Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries
Ancient King Solomon’s famous poem has reached countless people over thousands of years. It has been sung, most notably by The Byrds in 1965, and their rendition is often called Turn! Turn! Turn! (The actual title is To Everything There is a Season).
One can see why Solomon’s provocative words would affect varying generations and societies differently. Straight out of the Bible in the book of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, the poem has been the subject of many sermons and philosophical debates.
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate
a time for war and a time for peace.
When we struggle with an episode of anxiety or other mental disorder, one trigger is often a sense that we have no control over the world and circumstances that affect us. We grasp at what we can to explain our pain and find relief.
Life is easier (we think) when it can be measured and defined. I wasted decades fretting over external events and the behaviors of others, trying to design what was best. Solomon’s poem, therapy, and a teachable spirit are opening up for me more peaceful options.
- I’m not in control and that’s awesome. Yes, the burden of false guilt for not fixing everything for everyone or making others change is not mine to own. Helping others is a choice, however trying to force the response I want just tears me apart.
- I do not have to remain a victim. Management of my depressive disorder is my job. It does not rule over me. I am responsible for creating safe boundaries, and declaring and living by them.
- I can control who I am. What kind of person do I want to be? The steps I take today toward becoming that person are my choice alone.
- Perfection is fantasy. Allowing humanness to be my natural self and acknowledging the same for other people, erases a sense of personal offense and blame.
King Solomon throughout his book affirms the limitations of our wisdom. As one who searched the world for deep answers, his conclusion was that contentment comes with our decision to trust God’s sovereignty, and appreciate what we have in the moment. He said, “when all has been heard,” the key to happiness is in surrender to God and obedience to his commands.
We have no real control and God has it all. If we trust that he is always good, then relaxing in his arms while the seasons pass by is comforting indeed.
Today’s Helpful Word
2 Corinthians 6:2
“As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it. For God says, ‘At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.’
Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.”
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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.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.