Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2013 Nancy Virden
(My guest blogger today is Anonymous.)
I am an addict. I have been an addict for over 40 years. The addiction which I believe to have been induced by the results of bullying, low self-esteem, emotional stagnation, rigidly obeying rules and being very judgmental of myself and others has grown over the years. Feeding into this was clinical depression. The result has robbed me of any joy of life, energy, emotional connections with others, and left me an angry, resentful, and horribly selfish man.
I am a Christian. I have been a Christian for over 40 years. I put my faith in God at a young age, believing the Bible to be God’s word and doing the best I could to live by it. I used my talents for God and did my best to honor Him. But the addiction held me short of truly living a committed life for God. After each “slip” into addiction, I confessed my sin but always felt shame and guilt. I was always less than: less than God’s child, less than a good Christian, less than a faithful believer. It hurt. But there was no stopping the addiction.
The addiction was the giant. Larger than life he laughed at me, mocking me. I ran and hid. No matter how hard I tried, and I tried everything I could think of, the giant hit me again and again, beating me into submission so that I would run and hide. I hid in depression, I hid in bed, I hid by watching T.V., I hid by being alone whenever possible.
Around me were other soldiers, calling themselves Christians. And so they were; but they would not enter the battle with me. Shaking in their armor, they did not have the strength to stand by me. Many knew at least of my depression; I hid the addiction, but they were as most Christians are and as I was. They were too busy with life, too afraid to approach those uncomfortable topics, everyone in their armor and ready to fight but only for themselves; not for each other.
Then one day, I found a sling and 12 small stones. Simply called the “Twelve Steps” it provided a practical way to live out the Christianity I had struggled with my whole life. I took stock. I was so small, so powerless against this giant. I came to realize that unless I really put my faith in God, I could never overcome this giant. Now I had to surrender my will and my life to God. He is the only one who could make this sling and these stones effective.
The giant came at me again. He laughed at me, at my God, and at my 12 small steps.
“God, I surrender to you”, I pray.
The giant mocked me. I texted a friend for help. The giant approached me. I attended another meeting. The giant called to me, “You addict. You can’t outrun me. You are doomed to slip repeatedly. You are doomed to be an angry, resentful, pitiful creature. You failure. You sinner. Give up!”
“God”, I said. “I surrender, help me”. I admitted my powerlessness, confessed that only God could save me. I looked at my faults and became aware of them. I saw how my view of handling life was out of God’s plan for me. With each realization, the stones hit their mark.
The giant lies silent, dying.
I have listened to the voice of truth. God tells me things do not have to be the same. The person I grew up being, I don’t have to be anymore. God invites me not to fear but to trust Him with each step I take toward sobriety. I can then be the person I was meant to be all along, and God will receive the glory.
-Loosely based on the song by Casting Crowns, “The Voice of Truth”
NOTE: In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.