Having Compassion On Oneself

Shared at Fri. Gathering, Mar. 2, 2018.

I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have know the distress of my soul, and you have no delivered me into the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in a broad place. -Psalms 31:7-8

Junior year has been the most difficult one yet--mental health is not commonly or openly talked about in the church, especially in the Korean church. I have been wrestling with depression this school year--I experienced glimpses of it since freshman year but didn’t think to seek professional help for it. I woke up every morning feeling no purpose in my school work as well as my value as a person. Every day seemed to blend with the previous and next, a constant cycle that never seemed to end.

Along with learning about my depression, I also realized that I do not practice compassion for myself, or really, for others. I felt weak because of my mental health, and felt that it was something that I just had to suck up and get over. I was unkind and impatient with myself; like an empty cup trying to fill up another empty cup, I realized how little I was doing for myself and how little I was able to provide for those around me. I cannot imagine how much more God suffered, seeing the way that I treated and viewed myself. Now, I am learning to lean on community and accept that this is who I am and what I struggle with, that this is not something I brought upon myself, and that God is patiently walking through this with me.

Compassion means “to recognize the suffering of others, then take action help.” I concluded that the overarching theme of my junior year revolves around compassion. Self-compassion does not mean softening up my sins to make myself feel better, rather, it is to realize God’s compassion for me and those around me in Jesus Christ' death and resurrection. It is to accept the fact that God’s grace comes down and meets me at my lowest points, when I am in hiding. Compassion is not boastful or selfish; it is healing and vulnerable. I realized that I needed to acknowledge how sinful and broken I am in order to fully accept God’s grace and love for me--I am still in the process of doing so now. “God loves me” is not something that will make me feel better but it is the truth and no matter how I feel at any given moment, this truth will live and exist for eternity.

THIS is the grace of God. This is compassion. His love reminds me that I do not need to be perfect and that nothing that I do will ever earn or deserve what He has given me. Like a mother’s first time holding her newborn baby, I imagine God doing the same for each one of us, so full of love and light regardless of how sinful and broken we may be.

Moving forward, I hope that RUF can continue to grow together in faith, practicing compassion, especially in the midst of hectic school schedules and difficult seasons. I see RUF growing in so many ways now, and I am so blessed to witness God moving so vastly Providence. I hope that His light can be known and reach the darkest corners of each campus, His compassion bringing joy to those who are mourning and struggling to find value and love in themselves. His love is so pure and just, absolutely perfect--much more than we deserve.