Christian Living, Encouragement, Mental Health

Tired and Worn

I’m tired.  I am not complaining, it’s just a fact.  Living with a mental illness can do that to you.  It always seems like an uphill battle.  There are days that seem easier than others and we tend to gauge our wellness on how we feel from one day to the next.  Are feelings being often fickle and if we go to them to define whether we are doing well or not, we may be deceived.  I suffer from a mood disorder so my “feelings” are always trying to control me. I used to get up each morning and think “I feel this way or that way so today is going to be __________ (fill in the blank).

But now things are different.  I get up each morning and the first thing I do is thank God for the beautiful day.   Now the day may not be beautiful weather wise, but it is the day God has made and I am alive, so it is beautiful.  Doing that one thing can change my outlook on the whole day.  My mood may be dark, or it may be manic, but the trueness of God and his goodness never changes.  I can rest assured that as long as I invite God to share my day with me, no matter what happens, it is a good day.

The Lord reminds me often that He loves me.  He loves you too.  I know you may not believe that when you are in the throes of an episode.  Depression or anxiety may reign supreme in your life right now.  But that does not define you.  You have the Lord God fighting this battle with you.  And do not, for one minute, think this is not a battle, because it is.  It is a battle for normalcy.  We fight it every day and it is exhausting sometimes.  I know. I am right there with you.  But, ultimately, this battle has already been won.  We need only to call on God for help.  God can revive a tired spirit, and heal a fractured mind, and ease our depression or anxiety.  Spending some time with the Lord is key.  I am not saying that praying, reading the Bible and meditation is the cure all. I believe thoroughly in the value of medication and therapy but trusting God with our healing is vital.  He is the missing piece.  If you take the time to schedule some time with the Lord, it will change your life.

I used to get so worn out from fighting this battle all on my own. One day I turned the whole thing over to God and entered into a much-needed rest.  I am still resting in Him.  This does not mean I am not still fighting, I am. But now I know that I can turn to Scripture and prayer and get filled with the strength I need to fight each day.  I have said that sometimes, the bravest thing I do is get out of bed in the morning.  That is true because I know there will be a hard-fought battle I will face, but I also know that I do not battle alone.

If you are tired, go to God.  Allow Him to hold you and imbibe you with strength from above to fight the battle that is mental illness.  He knows just what you need to overcome the obstacles you face.  He will refresh you and strengthen you, so you can fight another day.  Never give up!!

Encouragement, Mental Health

God, I Have A Situation Here…

God, I have a situation here.

I find myself in situations in which I need to call on God and I don’t.  My Bipolar Disorder often makes decisions for me that, in my right mind, I would have never made. I would go to the mall in the throws of mania and have a thousand-dollar spending spree. I would be so depressed that I would cut all ties to the outside world, so I could commiserate alone and have a huge pity party.  I have contemplated suicide many times. I have alienated my family and hurt them in ways I don’t even know.  And all the while, I had a Savior who wanted to help me, I needed only to call on Him, but I didn’t.

When I am manic, I feel indestructible.  There are no bad consequences to my actions, I am highly creative and a lot of fun, but my mood can lead to psychosis very quickly. I am in a situation, but I don’t call on God. I am not thinking clearly enough to know I have a problem that needs His attention.  When I am depressed, nothing matters at all.  I am dark in my mind and there is no room for light even though that light is what I crave and want desperately. But I don’t call on the giver of that light.  My mind is unable to process the need, it only sees the pain. I, again, have a situation.

So often I find myself wandering toward the illness and away from Jesus.  The illness calls to me and lures me in like a siren.  I get far off the narrow path that leads to health and wholeness and forget that my God is with me.  I can become so self-absorbed that all that exists is me and my bipolar.  I begin to identify strongly as the victim and yet, in the back of my mind, I hear the still small voice of God saying, “come out of the darkness, I am waiting for you”.  I begin to slowly crawl out of my own head and into the Word of God.  There I find hope, love and the peace my mind craves.

It seems so distant and yet so close that a word from my own mouth can call forth the strength of God that I need to just get up in the morning. Often, calling out to God from the midst of my struggle is the bravest thing I can do.  I start seeking Him through all the chaos that is my world right now.  He is there, and He loves me.  I trust and begin to believe that Jesus can make me better…level…less tumultuous.  I remember that the Word says that “by His stripes we are healed”. I quickly look up this verse and I am hit with the realty that this is not some historical rendering of someone’s life, it is the very breath of life for me.  Jesus did come. He did die. He was resurrected and through Him I have my healing.  A breath of hope and a promise of joy.

I begin to allow this promise to wash over me. I remember that I am not my illness.  That I am not a victim.  I have my identity in Christ and He tells me who I am.  My mind begins to lighten.  My world begins to make sense again.  My darkness begins to fade, and I can begin to see clearly.  In my situation, I call to my God “help me Jesus, I need you”.  That’s all. Not a long, eloquent prayer, but a heart cry from a fractured mind.  I call, and He answers.  My hope and my first love is coming to rescue me.  I sit and I breath Him in and feel his heartbeat.  I know I am going to be ok.  Jesus has me. I give everything to him. My pain, my chaos, my fear, my life.  He is the only one who can save me, and I trust that He will.  I was in a situation, but my God has scooped me up and set me on His lap and wrapped his loving arms around me and I am safe.

I no longer have a situation…my God has taken care of everything and I can just be whole.

Christian Living, Spiritual Wellness

Distractions

I seem to be going through a bit of a dry spell with my faith walk.  Have you ever experienced this?  It isn’t that I lack faith in God…Oh no, it is just that my quiet time, and prayer time have gone a bit stale. It feels as if I am praying the same prayers, reading and studying the same things, finding nothing refreshing.  Today, I asked God what was going on. You know what He said?  One word – distractions! I understood what He was saying to well.  I have allowed the distractions of life to get in my way of spending authentic time with God.

When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is check my e-mail… distraction.  The second thing I do is check Facebook…distraction. And after that I do a myriad of things before I even sit down with God to have some quiet time. By this time the quiet has long since gone and my mind is on what I need to do for the day… more distractions.   This is when the lying begins.  Here is when I begin telling myself that I will have my quiet time later when I get everything done that needs to be done.  Right.  That never happens.  I go from one thing to the next thinking I’ll get there God, but most of the time I don’t.  I tell myself that once my son goes to work in the afternoon, I will have all afternoon and evening to commune with God and study His word and while that is true, I never quite get there.  The time is available, but I am now engrossed in binge watching “Live PD”.  (A very uplifting and positive show).  So now comes the ultimate lie… “I’ll just start over tomorrow and I’ll do better”.  Nope, same things, different day.

Has this ever happened to any of you?  I feel it has. I cannot be the only one. I am not trying to sound legalistic about wanting to spend time with God. I am not saying that He loves me or you any less for failing to make Him priority #1. No, He loves us just as much.  The problem lies with how much we love Him.  I do not show a great deal of love for Christ when I cannot turn off the TV and spend the afternoon with Him.  I know people who love God who would love the amount of time I have available just to sit at His feet. I am very blessed with a lot of free time.  But this still does not motivate me to lose the distractions.

Now that I have this confession out there, and now that you may be doing a little soul searching on this topic, I feel like I can make some serious changes as to how I spend my days.  God needs to be the priority throughout my whole day.  Less TV, and social media…more God.  I am so glad God is a God of grace because I am certain will have a few more days like this one.