Not long ago I read another novel by Christian author, Karen Kingsbury: When Joy Came to Stay. The story centered around clinical depression. The main character was a Christian who tended to feel that if she were really a good Christian, she wouldn't be depressed. An underlying theme was the role of forgiving oneself as well as others, in overcoming depression.
Amid the sometimes overwhelming number of ‘coincidences’ and perhaps overly beautiful men and women (but hey, it’s a novel), Kingsbury’s books always include a lot of good messages - even profound thoughts - which is why I continue to keep reading them. But in addition to what I learn directly from her books, this one has helped me to expand my perspective on depression.
I remember a Family Services social worker once saying that depression often stems from expecting too much from oneself. As Christians we’re taught that our goal should be perfection - and we too often take that to mean that we should BE perfect - not just strive towards it. We may grow up with ‘this is how I should be’ and then when we’re unable to meet those expectations, we become depressed. We feel we’ve failed!
But is what we expect of ourselves really what God expects of us?
Kingsbury’s books all carry the underlying message, ‘God has a plan for my life’. When I combine that thought with the social worker’s suggestion that depression comes from expecting too much of oneself, I come up with the possibility that maybe what I expect of myself is not what God expects of me. If that’s the case, then if I fail to live up to MY expectations, maybe it doesn’t matter!
Maybe instead of spending so much time beating myself up for ‘failing’ to meet MY expectations, I only need to seek from HIM, what HE expects from me.
NOTE: Just FYI, it’s been decades since I’ve felt really depressed. Nevertheless, there are times when I let something get to me, and with these thoughts I’m more readily able to handle them.