I can remember being in high school, and there was this really popular comedy skit that would play on the radio called "Here's Your Sign."
It was typically mocking stupid things people do, or things stupid people do (take your pick).
Not that I pride myself in being a fan of country music now, but I tried desperately to get away from it then. But not only could I not escape that skit, I couldn't escape the fact that people do in fact do stupid things.
And things have not changed. Except now, churches think it is fun and totally awesome to come up with clever catchphrases for their signs. And several in the past few days have left me wanting to say "Here's your sign."
The first one that I passed every day on the way to a neighboring county last week.
"I'm too blessed to be depressed."
I kid you not. I became furious. Not necessarily for me, though I would be lying if I didn't admit that I was personally offended.
But I thought about all the people that struggle with depression. And it isn't because they don't feel "blessed."
And, I think that is a problem with the church.
I've struggled with anxiety. Though I don't think I've ever seriously struggled with depression, I know some very good friends that have. And we have faced common obstacles.
I remember driving home from the doctor's office after my first appointment regarding the anxiety attacks. I was talking with my mother-in-law on the phone, and I just started crying. Because to me, I felt like I wasn't a "good enough Christian" because I often let anxiety get the best of me. I felt that by taking medicine, I wasn't completely trusting the Lord and His provision.
And then, just a few weeks later, while visiting the in-laws, there was a sermon in church about that very thing. About anxiety being a result of a lack of faith.
And it added to my condition. And it breaks my heart that some people still believe that depression is just an emotional problem.
"Oh, you're depressed? Well, just think about everything you have to be thankful for."
I'm sorry. It isn't that easy. And just when I feel like all the stupid people that think that depression or even PPD is an emotional issue finally learned to keep quiet (ahem. Tom Cruise), someone else comes out of the woodwork, making it be someone's "fault" that they are depressed.
That same day, a little closer to my destination, I saw a church sign that read "When in doubt, let Jesus lead." And it made me angry. Just about as angry as the "God is my copilot" bumper stickers that were so common in years past.
This church, obviously looking to gain some new attendees, actually had a digital church sign that offered several slogans. "Body piercing saved my life." I'm not even going to touch that one.
The thing that struck me about this is that it seemed to contradict all I had been taught, and recently come to accept. Isn't God always supposed to lead? And, if we are in doubt, isn't it because we're the ones that were trying to lead in the first place?
I know the sentiment they were aiming for. But they were way off.
Finally, that same day, while headed to my sister's house for our weekly American Idol date, I passed a church sign that came as a warm sense of relief in comparison to the signs of before.
"Forgive your enemies. It messes with their head."
And I laughed. Out loud. For a few minutes. Because that's it. That's what being human is. Sure, it means a lot to love and forgive as Jesus also forgave us. But there is something about needing to feel justified. And, maybe I'm wrong in this, but if by forgiving someone you make them say "huh?" and spend a few minutes trying to figure out what just happened, that's justification. By turning the other cheek.
I'm not normally a sign reader. I don't typically drive slow enough to read an entire sign. But after a recent trip to the eye doctor revealed that I should probably wear glasses while driving, I've been able to read more signs. Turns out it wasn't that I drove too fast. I just couldn't see.