For a moment I had an urge to stop taking my Depakote. I shouldn't need it. If I am immersed in Jesus, I shouldn't need it. Right?
Thankfully, I did not stop taking it. I've been having enough trouble staying on schedule with it as it is, and I'm fairly certain my level is jumping up and down quite a bit. But besides the fact that chemical imbalances may be involved, there are some other deeper issues involved with the whole concept of being free from the need for medications in the control of mental illness.
I cannot just make a one-time commitment and assume that I will be able to count on God to control my emotional state or the state of my thinking. Life in Christ is a daily experience, and if I am not disciplined in that experience then I will not experience the benefits of that life--including healing for my emotions. He gave me emotions because they tell me something-- not just that I need Him. That is true, but I can't just stop there. It's too easy to make a bitter statement that negative emotions obviously indicate I'm missing something in the spiritual life and to stop there and turn the statement into a heap of self-condemnation. No, I must take it a step further.
My emotions tell me that there is something specific which (1) I need from God; (2) He longs to give to me; (3) He has available in abundance to give to me; and (4) which I can seek and find in Him, if only I will be bold enough to seek Him with all my heart. My faith is not in the idea that my emotional needs will be supplied, but my faith in His existence as the rewarder of those who seek Him enables me to know that He will supply my every need because I know that He supplies all of my needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus. I don't need to spend my time wondering if He really cares, knows, or understands my needs. Of course He does! He is my Creator and the perfect Father. He is never anxious with His own worries. He is always concerned with the best interests of His children. When I am busy reminding Him of my needs instead of sitting at His feet to listen, I am displaying a tremendous lack of faith in Him as my Father, Creator, and King.
This is not to say that I should not ask for what I need. I should ask and ask with boldness! Part of asking means that I must pay attention to what my emotions and thought patterns are telling me. Am I depressed? What is the depression telling me? Was there an external event that triggered the depression? Is there an unmet need which lies beneath it? Am I anxious? What about? Are negative voices speaking to me and causing me fear? What is it they tell me that I am afraid of? These are the needs I must bring before God, knowing that my being a part of His vine through my personal relationship with Jesus Christ allows me access to His throne, where I can bring my every request and know that He will grant it.
And having brought my requests before Him, I must not simply go about my merry way, pursuing my own interests, but I must listen to His voice; for only then can I be in a frame of mind to receive the very things I have asked for. And if He will so gladly provide for me, why should I not return the favor by hearing and doing whatHe would ask for me? I treat my earthly friends this way. Why not Jesus, who has called me his friend and who is so much more than a friend to me?
What amazes me is how refreshed I feel after writing this! I didn't realize how up close and personal it was for me. I was simply awake and obeyed the impulse (command?) to come and write down all the thoughts running through my head. I had gone to sleep last night feeling very vulnerable.
My sleeping has been so off for the last month or two that I had no idea whether I would sleep or not. I went to bed still feeling very vulnerable. I cried very hard. I had the urge to cry for Mommy. What mommy? My earthly mommy? The mommy I never had? I don't know. ... Perhaps this is nothing specific to process but is a lesson to me about my own state as a spiritual child who is still very young despite many years of claiming to be a follower of Christ.
I woke up with my heart still a bit downcast, but I could not go back to sleep. I realize now that even the need to be held is not the core of my pain as I thought it was. The core of my pain is the need to know that I have a Father who loves me. God created fathers and mothers, and He is not lacking in ability to provide anything for me, including the most foundational need I have--emotional nurturing! He created me with these needs, and He created me with two parents who, ideally, would provide me with earthly representations of various aspects of His care for me. His role as Father is not limited to the roles or stereotypes of earthly fathers.
As I have sat here and written down the things I have heard in my emotional darkness, I realize how true they are and that they are as much for me as for anyone else. And I realize that I have a Father who loves me and wants to be intimately involved with my life--and this goes so far beyond the need to be held! I didn't think anything could overcome that. But when my mind is focused always and entirely on Him, there is no room for anything else, no room to be distracted by the needs or cares of this body or unmet needs of the human heart. There is only my eternal spirit in tune with the spirit of Christ, and since my body is the dwelling place of that spirit, everything that is needed to make it a fitting place will be provided, and whatever makes it unfit for the spirit of Christ to dwell there is just not needed.
It is only with this attitude that I can honestly confess anything. Confession in any other frame of mind is not truly confession. It is confession motivated by bitterness or anger or some other evil or deceit. This is why Jesus silenced the demons who spoke of who he was but said to Peter upon his confession of Christ as the Messiah, "Upon you I will build my church."
Bitter selflessness is not a sacrifice holy and acceptable to the Lord, but so often that is the sacrifice I offer. How I come to a pointof faith where I can make this pure confession is a mystery to me. Faith is a gift, but it also comes from hearing the Word of God. Why the Word begins to make sense to me and not to others is another mystery. Perhaps it is because I want to understand, want to believe, and God gives generously under such circumstances. My heart has never been hardened toward Him. If it had been, belief and faith would have been much more difficult, and without these it is impossible to tap into the grace that is salvation or whatever it takes to do anything that pleases God.
I understand now that this is what the healing journey is all about: bridging the gap between me and the source of all that gives me life in spite of earthly trials and pains. The success of my healing journey depends entirely on what healing is to me and how I go about this journey. If I see healing as something I must work for or use my own abilities to achieve, it isn't going to happen. I am certainly as capable of making mistakes and of mistreating myself as any person outside myself. God knew me before I was in my mother's womb--whatever makes me me must have existed before this body was even conceived. It is that spirit which is my self and that spirit which is grieved by the injustices done to the body which is its habitation, and it is that spirit which needs healing--a healing which will not be completed by anything in this physical life. It has to be completed by someone who understands the needs of the spirit. Human understanding of anything spiritual is so very limited! How can I rely on myself to understand or provide what my spirit needs if I don't understand it? I must rely on the One who has known my spirit from the beginning of its existence, the One in whose image I as a spirit am made!