donovanmneal

Posts Tagged ‘Depression’

6 expectations I’m learning to accept: Life is difficult.

In Personal on July 31, 2013 at 7:40 pm

desperate days_t_nt

While at service this past Sunday I was enlightened when the speaker talked about expectations.

He characterized expectations as mental pictures of what we believe life should be or what should happen.

All in all these mental pictures really are simply illusions.  We have illusions of what we think should and will happen.  These mental illusions and our belief that they will occur forms the base of much of our disappointment.  It’s a powerful truth and one that I’ve had to come to grips with both in my own personal and professional lives.  This is not to say we should not have any expectations.  But often our mental pictures are distorted.

I recently went in for my eye examine, and in doing so the doctor consistently had me look at the eye chart while he placed lenses over my eyes and asked me to evaluate which image was better. Life is often similar in that we “see through a glass darkly” at reality, only having a limited scope to see accurately.

The reality is that expectations or mental images are not limited to just myself but to all of us.  As such we must often mange not just our own illusions about the way thing should be but also those around us.

The speaker listed 6 areas that he uses and that I will adopt in my own life about expectations.  These 6 things I find can unlock some secrets to happiness in our life.

Here’s number one: Life is difficult.

This doesn’t mean that life can’t be fun, or that one can’t find love, riches, fame etc.  But that life is not just a series of perpetual positive experiences.  People die, hope fade, and dreams can die, justice is not always served this side of Heaven, and dang nabit sometimes the bad guy actually wins.  We get sick and despite all the faith we have in God or in our ability to overcome.  Sometimes we don’t overcome the situation.  We fail.  When I read my Bible I don’t see anywhere where Jesus told his followers they would have a life of ease.  What I read is…”in this life ye shall have tribulation.”  “If they have persecuted me, they will persecute you.”  What I do know of a surety is that he’s promised to walk with me during said trials and tribulations.  But never that he would remove all problems from my life.

I think part of disillusionment with God is that often it’s just the opposite he doesn’t take the pain away.  It’s almost arrogant to think on some level that if God would sacrifice his own son why we think he won’t on some much smaller level allow us to experience pain?

So I’m going to have difficulties on the job at times.  My relationships sometimes will NOT measure up to what I expected.  In fact some relationships will downright test my mettle to live in the light of my professed convictions.  There will be misunderstandings.  I will lose loved ones.  Life is difficult.

When it’s all said and done, He’s promised to be there through it all.

I once read this scripture and joked…

Psa 46:1-3 … God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.

I remember asking in prayer if we could have a lil less of the mountains be carried into the sea.  But as in this scripture the Maker makes it clear.  His presence in all things is something we can rely on, and that’s an expectation I can handle.

 

Sometimes you do not need to know. You just need peace.

In Personal on June 25, 2013 at 2:33 pm

desperate days_t_nt

Several years ago, I lost my younger brother to violence.  It was unexpected as all tragedies typically are.  I was also in the midst of dealing with my own personal demons as well.  My marriage was teetering on the brink of divorce, and in the midst of my own troubles, my family now looked to me to help console them during this troubled time.

My family asked me to do the eulogy, and I officiated the entire funeral and burial service.  As an ordained minister, it was my duty to comfort the bereaved.  The matriarch of our family had asked me to do this, and I was not going to decline.

I was grieving myself.  Hurting…wondering if I could ‘pull it off’ per se. Wishing my brother and I had spent more time together.  Dealing with who this murderer was that took him.  Why it had happened?  Why did God let it happen?  I did not feel ‘qualified’ to speak to anyone really.  Not with all that, I was struggling with.  Why I was being selected during this trying time in my own life to speak to my family?

I searched for answers.

In searching to find understanding the Lord, lead me in his word and specifically to Philippians 4:6, 7.

Php 4:6

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Php 4:7

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

 

In my own search to ascribe meaning to such a horrible event, the knowledge about there being sin in the world, and my understanding of how Satan is a real force left me little comfort during this time.

I found that in spite of my searching nothing this side of Heaven would give me what I needed to come to grips with such a useless and senseless killing.  It was then that I realized, and saw one of the truths of this scripture.

Simply, that there is a peace that passes understanding.

When we are in trying times and when we seek out meaning and ask why me?  The reality is that sometimes there is silence to our inquiries.  Nevertheless, I believe that God is never truly silent, we just cannot often hear over the static of our emotions and own minds.  Yet here in this scripture God gives us an answer.

We need the peace that passes our understanding.

We need this type of peace that can bring silence to our questions and make our heart bear the unbearable again.  In the same way, that lift can supersede the law of gravity likewise the peace of God can supersede our need for understanding and give us consolation during difficult times.  It’s a special peace in that it comes from God.  This peace has two key ingredients in that it accomplishes two things.  Two powerful balms we need desperately when we are hurting and asking why.

This peace, ‘keeps’ our heart and our mind.  Which is a good thing because, when our hearts are hurting and broken, and our minds riddled with doubt, and questions: believe me you need something to help hold it together.  This does the trick.

So when you find yourself asking why, when you are struggling to find meaning where there seemingly is none.

Stop it.

Settle your heart and mind, and tell God the despite failing to understand, that he grant you an anxiety free mind, and bestow on you the peace that only he can give.  A peace that would protect, shield, comfort and stand as a sentinel against any and all things that would bring you into anxiety and distress.  That both your heart and mind during rough times be liberated from the paralyzing hurt that can come from difficulty and pain.

To those that are hurting, and or know those that are.  I pray that the peace of God would rule in your heart, and that you might experience the reality of this promise.

If you have something meaningful to add, please leave me a comment.  I would love to hear from you.

Regards,

D