I’m naturally an optimist, but that
sometimes often usually works against me. I expect the best outcome from situations, and when realism sets in and my expectations aren’t met, I can become bitter, angry, and resentful. If lots of things don’t work out well, like they did for me last week, I can even become a sad sack of woe is me. It’s not pretty, trust me, because even worse than woe is me is what I become – woe is me who is unwilling to admit he is woe is me.
The thing about feeling down is that it often isn’t just about the situation; lies can creep into my mind and in the worst cases, I start seeing myself as completely unworthy, a trash heap that can’t and shouldn’t receive love. I’m lucky to have lived in relatively stable, loving situations my whole life and to have brain chemistry that doesn’t seem predicated toward depression, but I know that so many aren’t so blessed; you may know these miseries far more intimately than I do.
I worry that for many, even those that understand the message of grace, we might sink too far into the pit of “I’m a sinner” and forget that we are made whole and holy in Christ, that we’ll stick the unworthy label to ourselves and forget who we really are. As we shrink away, we become like Simon, who at the beginning of Gurren Lagann has literally lived as lower than dirt, which is reflected in his timidity. It takes someone greater than Simon to raise him up through actions and words, including one of the best quotes anime has to offer.
Our value can’t be found in ourselves. In that case, it has either a tendency to be misguided toward pride or toward a self-deprecation that takes away the power of God to redeem. Instead, our value is in the Creator, who would forsake the glory he deserves to take upon his shoulders the punishment he did not because we meant that much to him.
Sometimes, maybe usually, in the moments that we’re at our lowest, our heart is unable to believe that we are so very significant and important in God’s eyes. But my hope is that when the valley teeters out and a glimpse of light shines through, we remember that we are loved. And the one who loves us makes all the difference, because on his unshakable foundation and promises we can proclaim that we believe in the God who believes in us.