I have heard it many times- “you are so full of joy, you would never know you had bipolar disorder.”
I usually smile and thank them for their kind words, maybe add how blessed I am.
This morning as I pondered who I am in Christ and what that means for my bipolar, I realized I’ve missed the boat here. What they see is not just ‘joy’, or happiness, or any other feeling. What they are seeing is Jesus in me. Perhaps for the first time in my life I have gained a solid grasp on how special those words are to say.
We often pray, ‘let them see you in me, Lord’, and here it is, people have been telling me this exact thing in different words for years! I know part of the problem was thinking that when it came to my bipolar disorder, I never put Jesus there. He was on the outside, holding out his hand, reaching for me to walk to Him. In my mind, I was hiding in a dark closet that Jesus would never step in. When I say these words aloud, I imagine there are many people with issues I am unaware of, sitting in a closet somewhere, thinking Jesus would never enter, too.
Another part of the problem was people in my life telling me bipolar was of the devil. That’s right! If I wasn’t struggling enough, there are actually people in this world who remind you that you have Satan himself in your brain and you just need to ‘pray him away’! Please know I’m sitting here fuming as I type, because those there are fighting words.
Do we tell people with cancer that Satan has infiltrated their body and you had better get to praying that away? Or diabetes? Or any other disease, disorder or illness? Of course, we pray for healing all the time, through the power of Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, to tell people they are sick because Satan is living in their brain or body is not ok- let me say that again- it is not ok.
I have a sense of freedom in understanding this today. I fear if I respond, “Well, you are seeing Jesus in me.,” I may freak out a few people. Because the fact is, what we say we believe and what we live and believe are often two different things. I have told people for years through my writing that Jesus meets them where they are, however, I never believed that for myself. I thought I had to stand up, walk out of that closet, and meet Jesus where he was.
I do not know what closet you are in, and you can bet I chose this title intentionally. I am not the only one sitting in a closet. Bipolar disorder is not the only issue that keeps people sitting in their closet. I don’t know if today is a good day for you to look up, to see that you are not alone, or don’t have to be alone. Jesus Christ will be happy to join you, to hold you as you cry, to listen as you talk to him. He is happy to sit, loving you in your closet, for as long it takes. All you have to do is invite Him in.
Psalm 34:4-8 (NLT)
I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!