Being the notorious Hello Kitty fan that I am, my eyes were naturally drawn to the unique Hello Kitty T-shirt I saw in Gordmans one day. However, being rather slow at catching on to jokes, it took me a minute to get the humor in what was printed on the shirt. The shirt had a picture of Hello Kitty in a school uniform writing on a chalkboard. When I took a closer look, I saw that she was writing “I will not update my facebook status in class. I will not update my facebook status in class. I will not update my facebook status in class. I will not update my facebook status in class.” Leave it up to the T-shirt designers to ruin the reputation of the cute little kitty.
Although none of my teachers had ever administered the age-old method of discipline where a student has to write what behavior he needs to change a hundred times on the chalkboard, I have certainly read about it and it has always been comical to me. After all my instruction in college about how the punishment needs to fit the crime in order for the lesson to sink in, I knew writing something a hundred times wasn’t going to change anything. However, when it came to changing my own behaviors, sometimes I am no better than the old schoolmasters.
Almost a week and a half ago, I proclaimed the awesome victory that Jesus won for me over the temptation of suicide. On Wednesday however, (exactly a week after the victory occurred) I somehow got it into my head that although Jesus won the victory in getting me safe, staying safe was entirely my responsibility. As I started feeling the clouds of depression gather overhead, I began digging my heels in the ground and saying to myself, “I will not consider suicide. I will not consider suicide. I will not consider suicide. I will not consider suicide.” What was the result? You guessed it, I started to consider suicide. After hours of fighting a losing battle, I gave up and went to bed exhausted. The next morning I was still fighting the depression hard but twenty minutes after I got up, I realized the suicide temptation was gone and I was able to take a firm stand against it like I had a week ago. When my pastor told me he had been praying for me through the night, the light bulb went on in my head. I suddenly realized that the ability to say “no” to suicide or any other temptation does not come from me. Like David says many times in the Psalms, my enemy is too strong for me. If I try to fight it with my own strength, I will be defeated every time. Now when 2 Corinthians 12:9 talks about God’s grace being sufficient for me and his power made perfect in my weakness, it makes more sense to me. It is by Christ’s strength alone that I am victorious and able to stay that way. Since Thursday, I am very happy to report that though the depression storm has raged strong and loud, there has been no desire or temptation towards my old behaviors. The best part of it is that I didn’t even have to do anything to keep those desires away. God did it and continues to do it “as [my family in Christ] helps me by [their] prayers.” (2 Corinthians 1:11)