ask them for help. Vulnerability is scary and hard and I’m horrible at it, I admit it – but when I give up my fear and open up is when the healing often happens. If you don’t think you have anyone you can trust that deeply, ask God to show you who to go to. Since He made us with a need for others, He is more than able and willing to give us someone (or show us someone we overlooked) who can meet that need. And for the record, I’m more than willing to help you out as I’m able. All you have to do is ask. 🙂

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Kill the Self in Me

Father, kill the self in me this year.

Kill the self that values comfort

over people.

Kill the self that refuses interruptions

for the sake of my schedule.

Kill the self that envies the joys

You bestow on others.

Kill the self that wallows in misery

because I have not.

Kill the self that cannot stand failure

and so never risks.

Kill the self that has no time for others

but has ample time to waste.

Kill the self that is greedy

and cannot share the blessings You give.

Kill the self that cannot stand to be wrong

and can never let others be right.

Father I beg You –

Kill the self in me this year.

Categories: Poetry, Ponderizations | Tags: | 2 Comments

Spend that Time

Time… Good grief, it moves faster every year, and it feels like I get less and less done every year. Now another year’s rolled over and here we are at risk of miswriting the date all over again. Didn’t we just get done scratching out the four and writing a five over it?

The faster time goes, the more I feel like we have such a very little of it left. Truth is that each of us has a set number of days on this earth, and we can’t change how much time we have. After a sermon along those lines this morning, I’ve been thinking about Life Means So Much by Chris Rice. The second verse says this:

Every day is a bank account
And time is our currency
So no one’s rich, nobody’s poor
We get twenty-four hours each

So how are you gonna spend
Will you invest or squander
Try to get ahead
Or help someone who’s under

So here are some questions I’ve been thinking through (and been toe-stomped by)…

Am I being as smart about how I spend time as I try to be with how I spend money?

Am I blowing my time on meaningless nothings like a little kid whose money is burning a hole in her pocket?

Do I take the time to consider what is worth spending my time on since I have so little of it in the grand scheme of things?

Our pastor talked about Ephesians 5:15-18 in his sermon:

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit…

I had a realization about that last one, verse 18. It doesn’t just refer to alcoholism. It can refer to anything that we get addicted to. It can refer to binge-watching favorite movies or tv shows, for example. Do I want Jesus to return while I’m wasting hours on end watching hours of Pride and Prejudice on end? (Did that once…) No, I sure do not. Nor do I want Him to find me mindlessly scrolling endlessly through Facebook out of habit.

There are many kinds of substance abuse, and we as followers of Christ are called not to abuse what we are given, but to steward it. Are we stewarding the things we’ve been given in the time that we have?

That’s my question for the new year. I know I’ve wasted more time than I want to remember in the last year. Since my custom during the new year is to ask God to teach me, one of the things I’m asking Him to teach me this year is to use my time well and productively for His glory. I’d like to pass the challenge along to you as well. Do you struggle with wasting time? (Yes, there is a time for relaxation. I’m talking about wasting time.) I’d like to challenge you also to ask God to teach you how to count the days and make the days count.

Teach us to count the days
Teach us to make the days count
Lead us in better ways
Somehow our souls forgot
Life means so much

~Life Means So Much, Chris Rice

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