Inside me is a kid who was hurting, a teen who questioned too much, a young adult who explored too much and got lost, and ultimately a human being in need of grace and forgiveness.
Many of us were raised to believe that blessings and healing and victory belong only to those who believe enough. Good news to those who do, but naive as well. The flipside: belief in that is that failure, sickness, and lack are signs of not believing enough. And what about those with great faith and yet find themselves in life’s troubles?
The problem with this belief is that God’s goodness is only reflected in the goodness of our own lives. It’s not the pain or the difficulty or the challenges. Clearly, those are signs of a wayward heart…a faltering faith…an unexposed sin.
Basically anything but blessings, success, and victory boils down to us not being enough.
Not praying enough.
Not believing enough.
Not claiming the victory enough.
Not speaking words of faith enough.
Difficult and painful circumstances are never God’s will for us. And if we find ourselves in the midst of them, then obviously we need to change…fix..do something to get back in right-standing with God, so that things will turn around.
Ironically as it sounds this is a seemingly comfort belief. That the blame of our circumstances are placed upon ourselves. Why believe in a God who DOES allow suffering? It’s more comfortable to make God smaller. After all, if allowing God the sovereignty in our lives would mean suffering could be used for a greater purpose and that would require more out of us. Or believing that we are on this fallen earth just like everyone else and that life is life would mean God is not in control because my problems are bigger than God.
On day years ago, I realized the need for tangible help. I had suffered years from periods of depression and mania undiagnosed. I visited a psychiatrist and was prescribed meds for depression which failed to bring me relief. Later I was diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed meds. Eventually I was diagnosed with bipolar. A bittersweet blessing and curse.
The diagnosed answered many questions and filled many gaps. Through the years I have flip-flopped with the acceptance of my diagnosis between cradling it and ignoring it. Between loving it and hating it. Between letting it define me and making it only a piece of me.
Here it is, my diagnosis. I have learned to cling to it. It explains why things are how they are. It had became who I was.
But, it’s not me. It’s a diagnosis. A shirt size. A hair color. A condition. But not me.
A diagnosis will never define me. It may be a part of who I am, but it is not all I am. To many it’s a label. God’s grace and love defines me more than a disorder ever will.
Today, when it sometimes feels like my heart is breaking into hundreds of little pieces, I listen to God’s voice and words of hope and truly know my life matters. God’s grace is sufficient to reach even me.
In the midst of my label through the years I thought I knew God. I had known plenty about God, I had nothing that resembled a relationship. God was just another label I wore. I had no revelation that God’s love could, and would, keep me safe and sane through all of my life’s struggles and troubles.
Along with the label of bipolar comes one of “victim.” At the mercy of its symptoms. Victim of the troubles it causes. Victim of broken relationships. Victim of failed attempts at success. I had allowed hurt to control my life. Clinging to a victim mentality, I soaked myself in anger and bitterness. But God’s grace is greater. His love is made perfect in my weakness.
In a society where the victim mindset is seen as a healthy way to live I choose to be different. I choose to see the hope of healing and restoration. It can be lonely because many choose to hide and give up on hope in the midst of trouble. Society would like me silent thinking my voice will hurt the other side. “Hope may work for you and make you feel better, but you don’t know what I’m going through.” Yet, in reality my silence will cause more damage. It will make others believe that the God who created all the exquisite things we see, feel, hear, and touch is unable to handle this one “thing” or that “thing.” That it’s beyond His abilities to bring any good from it, to rescue us.
Faith is believing that God is good even when our lives are anything but.
Faith is believing that God is good even when our world is caving in.
Even when the sickness isn’t healed…
When the pain gets worse instead of better…
When everyone turns their back on us…
When we lose everything…
Faith is looking at our world that’s spiraling out of control and choosing to believe that the God of this universe is still in control.
Life is hard. This we all know, still….God is good…God is sovereign. And faith is believing both of those truths at the same time.