Thursday, August 11, 2016

On Vulnerability, Bipolar and Wholeness




I talk to her, this new psychologist/therapist, with my head cast down. 'Yes, bipolar runs in my family' I say. It's a statement that squeaks out of my mouth with this oppressive weight of...shame.

She says the first, second and third time I see her, 'I want you to look at bipolar as a good thing; to reorient your thinking.' I start to see how she is saying 'God knows He made you this way. It is not a surprise but by design. You can learn to embrace it.'

And so I have been seeking to do that. But it is hard.

I have met many new people this last year. Because God has made me quite transparent, if I don't share about my bipolar, I feel like I am hiding something. It's a deep part of me that longs to be known.

Yet, once I do, I can feel the label, oh this label, sticking harder to me.

I love names, but not this one. 

The name, bipolar, feels so very not enough and yet too much. As I have thought on it, I am convinced that it will have an altogether new name in Heaven. Something so beautiful, it would hurt our ears to hear it now.

I love this analogy in C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce. It is one of my favorite books; a journey between Heaven and Hell. There is a man with a grotesque lizard sunk into his shoulder, speaking lies constantly. He is asked if he is willing to kill it. He seems unwilling, afraid of what will happen. But the transformation happens anyway. And instead of killing him the lizard becomes a white horse and with it the man will ride the heights of Glory.

So bipolar will be for me One Day. And for you, your label may be the same or something else altogether, but the God of redemption promises to transform it into what is altogether new.

Yet, even more, God is giving me the courage to believe that this transformation can happen now.

To believe this, is to crush the power of the Enemy to hold my life ransom while I await Heaven. And for all I hold dear, my husband, my children, the ministry God has given me, I must stand against evil.

Not bipolar, but the lies that make a mountain which keeps me from dreaming and loving and living.

When I hear the word 'bipolar', I think of something that wants to tear me apart. It wants to pull me to the heights or plunge me to the depths, all the while reconstructing what is real.

And yes, in this, my Savior is standing between me and this web of lies, this mountain of doubt, this hand of the Destroyer. His fierce eyes stare down the Enemy. His passionate love pierces my heart. 

With all that He is, He says 'no more!' 

It's that drum I will beat again. 'No more shame. No more doubt. No more darkness. No more fear. No more shadow. No more pain. No more!!'

Yes here. Yes now. And yes how.

Medicine? 

In part, yes. 

Because I am tired of stories of people believing or hearing from others that they aren't trusting God if they take medicine. Medicines, are things we have that people didn't have years ago, Precious, beloved Christian people who died or who completely, irrevocably went crazy. 

The proper medicine keeps us here in this world without premature exits. It gives us what we need to lead a 'normal' life. And I will be so bold as to say to their shame God is saying 'No more!'

Yet we know. Oh how we know. Medicine cannot liberate our soul. It cannot make us whole.

And here is the magic and mystery. As we take on the label and don't live our life running from it, we see it becoming something beloved, leading us again and again and again to our Savior. It is the staff of humility, a reminder of who we lean on. It is also a way of coming home to just how God made us.

As I was sitting and listening to my psychologist, I felt the faintest glimmer of hope. Later while I was walking and listening to Tim Keller's book on prayerit turned to full light. 'God made me bipolar, and this is what that means!'

My whole life I have struggled with being too much. Too emotional. Too driven. Too moody;) Too smart. Too awkward. The list goes on, and well, you get the point. 

Tim Keller was talking about the various elements of prayer. As he talked about the psalms he was saying how no one person could have written them. It took the extroverted and introverted, the sanguine and the melancholy, the right-brained and left-brained. (This is a loose paraphrase) 

I am not saying I could have written all of the psalms, but all of the various, diverse, polar-opposite parts of me can understand the psalms uniquely. 

For I have acutely experienced the heights of joy and the depths of pain. I love poetry and the symmetry and order of math. I have both shouted a psalm from the mountaintops of Barcelona and taken it deep into my soul in the dark of a Budapest night. 

When I asked my psychologist, 'can I really, genuinely be all of these things?' Emphatically she said 'yes!'

I am bipolar and yet I am not. I am whole. I am God's. I am bought with a price. I am ransomed uniquely for the joy of His Glory. 

I am infinitely more than a label and yet, if I let it, this label can lead me home and to a white horse.

For it leads me Unto Grace. Unto Joy. Unto Life. Unto God.

(when I picture myself whole and God's, this is my prayer and joy to taste in part)



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