• Julie Busler

Living With Mental Illness

Living with mental illness is exactly that, living with it. It doesn’t just go away. On good and bad days alike, it’s there. It’s the backdrop for every decision, feeling, and thought. It’s the lens the world is seen through. Some days things happen, people say things, or someone treats you a certain way that flips the switch to a full on trauma response. Physical symptoms surge through your being, and suddenly you find yourself diving fast into a dark war zone where hope is bleak and the good fight of faith intensifies. Underneath a smiling exterior, a battle rages in secret places no one sees. Except God, because He is the God Who Sees.

Our flesh fights our spirits, just like our pain tries to destroy our faith. When Adam and Eve ate the fruit, sin entered the world, tainting everything. Relationships, nature, our minds...everything fell from the perfection it once was. Mental illness entered the scene creating a shift in our brains that groan for the day that Jesus makes them new. Until then, let’s not lose hope.

How do we not lose hope? We feed our aching minds with the nourishment found in God’s Word - even when pain makes opening up the Bible seem less than appetizing. Jesus said “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John‬ ‭15:7)‬. We must abide in the Word, remain in it, tarry there. Jesus also said “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (John‬ ‭6:63)‬. “The flesh (i.e., human nature including emotions, will, and intellect) is completely incapable of producing genuine spiritual life, for this can only be done by the Spirit. But the Holy Spirit works powerfully in and through the words that Jesus speaks, and those words are spirit and life in the sense that they work in the unseen spiritual realm and awaken genuine spiritual life (ESV Study Bible).

Abiding in Christ and His Word is the only way we will ever bear the fruit of faith and experience the strange phenomenon of joy in sorrow and hope in depression. Walking in the Spirit, rather than the flesh (which is of no help) is the key to perseverance.

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