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Andrée Seu (pronounced, Ahn’-dray Soo) wrote about it in an article in World Magazine a couple of weeks ago: “I was accustomed to thinking of discouragement as something that happens to a person. But on closer examination…I have been taken aback by how volitional or ‘active’ it is. To go around saying, ‘I am discouraged,’ as if it’s a saddle someone strapped to your back while you kicked and screamed against it, is akin to Aaron’s version of how he made the golden calf: ‘So they gave me [the gold], and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf’ (Exodus 32:24). Um, no.

“I have noticed that I actually choose discouragement. Sounds nuts, but a quiet little heart transaction takes place at some point (typically, in my case, very early in the game) in which I say to myself, ‘I don’t want to fight this thing. I’m going to just give in to it.’ Sometimes I give in…because I have been round this block so often that God can’t possibly forgive and reinstate me again — at least not until I show Him a good two weeks of being properly miserable. If this is your problem too, I have a verse for us: ‘Yet even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘return to Me with all your heart’ (Joel 2.12).”

Seu is not suggesting there are no physical causes of depression; she is reminding us that our attitudes are largely our own, produced and promoted by a heart active in idolatry. Hating your own life feels like choking a part of you that feels so alive when you feed it hateful, vindictive, self-righteous, or despairing thoughts. Those who follow this King give up the right to an attitude inconsistent with his reign and rule. “The sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed in us” (Romans 8.18).

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