Saturday, April 26, 2008

Double standards, and baskets...

I am a basket case.

Truly, I am. My counselor, Tricia, even called me one. (OK let me explain before someone wants to stone my counselor!) :)

One time we were talking about how I could see that all the people, or other Christians, or whatever, could have faults. I mean, we all make mistakes, we are human. So it happens. Something goes wrong, a wrong choice made. And I don’t condemn them. I see it for what it is, a mistake, and something to help them thought.

HOWEVER: there is one small problem. I am not everyone else.

Tricia explained it this way (imagine sitting in a office with a couple of couches with an ottoman between them). Everyone in the world is on that ottoman. Looking at them I can say, sure they have problems, issues, mistakes made, and I am ok with that, willing to help them through, and won’t condemn them.

BUT, I am not them. I hold myself to a higher standard. I can’t make mistakes, I can’t have problems. I can’t have issues. Tricia, as we were talking, held up a basket, and explained I was in the basket because I was holding myself apart from everyone else. Judging myself more harshly than I would judge others. Less forgiving of myself than others, and less forgiving of myself than God is.

She turned to me then and said that I was a “basket case.”

Get it now?

She is right. I was reminded of this again the other night, and just have had a hard time trying to get it all into words.

I can see all the blogs I link to, all the friends I have in my everyday life. They all have struggles. Whether with depression, finances, divorce, broken hearts, despair, mistakes made, poor choices… whatever the case… it doesn’t matter. I am so willing to extend them grace, help them as much as I can, love them, care for them, pray for them, forgive them.

Yet here I am, struggling with despair and depression, and even thoughts of suicide from time to time. And what do I do for myself? Do I extend that grace and forgiveness to myself? NO. I hold myself apart… in that basket, and expect myself to hold to a higher standard. One that God doesn’t even hold me to!!!

How can I be a “real” Christian if I struggle with depression and despair? I mean, God is the God of all hope… so shouldn’t I be filled with Hope? God is the God of peace, so shouldn’t I be filled with Peace? What about Joy, Forgiveness, Love, Patience, Humility, etc. I am not any of those things… I don’t feel those things most of the time.

I feel like I am not a good enough person, maybe not even a Christian, if I am so filled with despair. Why would I want to die, when I have a wonderful, supportive, loving husband, and two beautiful, sweet children that God has blessed me with? Why would I lose hope when God had given me so many more things than I ever wanted or needed?

I hold to a double standard… but not the one people typically think of. I give other people around me more grace and forgiveness and love and mercy than I would ever give myself. I give people the things that I know God gives them, but never accept that for myself from God, or believe that He gives those things to me.

This doesn’t happen all the time. But a lot of it.

Doesn’t that mean that I am putting myself in a place above God? I mean, if God extends forgiveness and love to me, but I won’t accept it because I have to be “better” than that, isn’t that making myself the “god” and judge?

I am square in that basket. A basket case. And worst of all, my own god and judge.

Lord, help me get out of the basket I have put myself in, and back onto the ottoman where I am supposed to be. Help me to extend the love, grace, mercy and forgiveness to myself that You extend to me, and to everyone else. Help me in the midst of this despair and depression to focus on You and make You the total God of my life. Amen.

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