I’m not sick, just lazy. I am weak and sad and pathetic. This is all my fault. People would be better off without me. I’m a burden and a waste of space. I don’t feel like God’s there – so either He isn’t, or He doesn’t want me. I’m a terrible Christian and a terrible person. Nothing will ever change. No-one understands.
The reality of depression:
I have a sickness called depression. I feel weak and sad and pathetic – but that’s not who I am. This is not my fault. I am valuable and loved, even though I’m struggling. It’s really okay to be weak. My faith is not about how I feel – the Bible tells me that not only is God real, but He loves me and has promised never to leave me. I will not feel like this forever. Many people feel the way I do – and have come through it. I am not alone.
The myth of singleness:
I’m a washed-up spinster/past-it bachelor. My best years are behind me. Everyone feels sorry for me. But no-one wants me because I’m (delete as appropriate) too fat/too thin/too old/too needy/too odd. If I don’t have a partner, I’m nothing. It’s better to settle for anyone than someone I actually want. I can’t be happy if I don’t get married. There’s someone out there for me and without them I’m incomplete. I’m not as worthwhile on my own as I am with someone else.
The reality of singleness:
Sometimes it’s really hard to be alone. I’d love to have a romantic interest; and there are times when I feel sad that I don’t have this. But I’m not on my own. I have friends and a family of believers who love and care about me. I have a God who promises to work all things for my good and who makes me a blessing to the people who know me. I don’t know what the future holds, but I can trust Him for today.
The myth of motherhood:
For the first time in my life I feel emotionally fulfilled and completely at peace. The birth was the most rewarding and beautiful experience of my life: I’m so glad I planned for it. Yes – my body just sprang back into shape! I’ve been a mother for several weeks now and (delete as appropriate) breast/bottle/on-demand/planned feeding is the only way to bond. My child and I have an unspoken, spiritual connection and understanding. I just know what he needs – and – when he’s not feeding/sleeping contentedly through the night, we’re chuckling together in my spotless kitchen. There’s a right way to do motherhood and it’s just come naturally.
The reality of motherhood:
The birth was ok/a nightmare/not what I planned. I have no idea what I’m doing. I am a milk machine that often breaks. My child WILL NOT SLEEP. This is not what it looks like on TV. I love this little bean more than anything else in the world but at 3am after a week of NO SLEEP I’m questioning my sanity.But – We’re doing it. We make mistakes but that is okay. There’s not a right way to do anything – but we’re learning and we’re doing our best. Housework can wait.
The myth of faith:
I became a Christian when I was X and Everything Changed. God spoke to me in a very powerful and public way and from that moment, I just knew I was Completely Different. All of my old struggles fell away and I was able to pray and read the Bible as if I’d always been doing it. I am Permanently Happy. My family and friends were so impressed they all became Christians. My church is Perfect in Every Way. I never have any doubts and I just Know that I’m growing in faith and grace.
The reality of faith:
I’m not sure when I became a Christian/I became a Christian when I was X and Everything Changed/some things changed/I’ve always been a believer. I still have struggles but He is helping me to change, step by step – though it’s hard work and often frustrating! I’m learning to read the Bible and pray, but it’s not always easy and there are times when I feel like giving up. In fact, some bits of my life are much harder since I became a believer! Some of my friends think I’m weird and even my family don’t get it. I love my church, but it’s full of sinners like me – so we need to work at loving each other and we don’t always agree. Sometimes I wonder if I’m really a Christian – but I can take even my doubts to the Lord. I trust that He is making me more like Him, even though I don’t always feel it.