Mental Illness is a monster.
Whether you struggle with Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, PTSD, Dissociative Disorder, an Eating Disorder or any other form of mental illness, more likely than not it has overrun your life in one way or another. And if you are a Christian, you’ve probably begged God to take it from you, to lift the burden from your shoulders. Many of us have at one point barely had the strength to keep on living.
We want some kind of grand gesture from God. We want an audible voice from heaven to call to us. We want a message written in the sky. We just want to feel God’s presence in some miraculous way. So that we can KNOW he is there.
But...we feel empty. And we feel numb.
Where are you God?
There is a story in the Bible where the prophet Elijah is running for his life from Queen Jezebel. He feels so alone and is in such despair and anguish that he doesn’t want to live anymore saying, “I have had enough, Lord...Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors” (1 Kings 19:4a, NIV).
He continues on a forty day journey up to a mountaintop where God tells him to wait and that His presence is going to pass by. The passage continues:
“Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave” (1 Kings 19:11-13).
You see, God was not in the mighty wind, the earthquake, or the fire, but in a gentle quiet whisper.
So often I have waited for the fire, or the earthquake to come shake up my world and bring me the confidence and peace and clarity that I so desired. But as I look back on so many instances, it was often in the quiet silence where he was working. The times in my room where I was was curled up in a ball sobbing. The times when I felt nobody understood. And the times when all I wanted was for the pain to stop.
He was there. His grace constantly whispering, “I’m here for you, Janae. I see you. I’m hurting with you.”
I truly believe that he is there in the midst of it all, but we have to be in community and connected with others who understand the unique and seemingly conflicting ideas of struggling with mental illness and maintaining a strong faith. But they are not conflicting. In fact, they go hand in hand and I hope that this site serves as a supportive conversation in your own journey or in gaining understanding for someone who may really need a listening ear.
God can be found in the midst of the chaos and irrational thinking of our minds. We just have to be willing to accept that God’s plan is not our own and that he works in ways we least expect. I pray that together, we can open our ears and hearts and be willing to listen for when grace whispers.