God’s Gift of Mental Illness, part 2

I understand “faith in Jesus” or “saving faith in Jesus” to mean that I trust him.  He doesn’t promise me wealth; just food, clothing and shelter (see Matthew 6:33).  He doesn’t always heal me of every disease if I trust him (see Paul’s thorn).  And misery is not and indication of sin (see Job).

God gave me mental illness because I wanted to be a Christian like those in the Bible.  And, as the first step I needed to be humbled.  I have asked him to remove this disease.  He has not done that yet.  Andy Stanley’s In the Meantime: A purpose and a promise http://yourmove.is/episode/ep2-a-purpose-and-a-promise/ revealed to me that I do not have to feel inferior to others because of my weakness. Jesus told Paul that the affliction Jesus gave him was intentional.  In order that, Jesus could pour his strength through Paul. My mental illness is my weakness so that Jesus can pour his strength through me.  Everyone has weakness.  And Jesus can pour his strength through all.

Those who deal with mental Illness, and those in the Church who deal with mental illness, especially, can receive rejection from others, including others in the Church.  Like racism and sexism, this rejection comes from ignorance and fear.

Let’s talk. And then walk the talk.

Together.

What do you have to say?

God’s Gift of Mental Illness

For years I’ve struggled with the position a “TV” Pastor (who I greatly admire and has taught me most of the theology I have) has taken about not using meds to remedy mental illness.  The implication I’ve always drawn was that “God will take away the mental illness” and therefore meds are not needed.

I have just watched an episode of “Your Move with Andy Stanley” that I believe challenges the above implication.

Please consider watching In the Meantime: A Purpose and a Promise http://yourmove.is/episode/ep2-a-purpose-and-a-promise/

Love someone who hates me? What’s in it for me?

Filled with joy are those who are attacked because they follow Jesus.
Filled with joy are those who are mocked and scorned and lied about because they obey Me.
Let your joy be known and overflow because in heaven there is a great reward for you, because you are following in the footsteps of great followers of Jesus.  (Matthew 5:10-12, my imperfect paraphrase).
Why would I be filled with joy?  What reward?
The reward is that I will experience a love for my attacker that transcends human logic, transcends human wisdom, and transcends “earthly” love.  And my attacker will “see” the Jesus they say does not exist and have a chance to choose to know Him for themselves.

How do I know what is Reality?

Vital Smarts has some great resources.  Crucial Conversations is one of them.  One of the ideas I reaped from them was that: facts are neutral, I tell myself stories about the facts, I believe my own stories, I project those stories on the facts as true.  I then act on that “truth.”

And, when I find that my stories are wrong I can change my stories.

This got me thinking about a couple of passages of the Bible.

We do not battle against people, we battle against satan and his lies. We examine the stories we tell ourselves and check to see if they are true. We compare them to the message of Jesus, found in God’s Word, the Bible. If they are true we accept them. If they are not true we expose their error and change them so they are true using that same Word of God. (my own imperfect translation of parts of Ephesians 6, and 2 Corinthians 10)
Satan is constantly bombarding my mind with distortions and outright lies.  I detect some as the lies they are.  Some of the lies I believe.  And I always regret believing them.

If I can examine my thoughts as they enter my mind I can compare them to the truth of God’s Word, correcting the lies and so be able to live in reality and live how Jesus wants me to live.  To detect lies I have to know the truth.  That comes from reading the Bible and doing it.  Reading the Bible is like putting gas in your car, it gives you the potential to go somewhere but you haven’t fulfilled the purpose of the gas and car.  Doing the Bible is like driving the car.  Now you’re going somewhere. And, it is in the going that Jesus teaches you Truth.  (He will not teach you Truth in a parked car, no matter how full the tank is).

So, truth and lies enter my mind.  I determine if they are truth or lies by comparing them to the Truth.  I know Truth when I read the Bible and actually do what is says to do.


