Monday, March 31, 2014

Us + (God + "X") = the solution

by Carolyn Hamlett

"God doesn't give us anything we can't handle." is not a scripture in the Bible.

The last thing a depressed person wants or needs to hear from you is "God doesn't give us anything we can't handle." I have to wonder if the last person who killed them self died hating God because they KNEW they had more than they ALONE could bear and that they had endured it for many months or many years trying everything possible to get free.  

Maybe those words, "God doesn't give us anything we can't handle." was the last "helping" hand of 'wisdom' tossed to them that threw them into further despair...along with the often meaningless words of "I'll be praying for you".  Many who say those things have no clue what depression is nor do they have any intention of "praying" or lifting a finger to help the one in despair. 

In the past when clueless people have told me in that sing songy sort of way, "God doesn't give us any more than we can handle.", I just wanted to slap them.  I thought...then why am I a frayed end of a frayed end away from killing myself just to get myself out of my own misery? 

Trapped animals are known to chew off the very limb that is caught. Can't people fathom that depression can be just as much a misery? It is.

Is man an island, or part of a larger body? 

If a fellow man falls off a cliff to a reachable ledge, or a fellow man is in water too deep to stand and he is exhausted from struggling...should another fellow human just tell them "God doesn't give us any more than we can handle." and leave them for the hand of God to reach down from heaven to snatch that person up and place him on solid ground?...or should we Christians be that hand of God as His Body on earth? There are many instances in the Bible where we are told and shown to help one another. In fact it is a commandment. 

Often telling someone who is in deep despair at the brink of death, that "God doesn't give us more than we can handle." not going to be the understanding, consoling, comforting words that bring encouragement to that suffering person. I know with myself, it makes me feel even more alone, misunderstood, judged and rejected. Judged in that the person saying that has already decided that I am not trying to help myself and that what I feel is something so mild, that anyone with an ounce of strength could move it. 
"Just snap out of it!" are also meaningless words. Do people actually believe the depressed person has not tried with all their might to "snap out of it'? Telling someone to "snap out of it" does not help. It is more likely to drive the depressed person into more isolation to avoid more condemnation and misunderstanding. 
Often it is those non thinkers who are the ones who strike up the conversation to begin with asking the depressed person what is wrong. When the depressed person tries to tell them how they are feeling...the non thinker slaps them with their idiotic insensitive solution which is to stop it and to "snap out of it". Ahhh, if only it was so simple to just "snap out of it".
"You should be thankful for what you have. You have nothing to be depressed about." I have never known a person who suffers from depression who is not keenly aware of their blessings, in fact they are probably more keenly aware of their blessings than most blessed people. It is our blessings that we have clung to with white knuckles as we fight for our very lives. 
"You should....", ""You should....", "You should....", "You should....", "You should....", "You should....", "You should....", "You should....", "You should...."
You know what??? You people who are full of shoulds.... 
SHOULD STOP  shoulding on us!!! if we have not thought of every way possible and then some to help ourselves!!! and tried every way possible and then some to help ourselves!!! We are depressed, NOT brainless morons. In fact some of the brainiest most intelligent humans in the history of mankind have suffered depression. We are not idiots. 
"Stop feeling sorry for yourself!" is often the next "life preserver" of condemnation that further helps sink the depressed like a mill stone around the neck. Again it shows that the bearer of such words do not understand the situation at all. They also do not understand that there is not a thing wrong with being in touch with one's own feelings and emotions.
Do you ever feel happy for yourself?  Are you NOT aware of feeling happy when you are feeling happy???  We who suffer from depression certainly know what happiness is and hold on to any thought of happiness we have EVER had as we fight to stay afloat the dark waves of the sea of depression.
How about being sad??? Are not people aware when they are feeling sad? Is there ANYTHING wrong with being aware of whether you are happy or sad, full of joy or full of sorrow? Of course not.
What is wrong with feeling sorry for oneself? 
Maybe I am wrong, but didn't Job in the Old Testament feel sorry for himself? 
Often when non thinking, insensitive people have told me to stop feeling sorry for myself, I tell them that if they felt the way I did at that moment, I'd certainly feel great sorrow for them, so can I not feel sorry for myself? There is so much sorrow and pain in the depth of depression I have lived, that while I am in it, I am fully aware that I would NEVER wish it upon my worst enemy! 

