Hope and Faith in Times of Sadness
She had every reason to be happy. So why wasn’t she?
I can accept myself–delight in myself–because, the Bible tells me, God made me for himself, and can use all the particulars of my history for good. The very things I like least about myself, indeed, may be those he values most.
It was the beginning of true healing, not the completion. There’s no quick fix, I’ve discovered, for the disease of depression. Though the down cycles are less severe and come less often today, that self-destructive voice still whispers its accusations.
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Like all of us who have struggled over the years with a poor self-image, I need to hear the message of self-acceptance again and again.
I wasn’t expecting to hear it that Sunday in London as I headed toward Westminster Abbey. I took a notebook along with me; during the sermon on sin I planned to make a list of the changes in myself I needed to make.
And this is what I heard: “To love myself just as I am,” said Dr. Wright, “is to accept God’s evaluation instead of my own. I am right now as loved and worthy of esteem as I ever shall be, already infinitely loved and respected.”
Sin the minister defined as “the condition of not knowing this.” Repentance, he continued, comes when “we weep for the sin of ever having thought of ourselves as unloved, for not having loved ourselves as we are.”
There in that high-arched nave I did weep. In the notebook that I had brought along to list my shortcomings, I wrote instead, You are infinitely loved this very minute! When that little voice next whispers to me that I’m no good, that sentence will remind me that God is of another opinion.
Read Elizabeth Sherrill's response to a query from a reader about her fight against depression.
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