Battling depression is bearable, but I know why people take their own lives. They have more courage than I do, but dark realms we do not see are also at work in sinister ways. Frank Peretti has written several novels about spiritual warfare, but I guarantee you similar true stories are at play even as I type this sentence. My acquaintance Joe Beam has also written a non-fiction book called Seeing The Unseen that illustrates true stories with fictitious names.
You may not have a mental illness or be famous enough for Satan to know who you are, but all seven billion on the planet have been assigned something that is immortal that can destroy. We know them as angels and demons, but Joe goes much more into depth about the reality of that realm.
If you don’t believe in the unseen realities you merely give into ignorance that can hurt and destroy you. You don’t have to give into fear either because we have a Father who has equipped us to battle them, and I do on a regular basis.
Another acquaintance Jon Acuff recently wrote a book called Soundtracks, and although it’s a book about goals, business and psychology I have gleamed many tools from it to practice Proverbs 3.5-6. If faith is merely an arena for church then we have sadly miss the point of spirituality from birth to death. My body will die and decay, but my mind and soul will live for eternity provided I do not reject Jesus Christ. This is not some mystery where a big giant informs me I’m a wizard and carts me off to a magic boarding school to learn the ways of my parents who were martyred by a great evil wizard. This is a true story that was set in motion with a very specific endgame where we will either be perish or be with the Father forever. I’m choosing the later.
In the meantime I battle a mental illness that sometimes incapacitates me from leaning into it as much as I’d like. Like Paul, I ask the Father to remove it, but I’m reminded more times than not that his strength is made powerful in weakness.
Testimony is powerful. I realize not everyone blogs about their mental illness. Some suffer in silence, some suffer with their LPC, psychologist, and psychiatrist and others lean heavily upon the body of Christ to shoulder the load. I use all of those resources because faith is bigger than reading the Bible, praying and going to church. It goes beyond religion. Those three things I do not minimize because they have saved my life, but if you pharisee it up to the point that you beat people over the head with those things they will refuse to do them. Don’t be that guy. Jesus intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express to the Father. Wow. I can’t say wow enough to that reality. You can read more about it in Romans. There’s many black and white areas in life, but when we tackle the issue of mental illness with a Christian worldview the gray areas can multiple. Tread lightly. Practice the ministry of presence more than offering your two cents. Get comfortable with silence if you learn nothing else from Job’s terrible comforters. When you are personally not making the progress you want to make in life be kind and gentle with yourself because beating yourself over the head for sin and failure will make you an insufferable maniac in the lives around you. Open up to be accountable to a trusted individual, but give yourself time to grieve because there’s a lot of pain in this world. It’s unbearable at times, but with time we are given avenues to vent appropriately.
One of my favorite quotes is “Nothing can be won by force what can only be won by submission.” I did not coin that phrase, and I just tried to google it, but nothing but this blog came up. It’s true either way. We can only accept personal responsibility for our actions, and even some don’t do that. How sad, but when we pause long enough to meditate on the love God has for every human being maybe we can draw nearer to the power he has but doesn’t use against us.