There is a false idea that the strongest remain strong, and in spite of the tragedies, losses, abuses, lies, deceit, and ravaged heartbreak, they always will be.
Dear friends, this is a lie.
Everyone out there may face a beat down of the soul. That inner place that should be safe as a Christian may find a challenge that wins temporarily. There may be a lost hope and dysfunctional faith that stumbles for long periods. The rock that held everyone together could crack, and pieces scatter in silence.
I sat in church crying the other day. Tears filled my eyes, but I held them from cascading down; don’t want anyone to see me falter. Lord forbid I fall weak in worship, and face my truth. No one needs to see my pain.
Then I looked around.
No one is looking.
I sat alone. My thoughts were racing and exploding within. Considering the fear of being real at church, I was irritated with myself.
I bowed my head and prayed these words, “I don’t know how to love you right now.”
How does one not know how to love God?
It feels wrong and disobedient to say. But it is the truth. It’s not that I don’t love him. This is a case of love in action, being capable of loving God by using my gifts to be a light to His kingdom. For me, to be split in this definition of love and God feels like failure. My experience has been the opposite.
Nothing here is God’s fault, and I am not placing blame. Overcome with sadness; depression interferes with everything I do. It is a personal struggle.
Mental illness has a way of halting living. We hear about it all the time. Not getting out of bed, showering, unable to hold a job, eat, function. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that my struggle with actively worshiping God is affected.
Mental illness exists in every part of life.
Most days, I keep going. I have never missed a day of work due to my bipolar. Well, I suppose that’s untrue. I spent a few days in a hospital years ago, so there’s that. However, I get up daily, shower, get ready, and go to work. I do not stop operating. I put on my smile, adjusting my demeanor accordingly, and keeping it together. I bottle up the internal pain and suffering, only sharing with a few. I wear the mask and behavior of normalcy.
God loves me and knows me to well to do this with him. Our relationship exists on a deep level because He gave all, and I went all in. Daily, I surrender to Christ. Every part of me works to maintain this connection in every thought, every spoken word, and every activity of life. Anyone who knows me would testify to this truth.
How do we stay strong in Christ?
I am safe in my weakness. It is there that God will perfect His strength and power in me. When I keep going past my ability, it is his driving force within that carries me through it all. Though I wear the mask, the Holy Spirit covers my heart and mind. What others see outwardly differs from who comforts internally. Though it stings to admit this weakness, it washes over me with an aroma of freedom.
If only the strong survive, then those of us who place our trust in Jesus Christ have no worries. Laying it down and letting God stand where we can’t, is the most substantial act of survival there is.