Finally, just two more causes that contribute to my ongoing depression and keep me from fulfilling my life of faith in Christ.
5. Personal Failures. Personal failure can be devastating. Moral failure, professional failure, being an absentee mom or dad, or just constantly making dumb decisions or mistakes can weigh you down and, over time, break your spirit. Build up a track record of them and you start to crumble as a person. I’ve been there. I must admit that I have a propensity to make numerous and stupid mistakes. When I teach principles of management to business execs, I always include this maxim—
Always make the same mistake at least twice:
that way you will be able to make it perfectly the next time.
I’ve learned this from personal experience. And I wish I were kidding. But I am not.
I have also lost the confidence and trust of people in at least two professional organizations. Even though the President of one reinstated me in a different capacity, the devastation of judgment on my performance rating and failure on my part led to a two-year depression that was very painful to crawl out of. Years later, I found some closure and resolution. The second professional failure still leaves me with a gaping “Why?” in the center of my soul. I was dropped, with sparse explanation, from a group of people I loved dearly. Someday, I hope to learn what everything was really about with this dismissal. It seemed so unjust.
For a considerable period in life, as I’ve said earlier, I felt as if I had raised failure to an art-form. I just could not get things right. To this day I am never quite sure I am doing some things right. But that doesn’t stop me from trying, from pressing on. Personal Failure has come to mean that I haven’t quite figured out exactly where I fit into a situation. Maybe my gifting and skill set are not quite a match: maybe they are the prophetic voice that must speak into the confusion. Maybe not: but I still try.
I do not fail as much as I used to. My failures are not as BIG as they once were. Then again, I have a great deal more confidence in God today than I once did.
6. My Own Desire to Chase after Evil. Every decade of my life has had its own dictum, its own maxim that defined it. In 1945 the Jews held onto the slogan, Next year, Jerusalem! It spurred them on to fight for what they believed in— a national Jewish state, Israel. I too have some dictums. They run like this— make a difference, Imagine, Embody Truth, No More Games, My only safety is in the arms of God. In this past decade, my mantra has been Honor God, honor people—make a difference. My individual and corporate belief in a God Creator, who is Jesus Christ, has convinced me that all of us are placed on this earth to make a difference. No exceptions. It is not about me. It about others, everybody…, everywhere.
With this precursor, I must reconfirm that I enjoy my sin. I love running from God and chasing after evil. I do not like myself when I do it, but I do it anyway. “My bad,” just does not do justice to my natural propensity to step out of the perimeters of God’s protection for me and assert my insignificant independence against His glorious might, strength, and wise principles for living.
If anything prevents me, personally, from fulfilling God’s design on my life, it is this. I want to fulfill my own design! Is this wrong? Yes. Is this rebellion against the God who made me? Yes. What is he thinking?!? You are asking! Well, I want what I want! That’s all. It’s self-glorification in all its grandeur. I am informing God that His design for me is all well-and-good, it’s just not what I want. This, in turn, fosters a bitter depression that I cannot get what I want.
My soul will never achieve a place of proper reflection it so desperately needs until I tackle this myriad of issues that press me to the floor and bind my spirit in Gordian complicated knots. I cannot think critically, see clearly, or gain an unclouded perspective on life until I get a grip on my life the way it is. Not the way I think it is, but the way it actually is. I have found other people are a constant source in insight for me to reflect upon myself. I thank God for them. You will need the same kinds of people in your life too, if you are ever to find soul reflection a rich, troubling, and rewarding practice.
Next we will consider the issues that muddy the waters of the soul, which blind us from seeing things clearly. When people say that confession is good for the soul, well, they’re right.
Honor God, honor people, make a difference,
Dr. Gary Davis, President
NEXT— After There’s Nothing Left— muddy waters