Having a mental illness can cause one to question “why me?”. We may go through a litany of questions that we fire at God because we are trying to understand the path we are on. We can get so wrapped up in the here and now just trying to get through one more day that we forget to look up and understand that God has a plan! Our illnesses are not in vain. God is going to use the pain and the confusion for His glory. We only need to allow His plan to unfold. That is easier said than done.
So many times, I’ve surrendered my illness and my life’s plan to God, only to get absorbed back into the “why me”. I’ve pondered that question to the point that I became angry at God. I wanted to know what good having Bipolar Disorder could ever bring anyone I crossed paths with. So, for a long time, I kept it a secret. If no one knew then I could avoid the judgments and the loss of relationships by those close to me who just wouldn’t understand. I could live with this as my secret and no one would be the wiser. Until that one day…
I was at Church and I was praying for God to take this illness away. I didn’t sign up for this and I certainly did not want to live the rest of my life suffering with it on a daily basis. I cried and I begged but to no avail. Finally, when I had calmed down, I asked God the “why me” question and I felt Him say in my spirit that I have this because He is going to use it to bring Him glory. He was going to help people through my illness, and I was not to keep it a secret any longer. I had to begin telling people that I do, indeed, suffer from a mental illness. That was a big step. I began to allow people into my private world of suffering. Some judged, some left, some stayed, but I was being obedient. I was going to look up and live by God’s plan. I quit asking “why me?” and began to see that there were people around me who needed to hear my story. Who needed that hope that I have that God is in control no matter how out of control we feel.
I’d like to say that the minute I surrendered my illness and my “why” to God that things got miraculously better. They did not. I suffer from symptoms of my illness in some form every day. I know you do as well. But what did change is how I perceived myself. I was no longer someone who had a terrible illness, I was part of a greater plan to bring hope and healing to others. This is God’s plan for me. It may be God’s plan for you as well. I encourage you to ask God ‘why me?” but I also encourage you to take His answer and apply it to your life right now. Don’t hide yourself away in shame and fear. God has a plan for each of us and he will use our suffering to help others. Be brave and try to be transparent with others. You will never know who you can help or whose life you may touch with being open and honest about your illness. Always remember to look up each day and to know that you are part of a greater plan.