To the Christian with a Mental Illness
Updated: Aug 13, 2020
Three reasons for fresh hope when your expectations of life have been obliterated and triumph feels obsolete.
Find a friend in me if you've ever wept over breathing. The world is beautiful, the Lord is so kind, spiritual blessings abound as do material blessings often, but the fear of my heart has got a hold on me and wrung me out to nauseousness and there's no clear way ahead. Despite the mess of mental illness, here are three fresh reasons to wake up tomorrow with a joy for the lungs that give way to breath that was purchased on the cross.
You're being sanctified in this mess
One of my biggest fears when struggling with mental illness has been hopelessness. It's so easy to be bereft of hope when the future looks dim. Sometimes mental illness feels like going backwards, as if Jesus saved me, but I'm somehow starting to get worse. Far from that is the truth, though. It's been a sweet encouragement to tired bones that the Holy Spirit is sanctifying me right here and right now.
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
When my mind tells me there is no reason to hope, the Gospel tells me there are countless reasons. No longer am I condemned a fool of my former misery even if the dark clouds of oppression assail me. There is fresh hope in the morning when the sun rises and new mercies to grab a hold of by God's good and faithful hand. The Lord who called me, originally, is the same Lord who is going to bring me to the end (Philippians 1:6). The power of the Holy Spirit is keeping and sanctifying both you and I. Have hope.
Other people need to hear
Waking up in the morning can be tough. Even after continual prayers for the Lord to show up and get me through the day, the physical energy and mental stamina just doesn't come through at times. Oh hey, God! I see you drawing me near to you in this.
But what is the point of attempting to get through the day when all I want to do is roll over and curse the calendar for continuing its stupid song? Someone else out there feels just like I do. I am not a lone pilgrim. The world does not revolve around me. It hurt when my selfish and stumbling sinner heart found that out, tbh. There is someone reading this screen right now quickened with the tiniest gasp for air and hope that another Bible-believing, Jesus-loving Christian has sunk into the battle of mental illness over and over again.
No matter what your story is, someone else needs to hear it. Someone else needs to hear the triumphant news that Jesus Christ came in to the world to save dead, deaf, and dumb sinners of which you and I were once a part. That the Good News of Jesus is so powerful, so extraordinary, so miraculous, that it offers a chance to be near the Prince of Peace at no charge. They will need to hear of His new mercy every day and the grace that is given as a gift in fresh amounts each passing moment, even in the thick of mental illness.
Have you ever taken a moment to consider that since God is sanctifying you, your story has a purpose and He can use it in crazy ways to help others? Comfort others in and through your discomfort.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
God is making all things new
How many times have I been a basic white girl searching Pinterest for Bible verse backgrounds or Instagram stories to run across this saying, "How cool is it that the same God, who created mountains, and oceans, and galaxies, looked at you and thought it needed one of you too?"
It feels like a warm hug at times to notice how the Lord wired me, how He delights in me, and how He loves me, like that quote and many others offer. But it is infinitely more astounding and powerful to ponder the depths of who He is. God is making all things new. In the New Jerusalem there will be no more tears, no more sin, no more mental illness, no more ripping the calendar off the wall, no more perpetual snooze hitting that wishes the night would be prolonged in an effort to sleep life away.
There is reason for fresh hope because this world is not my home. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. Eternal life. That's heaven talk right there! Jesus wasn't sent to die in my place so this world would be chocolate cake pops every day. He died on the cross for me when I didn't deserve it to claim a spot for me in heaven that I would yearn for as I followed His commands on earth.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4
Someone near to me chose to give up their baby to heaven a while back. It tore me in pieces for a month at the time and I still grieve often the loss of that little love. I gripped tightly with white knuckles to Revelation 21:4. As Christians, we have to be hoping in this now. There will come a day where anxiety is no more. Mental illness has no place. Babies aren't given up for convenience. Coronavirus is not a thought. The racial battle is not a cause to be found. Have courage, sweet friend, that this world is your temporary home.
I'm being sanctified in this battle. Others can be comforted by the way the Lord is working amidst the brokenness in my life. This world is not my forever home and there is a far more glorious reality waiting for me when these days are over. And honestly, the same can be said for you.