The Consuming Weariness of It All

“For my life is full of troubles,
    and death draws near.”

Psalm 88:3

There is often a dull and desperate tedium among us– especially those among us with profound mental and physical issues.  It never lets up, and the grind is constant.  The sheer exertion is most unwanted.  Depression, confusion, paranoia, and mania weave in and out of our life.  They seem to have ‘moved in’ with us.  And, they intend to stay. Boo!

There is often a hopelessness present–an ugly realization that there is no hope for today, and that tomorrow will not be any different.  It seems we are always standing on the outside looking in. Some consider ending it all rather than live without hope. It is a terrible ‘frame-of-mind.’

Contained in the scriptures are many stories, and parables about wedding feasts and king’s banquets.  One one occasion, somebody wheedles his way in to the party.  And he is strongly confronted.  They bind his hands and feet, carry him out.  He is thrown out into the “outer darkness.”  The charge prompting this was his attire, it was all wrong.  He wasn’t dressed for the wedding. He did not belong there.

“But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Matthew 22:11-14, ESV

Many have given into their despair, they now reside in “the outer darkness.”  They are no longer dressed for the banquet. Now I admit that mental illness and discipleship don’t always blend well together.  But the Father understands and he increases his deposit of grace to make up for this deficiency. He doesn’t treat his beloved sons equally. Extra grace is given to the chronically ill.

Those who limp are given extra help as they follow Him.

God has created us for this wedding feast. And it is with confidence that we look forward to this feast, for in Christ we will not be found naked but clothed in the white garments of His righteousness.  He took my dirty and filthy clothes and exchanged them for his own white ones.  We wear his gift, and Oh, what a wonder we are!

“I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God!
      For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation
      and draped me in a robe of righteousness.
   I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit
      or a bride with her jewels.”

Isaiah 61:10, NLT

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When You Hear Voices

I guess I’m in a wandering/wondering frame of mind.  I’ve been hearing voices off and on.  They are clear, distinct and I suppose  rather commanding.  Previously I’ve dealt with ‘tinnitus’, but this is definitely different.  The voices are not incredibly sophisticated–its usually just one or two words.  Quite simple actually.

Perhaps the full reason of why this is a problem,  because I wonder about some sort of ‘mental degradation’.

  • Am I getting worse?
  • Are the ‘voices’ the sign of the end for me?
  • Will they take over?
  • Will I turn into a blathering idiot?

This is an anxiety that I cannot carry and yet remain somewhat productive.

I have this image of a stark raving crazy guy, hung up on religion and ‘right-wing extremism’, foaming at the mouth and ‘heading for a bunker up in the mountains.’  But I am none of these things.  Maybe that’s why it scares me so.  I cannot relate to any of this, and I don’t want to.  I am not that person. This is not me.

The voices by themselves, not extrapolating their content, are disruptive enough.  They don’t have to be specific, all they have to be is loud and insistent.  It really doesn’t matter if I obey them.  They disrupt me just by speaking.  I hope that this level of discernment won’t erode away.

I have a new insight to my brothers and sisters who struggle with schizophrenia/bipolar.  Many are on the streets, and they are desperately homeless.  They battle with dragons on almost a medieval level.  Sometimes they push back the beastie, and then sometimes they themselves are slammed back.  But no matter what will happen that day, God’s love meets the warrior, and He lifts them up.

Voices.  These are not dredged up, or manipulated.  I certainly do not ‘manufacture’ them.  I certainly not doing this for attention.  But when they do press me (with an order or command) I do know that it is an alien voice, coming from outside of me.  I’m thinking if I can only hold on to that evaluation, I will come out on the other side.  Whole and complete.

I have to believe, that God is holding on to me with both hands.  He will not let me slide into the night, alone.  He has determined that darkness will never claim me.  I turn as I can, to look at Him, face-to-face by faith.  “He has come to heal the broken-hearted.  A bruised reed,  He will not break.  A smoking wick, He will not quench” (Isa. 43:3). What an awesome promise! We serve a gentle and protective God.

 

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This Delusional Shore

Vivid and intense, this is very much like the mania of Bipolar

I need to be honest and forthcoming.  Life has been, let’s just say…interesting the last several weeks.  I have been struggling a great deal with delusions and paranoia, two big issues that are part of my mental illness. I also have ‘absence seizures.’

Maybe I ‘over-think’ these things?  But spiritually, I am growing.  My prayer life and time with the Word has been very good.  I’m growing in Him, and in confidence of His love for me.  I even have been told, that I’m writing well.  Yet I am perplexed, mystified by these delusions.