What so many people fail to want to comprehend, is that it is because we have tried and tried to help ourselves and are STILL helping ourselves with every ounce of our strength with no relief, that we, in our despair, do indeed feel sorry for ourselves being in the place we are stuck in. There is nothing wrong with that. 
Wouldn't a person stuck in quicksand struggle and struggle until they were exhausted and find that when they are exhausted from the struggle that despair sets in and with that great sorrow for themselves for being stuck there? Only a clueless person thinks that feeling sorry for oneself means we have been just sitting on our duffs and not trying with all of our being and then get free.
It was in my early walk with Jesus Christ that I realized that people DO get more than they can handle and that the solution to that equation is lies in the variable "X". 

Us + (God + "X") = the solution.

I have to wonder:

For all the people who have taken their own lives after battle fatigue of dealing with depression and having no relief...

- How many of those people had been ignored and were not helped by their friends and family?

- How many of them were callously told, "God doesn't give us any more than we can handle?" 

- How many people are there who didn't take their lives, but have turned on God and hate Him because someone or someones coldly told them that God doesn't give them any more than they can handle? 

Did you know?...

The scripture that people use to claim that God doesn't give us anything we can't handle, is talking about being tempted, NOT about suffering, so that verse DOESN'T even apply to many cases when life throws a curve ball and things become unbearable. I found this scripture where the Apostle Paul expresses something different.

2 Corinthians 8, 9. 
"For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:
But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raises the dead."
Paul referred to "we". He may have had despair, but there were others who were sharing equally in that with him. They did rely on God to help them. 

If you have ever experienced the grief of loss of a dear friend or family member or even a loss of a love relationship, you may remember feeling as I have, that being with someone who knows that very same level of grief, can often be comforting and aid in healing the wound. When a friend of mine passed from this world in 2013, I felt deep grief.  I can only begin to imagine what his own family and closest friends felt.  I wasn't one of his closest friends and many of his friends probably never knew that I knew him at all. Nevertheless, I was wounded by his passing. I found that the only thing that relieved the grief I felt was to talk with one of his dear friends who knew him better than most. Together that friend and I walked through it. We both felt a bit crippled over the loss of this person, but when two are walking on the path together arm and arm, crippled as they may be, they can still be that needed crutch for each other to help them both make progress.

So, even though many people believe that the scripture, "God will not tempt us beyond what we are able to handle."  means something different, that God doesn't give us more than we can handle, 

there is a second part of that scripture that people leave important part!...which clarifies something.

"with the temptation [God] also makes a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it." 

Sometimes that way out is found by the exercise of will power alone, but sometimes God, knowing what we are up against, will provide us with more help. Sometimes He sends his angels, sometimes He sends other humans in His Name. 

I wish there were more whom He could send in His Name.

Early in my Christian walk, Johanna Michaelsen told me that the church (body of believers) is God's provision for us. She was trying to help me find a good church of supportive Christians in my area to help me on my journey. I was very frustrated in my new walk because I saw few Christians who actually served God with all of their heart, mind, body and soul and spirit. Over 30 years later, it is no different. You hear many Christians singing "Oh let me be Your hands and your feet!", but few seem to go out and actually be His hands and His feet. If Christians actually allowed The Spirit of Christ to work through them, not only would fellow Christians become stronger, but as a Body, we could actually make a difference in this evil ridden world. Think of what we as a body could do if we acted as Jesus Christ did and did the deeds he did. 

Us + (God + "X") = the solution.
"X" = fellow humans.

Take it from me. I know this is a fact:  

What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven't happened yet! 

Note: This is an article I wrote a year ago in 2013. 

It is just one of many articles I have written that will eventually find it's way onto my blog.