Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2017 Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry
You already know life is full of struggles. Life is also full of happy experiences like nice weather, finding a bargain, and being greeted with a smile. If distrust and pain focus our energy at times on the negative, positive moments may surprise us or go by unnoticed.
The opposite is also true. When life is going well, we can be shocked at pain as if it is a stranger forcing its way into our home uninvited.
Confusion is rampant. Why do I feel so empty now? How can I laugh minutes after my mom’s funeral? Why do bad things happen to me or my family? How can I feel good when others hurt?
Simple “answers” are easy to come by. We can blame anyone or anything for our discomfort. Parents, spouses, doctors, religious leaders, government officials, even God or ourselves. It is comforting to believe confusion can be resolved so readily.
I talk about psychology, hopefully only in the sense that it can provide insight into why we feel as we do. Behaviors, false beliefs, and feeling trapped in an inexplicable cycle can be addressed with options once an issue is recognized. However, psychology cannot answer all our confusion. Science and the study of human behavior leaves us with more questions sometimes.
If I am a victim, am I responsible for my behavior? If someone hurt me because they were hurt, do I have the right to feel angry? My emotional needs are great. Why can’t I find the support I need? WHY DO I STILL HURT???
There are answers. Some would say, “Just read the Bible.” I agree the answers are in there, but confusion cannot always make them out. We need four, somewhat more complicated answers. They definitely require us to take action.
1) Reach for the Higher Power. Know God is benevolent and firm simultaneously. He loves us with passion and pours out mercy constantly. He has created us with purpose regardless how life (or death) treats us. He sent His only born-to-God Son, Jesus, to sacrifice his life for our eternal one. When we believe that, trust him as the way to God, and obey God’s instructions, we can know we have a connection to the Almighty. Our Higher Power is the Highest Power. We are never alone.
2) It’s important to receive wise counsel. For spiritual guidance, the source needs to understand God’s love, grace, and commands. They have to be people who believe the Bible is God’s Word. For mental health, a therapist ought not ridicule or belittle your faith in Jesus Christ. They must be knowledgable about your psychological condition and experienced with positive results. Support groups, Anonymous 12-step groups, some friends and family (if they get it) are places to discover you are not alone and can make positive changes.
3)Accept that life is a bouncy ball and cannot always be explained. Embrace confusion as part of the experience. If we can say, “I don’t know” and be okay with that, we will have more peace. By letting go, we cease trying to control everything and everybody. What a relief that is!
4) Buy into hope. At times we feel 100% certain there is no hope. The first three of this list of answers may seem a mockery of reality. However, hope is only hiding behind a curtain of pain and confusion. Eventually this blockade lifts and hope is ours to grasp again. Meanwhile, buy into the idea of hope. I have hope, many others have hope, your supports have hope, doctors and therapists have hope – why not choose to believe it exists? It’s a torturous wait sometimes hanging on to that thread. Yet desperately holding the hope of other people can get us through to the other side.
Simple answers are so empty they rarely offer permanent solutions. I highly recommend substance. Believing and obeying a benevolent God, seeking wise support, accepting life on life’s terms, and reaching for hope will provide a solid floor to stand on. All four together surprise us with joy.
Today’s Helpful Word
“Let your unfailing love surround us, LORD, for our hope is in you alone.”
NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.