Most of them are persecutional.  I imagine that people are plotting to discredit me.  The delusions are very slippery and evasive and they are difficult to explain.  The paranoia works the same way, all I see is elaborate traps are being made in a concentrated effort to ruin me.  It feels, hostile.  I feel that I’m being victimized. And there are people who want to hurt me.

All of these issues have an effect of making me feel that I am spinning ‘out-of-control,’ like a clown on roller-skates at the circus.  I am embarrassed by what they do to me, and feel stupid.  I feel bizarre, as if my skin suddenly turned incandescent blue.  I have a vague but real sense that I’m not appropriate, but I just can’t seem to be normal.

On the positive side, the Word especially the Psalms, is more than ever protecting me.  I have a great infinity for Psalms, and I’ve been voraciously digesting them.  I also find myself almost unconsciously rejecting each delusion as it becomes known.  It seems to be a sort of a “cleansing” process and I have to believe it is the Holy Spirit actively protecting me.

So, in the dark, I will sing His praises and read His precious Word.  I no longer do it for theological reasonings, or to put a check mark next on a reading program.  It’s more medicinal, or therapeutic.  The Bible cleanses me as if it were a dialysis machine filtering my blood.  I don’t know why I keep producing these delusions, but the Holy Spirit nullifies each one before they can damage me or others.

So dear “Brokenbeliever.com” reader,  I would simply ask you to be kinder and more understanding to those around you with mental illnesses, they really need you right now.  Let them know that there is a real hope.  Also, I believe each one will contribute something vital to the Body (sort of like a pancreas or a gall bladder, lol.)  I am sure God has placed them into the Church deliberately to serve the fellowship through their illness.  God is big enough to do that. And He loves us enough to insist on this.

*

ybic, Bryan

For something similar: http://brokenbelievers.com/ministry-for-the-mentally-ill/

http://brokenbelievers.com/without-your-wound/

Riding the London Underground with Jesus

“And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.’

Mark 6:31, ESV

Our Savior would never drive us to do things with a whip.  He is not a taskmaster, and he will not insist or impose his will over us.  Nothing about him is brutal or demanding. (He could, really– if he wanted to.)  We learn how to serve him from our loving hearts. It is interesting that it was Jesus that was very careful, and aware of his disciples needs.  No one suggested a break from the work, but Jesus initiated the break from the massive press of the crowds. He knew intensely what his disciples needed.

 “Crowds of people were coming and going so that Jesus and his followers did not even have time to eat. He said to them, “Come away by yourselves, and we will go to a lonely place to get some rest.”

Mark 6:31, NCV

Underground-SymbolThe presence of so many people had put the disciples in a very hard place.  The NCV describes the crowds, as “coming and going.”  If you have ever been on the London Underground you will understand just the sheer number.  Everyday, 2.93 million people board the trains.  I remember travelling from the backwoods of  Alaska, with just a backpack, and hitting the huge crowds on “the tube” in London, UK.

The intense masses were way beyond anything I ever imagined.  Talk about a “culture shock!  (It was more like a “culture electrocution.”)  I saw more people in just 3 minutes than in an entire year of living in Alaska.  It was like an amazing giant ant-hill; I would stop, and just stare. Nothing prepared me for this. But I knew His presence was with me.

Jesus is more concerned about the living freshness of his disciples.  He shuts things down in order to rest with his followers.  Often the tendency will be the opposite, especially when the leader is weak and immature.  “Work harder, and even more hours!”  Jesus did not have the need to be available 24/7.  And he certainly didn’t expect his disciples to do so.  His heart is committed to his followers.

He “orders” his disciples, come apart and let’s rest!

“But so many people were coming and going that Jesus and the apostles did not even have a chance to eat. Then Jesus said, “Let’s go to a place where we can be alone and get some rest.”

Mark 6:31, CEV

I don’t know if you can grasp the sensitivity, or see the nuances of Jesus shepherding his disciples.  He has a deep awareness of them; he doesn’t get lost by people pressing in from every side.  He loves the world of men and women, but his followers are his “specialty.”  He tunes in on their frequency, and knows our spiritual capacity.

What gives his followers strength, is to be close with Jesus, and to separate from the needs that were densely surrounding them.  We can be flattered by being needed, but that can be very corrosive or destructive.  I’m guessing but I believe that a few of the disciples may have been annoyed by this break in the action. They found it hard to remove themselves from the action.  Some may have been frustrated, perhaps even slightly irritated by “Jesus’ retreat.”

When you are pouring out, you will find there is only a certain capacity before you run dry.  You may think this is “noble and praiseworthy” but it is nothing of the sort.  It is a form of arrogance and pride.  In order to really mature as a believer, we must shake this off and not to entertain our seeming indispensability to the cause.  We must keep on following Jesus into the quiet places.

 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Matthew 11:28, MSG

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