“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.

This will help stop the violence…

I think the real issue is not too many guns but a lack of mental health care.  Let me explain.  It shocked me to find out that, generally speaking, the cities with the strictest gun control laws have the most crime and the cities with the most guns have the lowest crime.  Internationally, when comparing countries, the same principle plays out.  Conclusion? When the people bear arms there is less crime.

So if gun control will not stop “crazy” (President Obama’s word) gunmen what do we do?

The mentally ill must be offered treatment.  And, as you consider paying for that last statement, realize that one of those receiving treatment just might eventually be you.

Half of the people in the United States will experience their own mental illness in their lifetime.  That is 150 million people.  Yet voting for funding to meet this challenge isn’t popular.  Ignorance, fear of the unknown, stigma, blame all contribute to distort the perception of the disease and its treatment.  Medication and behavior therapies can dramatically help a dramatic number of sufferers of mental illness.  And it costs much less than paying for the prison stays many, many sufferers of mental illness are forced to endure.  It costs less than hospitalization.  And, if you value human life, it costs less than suicide or homicide.

But that is just the start.  Because when you treat mental illness you rescue someone from a prison of intense psychological and sometimes physical suffering.  You release the person to be what God intended them to be.  They can even stop costing taxpayers and start becoming taxpayers and actually start paying back those who funded their rescue.

Since getting the correct meds and taking them starting in 1985 I have worked for 23 years as an Advertising Designer.  I have given back in taxes and charitable giving, roughly between $150,000 and $200,000 during that 23 year period (adjusted to 2008 dollars).

I have also had the privilege to marry my beautiful wife and adopt out of foster care the two boys I love.  So much beauty can happen when someone who is mentally ill gets the right treatment.  Financially it goes from negative to positive.  And, humanly, it goes from a living death, to the light of life.