Only you decide…

Helen Keller was asked what was worse than having no sight?  She replied, “Having no vision.”  Helen Keller, with no sight nor hearing was considered by most of those with both to be “handicapped.”  Yet she could “see” the invisible handicaps of those who considered her “less than normal” and themselves “normal.”

When I was locked up for seven months in Kalamazoo Regional Psychiatric Hospital (after four earlier one-month stays at two other mental hospitals), I began to see some things differently for the first time in my life.  In the past I had wanted to care deeply about people, but I didn’t know how to do that somehow.  I had asked God to make me a Christian like those in the Bible.  When I refused to admit to Him that I was a sinner, He gave me mental illness and I immediately forgot my original request to become a true Christian.  Now I was driven, like the king of Babylon in Daniel, like a mad-man.  My mental illness was non-stop, 24/7 emotional pain.  It was that pain that God used to reshape me.  I became suddenly aware of the many microscopic and gigantic injustices in the world.  I became aware that “supposedly sane” people were lying, cheating, harming each other, and harming our earth. Though they know better, they do wrong because they only care about themselves and they don’t care about others; others who many times have done them no wrong.  It became an obvious irony to me, that though I was harming no one, I was locked up.  Others were disrespecting people, hurting people, destroying the environment, and they were running free.  To add insult to injury, these “sane” people were many times making huge profits by their evil actions.

I eventually got out, got the right medications and started thinking clearly again.  But the pain I had endured from the mental illness and the responses of people to me and my mental illness, left me with a huge empathy for the hurting.  And when Jesus found me, I was hurting, and when I accepted His love, I realized that I wanted everyone in the whole world to have the opportunity to choose (if they wanted) to love this loving man/God back.  First, the world, or rather individuals, needed to know the truth about Him.

He condemns no one (that is what satan does and blames it on God).  He loves everyone (even those who hate Him).  Because He loves everyone He hates what hurts us.  Sin is anything that hurts us or Him.  God hates sin, not people.  Jesus individually and collectively calls all of us to turn away from what hurts us and Him.  And to accept the healing love He offers.  He gives us the freedom and the ability to choose to truly love; with the love with which He freely chooses to love us.  He did not create you to reject you.  He created you so that you could know His love and the joy of loving others with the love He gives you.

In order to do that He created you with the ability to freely choose to love Him or reject Him; because love cannot be forced.  Those who love Him He calls to love all others like He loves all others.  Those who reject Him, reject love and do evil, because there is pleasure in sin for a short time and satan deceives them into thinking that they are “right” and will not be held accountable for their actions.

God loves you with all that He is.  Jesus died a bloody, torturous death because He loves God and wants you to be with them throughout eternity.  Now the choice, the choice Jesus died to give you, is yours.  You can accept Jesus’ love and truly love Him and others back; and discover the life He planned for you before He created the world.  Or, you can choose to dismiss this post and continue to believe that you aren’t happy because of others’ choices (not your own) and that you might as well sin because you haven’t found anything better to do.

Jesus and I humble ourselves and beg you to choose Life with God.

What this country needs is…

I used to think the problems that this country is currently facing was caused by others.  I blamed groups of people that were not like me, groups of people whose behaviors I thought I would never do, and groups of people I thought were far from God.

But the Bible, God’s revelation of His self-sacrificing love for each of us, tells me a different story.

If My people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and talk to me intimately, and turn from doing evil, and follow me, doing what I do, I will listen and respond by righting the wrongs they have done and blessing what they do and where they live.  (My own imperfect version of 2 Chronicles 7:14).

In that verse I don’t see other people being the problem.

I see me as the problem.

I, who am called by Jesus Name, must humble myself.  I must search for Him until I have developed an intimate relationship with Him.  I must recognize and admit and turn away from my sin.  I must ask Jesus what to do in every situation and do it.  Then Jesus will heal our whole country and He will be able to use us to heal the world.

If I want change in this country I have to change.

Then God can use me to love this country back to Him.