“Quote”-able: Wintley Phipps

It is in the quiet crucible of your personal, private sufferings that your noblest dreams are born and God’s greatest gifts are given.

During my “personal, private sufferings” I may not have wanted to read this.  All the courage that I imagine I have when not suffering abandons me in the face of real suffering.  All that I thought stood by me I realize can’t help me.  Sometimes even Jesus seems as though he has left me.

I am alone.  And I am afraid.

As I obey my best guess as to God’s will my soul aches and I search for God in my circumstance.

It is here that I decide that no one should have to go through what I am going through alone.  If I only had someone to talk to I could bear it.  I decide if I encounter anyone struggling as I am, I will help them.

And a dream is born.

My dream, forged in the late seventies and early eighties, when I had not yet decided to take meds regularly and  I had yet to welcome Christ into my heart, is being lived out now 35 years later (with Jesus and with meds).  As a Certified Peer Support Specialist I have the privilege to serve people dealing with mental illness every day.  I am doing, as Whitley Phipps says, HPLP: Helping People Live their Potential.  Or, as Jesus says, Loving others.

Am I a hero?  Not even close.  But I am privileged to serve the real Heroes;  people who fight horrific battles in their mind and in their life every day and keep on fighting.  Battling thoughts that no one should have to experience, making even the simplest daily tasks excruciatingly difficult.

Mental illness takes the most hospital beds in our country and receives the lowest per patient funding in our country of any disease.  It is projected that half of our population will experience mental illness in their lifetime.  If that is not you then it is most likely someone you love.  And it is much cheaper to pay for treatment for all who need it than to pay the costs that untreated mental illness cause: personal, family and friend suffering; lost productivity; prison cells and hospital beds.

What can we do?  Get treatment for yourself or your loved one, treat the mentally ill with the respect being a Hero deserves, and vote for funding of Mental Health in your area.

Nobody’s perfect (part II)

I am part of a team of people starting “HOPE” for Mental Health at Kentwood Community Church.  We are part of Celebrate Recovery founded by Rick Warren of Saddleback Church.  This group of courageous people, who admit their imperfections and trust Jesus to deliver them, have been a catalyst to me being able to confess my sins to another trusted person (or small group).  I read my Nobody’s Perfect post from August of 2013 tonight and realized I had promised to get back to you when I had put this into practice.

Much better late than never.

I had told Jesus my sins but telling another person with skin on freed me from most of the grip of satan in my life.  No amount of prayer has freed me as much as telling my sin to another person.  Sin loses power when exposed.

I have known for years that I was “supposed to” confess my sins to another.  But I made excuses and told myself it really didn’t matter.  I lost years of my life to satan’s influence simply because “I know more than God.”

God is not mocked.  I reaped what I sowed.

But I have learned.

Hopefully.

Heaven for the Comfort, Hell for the Company

This is a phrase that I heard as a kid.  It means: I want to go to heaven to physically feel good and escape Hell’s torment and pain; but I want to socialize with people in Hell because they are “real” and not hypocritically thinking they are better than me.  There is a lot of truth to this phrase.

Some people in church are hypocrites.  Talking Jesus but without accepting others as they are, not giving mercy, love, forgiveness, acceptance and grace.  The problem is these same people usually haven’t experienced the unconditional love that Jesus offers.  They think what makes them a “christian” is going to church, obeying rules (that is, the ones they want to obey and ignoring the others), and being accepted by other “christians”.  They have missed everything.  And that “everything” is a personal relationship with Jesus.

When a person truly knows Jesus they don’t think they are better than you.  In fact, they believe they are your servant and put you first.  Not just if you are another Christian but regardless of who you are, what you believe or what you’ve done.  That’s because that’s what Jesus did… and still does.  Jesus counted Himself among sinners and is not ashamed to call us His brothers and sisters.

People don’t become true Christians by following rules and pretending they are perfect. Rather they become true Christians by surrendering themselves to the Jesus they have learned to trust and love because they have seen Him love them first hand through one of His followers.

If you can’t find a true Christian perhaps you want to consider investigating becoming a true Christian yourself?  Pray to God and tell Him you want to know Him.  Read the Bible starting in John (you can use the index to find it) and learn about Jesus’ character and love for you and others.  Pray that God would lead you to one of His true followers, that they might help you know God better.  You can explore if Jesus is someone you want to spend your life and eternity with.  And being with Jesus is what makes heaven, heaven.