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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Embrace judgment from others

     I adore children.  Children of all ages.  I think they are God's gift to us to help us learn how to be like Him.  I love how honest they are and how they naturally embody faith and love.  But I also know and believe they are among our most impressionable, and that what we say or don't say truly shapes their character.  I also feel we sometimes forget as adults that we really are just like little children in bigger bodies.  We still are impressionable- maybe not as much as our sweet children- but the things we do and say to others or don't do and say also effect each other.

      With this thought, one of the hardest things for me about depression is the judgment from others.
  I've heard everything from "you need to read your scriptures more", (I love to read them each day) to "just think more positively" (I love life and though not perfect strive to be positive in all I do), to "it's all in your head" (kinda is- but not the way you think).  So basically- it's my fault.  But when I have focused on the hurtful comments from others and judgment I have received, I have felt more discouraged.  But, there is hope.  And actually this is one of the blessings of having depression or any trial- judgment. It truly is.  And the more hurtful the comment, I believe the better. It brings a greater chance for you to grow.

      I remember one day about 15 years ago when I was going through a very difficult time and my depression was one of the hardest I have experienced.  As I was picking up my sons at a playgroup swap, I  put on a smile for my sweet children but inside I was really struggling.  After my children looked away- one father must have noticed  my worn face and to my surprise in a baby mocking tone said, "What's a matter?  Why so sad?" Then he got in my face and frowned and then laughed.  The comment shocked me.  It made me feel even more alone and like I couldn't trust even friends with my feelings.  But- as I prayed about this I decided to do one thing: smack him in the face!  Just kidding! But I really did feel that way after I went home.  I was hurt, and it was around then I realized I could let this comment and other hurtful ones effect me and how I felt about myself- or tell the Lord my pain and choose to forgive.  I have chosen forgiveness.  And wow is it liberating. And while I am not perfect at this yet I get many new chances to practice.   Every time someone has made a hurtful comment I get a new chance to forgive.   I believe one of the greatest gifts to yourself is forgiveness.  And people give us the gift to forgive everyday.  That's why I chose to embrace judgement and forgiveness.

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