It’s ok not to be ok; but that’s not the end of the story. I don’t have to just give up and believe that I will always be “not ok.” There are things I can do to be better.
There are small choices I can make even when I’m weak and hurting that will give me a better chance of being less weak and hurting less down the road.
Zechariah 4:10a (NLT)
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.”
God gave Zerubbabel the task of rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem. The angel told Zechariah not to discount the small steps along the way.
The plumb line was for making sure foundation stones were perfectly vertical. A plumb line was a small thing; but if the foundation was not set correctly, the whole building would be compromised.
There are small things we can do, small choices we can make, to keep our foundation strong. These small things keep our lives from collapsing.
[Jesus] told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
The small size of the mustard seed is irrelevant to the gardener. He plants it because he knows it will grow.
The small size of my strength to get well is irrelevant to God. He tells me to use what little strength I have and do the next right thing, and He will grow it into His Kingdom in my life.
God’s plan for growth requires our participation. He will bring the results, but we have to do our part.
You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.
It’s not my responsibility to keep myself in perfect peace. That’s God’s job. My job is trusting Him and keeping my mind steadfast on Him.
How do I do that when my mind is full of fear and worry? How can someone keep their mind steadfast when ADD is dragging it in every direction at once or when OCD clamps down on one thing and won’t let go?
I can make the choice to bring my mind to the Word of God. Even if it’s only one scripture at first, that choice is a seed. Then as soon as I can, I bring my mind back to God’s Word for one more scripture. And so on, planting small seeds, one at a time.
And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
Reading a few scripture verses here and there may not seem like it will do much. But it’s the choice behind the reading that makes the difference. Reading scripture because I want to obey God and receive His perfect peace is a choice that God will honor.
He searches our hearts and minds. When He sees that we’re doing our best to trust Him and obey Him – in spite of our mental obstacles – the Holy Spirit intercedes for us to accomplish His Will in our lives.
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Sharing my struggles with trusted friends is another tool God has given me to get better; and it’s my responsibility to use it.
On one hand, just knowing that I’m being heard and loved – and not judged –takes a huge weight off my shoulders. I remember that I’m not alone. The support and encouragement of others gives my mind much-needed ammunition to fight the lies.
On the other hand, putting my emotions into words changes my brain chemistry. When emotions are just thoughts, they can trigger the fight-or-flight response in my brain that floods my body with chemicals to prepare me to deal with danger. When I talk about my emotions, I choose words to describe them. This activates the part of my brain that governs reason and rational thinking. It also tells my body to stop producing the danger chemicals and calm down. Just talking about my feelings physically changes me.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
God created us to be well and whole. Even when illness damages His creation, we’re not left without hope or help.
He created scientists to discover medicines that can bring our brains and bodies closer to their original designs. He created doctors and counselors to teach us how to work through the consequences of the damage.
And most of all, He gave us His Word, which is Himself. The more time we spend in His Word, the more He is able to fill us with His presence and help us heal.
What are some of the tools that help you get better, in spite of mental illness?
Photo credit: sasint