If you’re here because you googled mental illness, you came to the wrong place. There are mental illnesses that need professional, medical treatment, and there’s others that require deliverance by Christians that are close to God and able to drive out demons.
I’m not talking about those mental illnesses. I’m talking about the ones that come from being human, which most of us don’t realize are mental illnesses.
This is a little more light-hearted than most of my posts, but no less important in my eyes.
Swollen head Syndrome
God’s called me to a be a teacher. He’s given me a gift. Sometimes that means it’s really easy to teach and really easy to know what God’s saying. Sometimes that means that people walk away saying wonderful things about me, and other times they just walk away amazed, just a little bit more open to God in their lives.
I don’t want to talk about being a teacher. I want to talk about what it took for me to write the last paragraph.
Just saying that God called me to be a teacher sets off alarm bells inside. Numerous parts of me start speaking:
- The part that catalogs what other people think so that I can make sure to follow all the rules for life says, "That’s not a very humble thing to say."
- The part of me that is scared of what other people think—the part that wants me to follow polls like a politician—says, "Think of a way to tell them you’re a teacher http://rosecreekvillage.com/shammah/wp-admin/post.php?post=837&action=edit&message=1to get your point across, but find some words that make you look humble."
- The part of me that wants to affect what other people think of me, says, "Be bold! You can’t be humble by acting humble, anyway. Cross lines fearlessly, like all those guys you admire, and then maybe others will admire you, too!"
All that happens inside me in a split second.
Shrunken Head Syndrome
Worse, I’d love to acknowledge that I’m astounded at the revelation God gives me sometimes. It comes down from heaven, fills me with joy, makes my insides quiver, and always gives me power to dispel anything that comes up against what I’m saying. When that revelation comes, I can see inside of people, and it’s no problem cutting right to the center of a matter, nor to speak fearlessly yet with care and compassion.
That’s a gift of God. It’s incredibly delightful, and I think it’s a good thing to talk about because every one of us has a gift from God like that, and every one of us can experience the thrill and the inexplicable confidence that comes from operating in that gift.
But it’s exceptionally difficult to talk about the gift of God in me.
The fact is, when it’s happening, it’s very easy to be really, truly proud in a sinful way.
But then, afterward, this other gift of mine rises up. It’s the ability to condemn, and especially to condemn myself.
"Got arrogant again today, didn’t you? There’s people who ask you now and then just who you think you are, and they saw you today, puffed up and full of pride. Today, they know they’re justified in paying no attention to you because they’re right. You’re too big for your breeches."
The voice goes on:
"And what do you have to be proud of, anyway? It’s not like you deny yourself the way Hudson Taylor did. Are you scraping aside every bit of extra money? How about selling your furniture for missions support like Carol Vezey did? Amy Carmichael had her eyes set on the Gospel all the time. She wasn’t unmoved, and she sure wasn’t spending any time thinking she just gave a wonderful message. She was too busy being spiritual."
Do you ever go through that kind of thinking?
I’m 49. I’ve been walking with God for 28 years. I’ve paid a lot of attention the advice that’s been given me over the last 28 years in hopes of overthrowing those voices and thinking properly.
And I’ve found an answer.
The answer is that there is no answer.
No, the answer is that no answer is needed.
My mind’s going to be like that forever. Maybe it’s a mental illness. I’ve lived long enough, though, to know that if it’s a mental illness, it’s a mental illness that afflicts a lot of people.
But you know what? It doesn’t matter. Those voices make a lot of noise, and it’s slightly uncomfortable, and sometimes I feel bad for a little while, but those voices don’t deceive me. I know what’s right, and if I ignore what I feel about a situation and do what I know to be true about a situation, those voices don’t get in the way of that.
The answer God has given me is to ignore all those thoughts and feelings. Who cares if I’m insecure, shaken by circumstances, and my feelings are driven around by what others think about me? My job is to ignore all that and get about my business serving God. I’m too busy to spend time fixing inadequacies that are impossible to fix, anyway.
What would be worse is if I used them as excuses.
To this day the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force. Maybe God will deliver you from your insecurities, but he’s never delivered me from mine, nor from the utterly ridiculous thoughts that accompany them.
I don’t argue with those thoughts, anymore. I just ignore them, and I get on about my business.
You need to do the same because I’m pretty sure God thinks you can rise up and serve him despite how you feel.