Jesus Isn’t About Fake Smiles

Ever have a week when you wish you could hit the delete button?

I’ve spent most of the last few days feeling like the entire world is out to get me. Every little task seems monumental, every obstacle insurmountable. I’m just plain sick and tired of the whole thing…whatever that means.

What’s strange is that I can’t identify a specific reason. It’s not like some cataclysmic tragedy occurred. I just awoke one day with this overwhelming sense of being overwhelmed.

I’ve told you before that depression is sort of an ongoing issue for me, so I have an idea about what’s occurring. But that doesn’t make it easier, or less painful, for me or the people closest to me who have to deal with the fallout.

I’m not sharing this to complain or to collect sympathy. My commitment is to write about following Jesus in real life, and I suspect real life for most of us includes some less-than-rosy days.

I also suspect someone reading this might face depression, or know someone who does. If so, perhaps it helps to know you’re not alone.

What makes this so difficult, at least for me, is that I know the “right” answers. I know being depressed is dumb and hurtful. I know Jesus loves me. I know I’m accountable for my choices, blaming others won’t change anything, and I control my attitude.

It’s one of those times when the easy, obvious answers simply aren’t very helpful. As much as some want to believe it, people don’t choose to be depressed and you’re not going to talk them out of it. It’s like convincing someone to stop having the flu.

It’ll pass, and until then I’ll cope. But know that coping is a bit like holding a beach ball under the water—it requires a lot of effort, and it’s not always successful.

I’m not sure we do a great job when it comes to helping people follow Jesus through this kind of experience. Issues like depression, grief, and mental illness make a lot of church folks uncomfortable. Churches would sometimes prefer fake smiles to real hurts.

Even though this doesn’t feel good right now, I’m grateful. I’m grateful to know this will pass, that my feelings aren’t all there is, that there’s grace and light at the end.

I’m grateful that Jesus doesn’t demand fake smiles.

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Copyright 2008-2013 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site

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