THAT’s and THOSE’s

The danger of thinking you’re finished with anything forever is that–inevitably–you’ll suddenly be crushed with the realization that you are most definitely not. For instance, I rejoiced publicly when I finished my final math class in high school. “HA,” I thought, “I’m not going to be a math teacher. I’ll never see THOSE awful textbooks and ridiculous word problems again.” Fast forward six years and four mathematics courses later to college level statistics, the only thing that’s keeping me from failing my ecology exams. Yet more upsetting was my epiphany earlier this week that I was 7 credits short of finishing school in the spring. Did I mention they were upper level credits? Did I mention I’ve been in school for a very long time? Needless to say, I was not happy.

As serious as the second blunder was, however, I’m not sure it compares to things like, “Well, I’ll never have to see THOSE people again. I don’t have to learn how to stand up for myself.” or “I no longer have an issue with anxiety attacks–done with THAT phase of life.” The THAT’s and the THOSE’s get me into so much trouble, as if no new circumstance could present a familiar problem. It’s funny how God brings maybe not the same individuals, but THOSE people all the same, back into your life. It’s equally funny how He’ll show you that THAT phase is still something you have to work through.

Every time I think I’ve overcome an issue, that I can somehow check it off a list and be glad it’s finished, I learn afresh that I haven’t. Some battles, I think, will be life long. I take courage in the fact that I don’t fight them alone–that they don’t own me, God does. So, when sooner or later depression does hit… sooner or later I’m facing THAT person again… I don’t know, you fill in the blank. Most struggles aren’t unique to a single individual. Whenever the recurring theme plays out, I know what the recurring response ought to be and that win or lose the struggle, it still doesn’t own me. God does.

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