The woman just wanted to be happy. She spent a lot of time thinking about ways to be happy and to make herself happy. She cried and complained more than was healthy for a well-adjusted adult woman. Her friends, after hearing her many complaints, started offering both diagnoses and advice, some of which were more helpful than others, but many of which, the woman ended up taking.
For starters, her friends whipped out ideas and labels, many of which they tried to glue or staple to the woman, with or without her permission. Her dad, with whom she talked on the telephone several times per week, ordered her a large, suitcase-sized box of the vitamins she must have been deficient in, from a company with a reputation he trusted after doing some research. The vitamins might have helped. If the woman hadn’t been so afraid of overdosing. There were just so many pills. She had no idea where to begin. And wasn’t her body supposed to make all the nutrition she needed if she only ate right? At her house, she and her husband and baby ate so many fruits and vegetables that she decided that perhaps the vitamins were not necessary.
Another friend told her she needed more color in her life. Literal color. Her house was a little bland. A few strong splashes of bright colors, which the woman was encouraged to spend time studying for a few minutes daily, should have elevated her mood, banishing both discontent, and depression. Liking this idea, she scurried out and bought a vividly-printed shower curtain for her bathroom. Unfortunately, the curtain wasn’t exactly the right size for the tub. Besides that, the many strong chemicals leaching into the air she was trying to breathe gave her a headache almost immediately. The next day, hat it hand, she slunk back to the store, receipt in hand, to get her money back for the shower curtain she couldn’t use after all. She left the store feeling worse.
Later, a friend told her that she needed more time away from her children. This friend, being both unwilling and unable to help in this area, told the woman that she should buy a good VCR. That way, she could keep her children entertained and she could slip away to her room for a few minutes at a time to rest. That week, the woman and her husband bought a VCR, along with several movies. Some days later, the woman noticed that her toddlers, who had spoken normally before, were starting to adopt some of the ugly words they were hearing on the television as they all spent more time entertaining themselves. Now the woman wasn’t unhappy all by herself. Her children were becoming discontent with her.
Finally, a few of the woman’s friends from church decided that the woman was severely depressed and ought to go on medication. This not being an idea that her husband liked, the woman found herself having to fight and campaign heavily in order to start popping the expensive pills that were supposed to make her feel better. When he got tired of fighting with his unhappy wife, the husband allowed her to ask the doctor for the medicine. Three different prescriptions later, prescriptions that the woman never finished since each medicine actually made her feel worse than she had before, the woman quit going to the doctor and gave up on pills altogether.
For several years, not knowing that what we study and focus on is what we will become, the woman gave up, giving herself to the foods, entertainments, and hobbies that would give her temporary relief from the sadness she couldn’t run away from. Some of these hobbies, for example, her musical instrument practice, and her creative crochet and jewelry pursuits, allowed her to create and share a number of interesting gifts for friends, family, and the occasional stranger.
But with the wrong foods, the wrong books, the wrong television shows, and the wrong sleep and exercise habits, the woman continued to get worse. Compounding the woman’s sorrow were the health issues that had quietly crept in when she was “pampering” herself with the wrong foods, and with too much sleep. Her friends wrung their hands, gossiped freely about her, and wondered why they even bothered. While she dropped some of them, others were either dropping her deliberately, or simply allowing their connections with her to weaken, until they had drifted too far apart to easily come back together.
And while the woman studied herself, her moods, and her problems—in essence, bowing before and worshiping that about herself that she had proven over and over that she was powerless to change—the One person who could help her, but Who she had forgotten really had her best interest at heart, her good Shepherd Who had never forgotten nor forsaken her, held her gently to His chest as she cried in her aloneness and despair, unable to hear the racking sobs that He silently cried with her.
Gwennon, September 10, 2019
This is my story: literally and figuratively. One of my closest friends, having read it, expressed some concern for me. But I have started moving into the peace that Jesus has for me. And I hope my readers can learn from my mistakes instead of repeating them. May God bless you all! A huge portion of my healing journey started about three weeks ago, when I started praying some family members through the book of Proverbs. Though I have no idea how or if this has helped them, I am seeing some very encouraging improvements in myself along this process. This is a longer story I hope to develop and post on another day.