Let me just stop you right here before you even get started. In the spirit of full disclosure, I think it’s only fair to inform you that this is a Jesus post. This post is all about faith, and the promises found in God’s word.
So, if you have a problem with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, you might want to stop reading right now. But I hope you won’t. Even if you are not a believer, there is wisdom and solace to be found in the Bible.
For me, mental illness and faith go hand in hand. I can’t imagine navigating bipolar disorder without being firmly rooted in Jesus Christ.
You often hear that the mentally ill believe they have a special connection to God. I’ll be honest with you. I do feel closer to God when I am sick, and I will tell you why.
When I am in the middle of a bipolar episode, I lose all of my inhibitions. I speak to God and of God more freely because my symptoms silence the scared girl inside of me who is afraid of not being liked.
Unfortunately, that feeling of freedom fades fast. When I come back down to earth, the boldness disappears when the weight of my mental illness crushes my spirit. Fears of inadequacy and worry erase everything I thought I knew about my relationship with God.
Bullet List Problem Solver
Week after week my blog posts offer solutions to a variety of mental illness related concerns. I am your go-to girl for solving problems with a bullet list and a set of guidelines to follow.
I have a confession to make. Sometimes, I don’t have all the answers. Sometimes, my mental illness is too much. Sometimes, it brings me to my knees.
Sometimes, the only way to make sense of my unreal world is to turn to the word of God to remind me what He says about the trials and tribulations we all face.
Here are seven scripture verses to cling to when life is overwhelming:
1. “Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; you know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day” (Psalm 139:13-16 MSG).
You are not a surprise to God. God knows you inside and out. He created every fiber of your being. Your successes and failures don’t shock Him. God knows every flaw, and He loves you still. There is nothing you can do that will change His unconditional love. There is no unforgiveable sin.
2. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV).
When you have more questions than answers, roll this verse around in your brain until you internalize the truth of its words. You are a powerful person equipped for love by God. And no matter what your mental illness whispers in your ear, you are not crazy.
3. “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:8-10 NIV).
We all have weaknesses—every single one of us. We must remember what the Bible says about weaknesses. Jesus Christ’s power is made perfect in our weakness. Our weaknesses glorify God, so we should embrace them knowing they serve an eternal purpose.
4. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).
I know it sounds counterintuitive, but we should embrace our trials because they serve a purpose. When we face our trials head on without buckling under the adversity, our perseverance muscle grows. Then we are better equipped to handle whatever life throws at us.
5. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).
It is reassuring to know that God has a plan, even when we can’t see it. He wants what’s best for you. He is your hope, and He is your future. This is especially important to know when in the grips of suicidal ideation. There is hope and a new beginning right around the corner. Stand firm in your faith while you wait.
6. “Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God” (Romans 8:26-27 MSG).
Sometimes, we don’t have the words to articulate the prayers we want to pray, or we don’t even know what to pray. That is when the Holy Spirit steps in. He listens to our wordless pleas and forms them into the perfect prayer to present before God.
7. “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG).
Rest is so important to God that He took a break on the seventh day after creating everything in the universe! God even included a reminder to rest in the ten commandments. When we do our part and give the rest of our burdens to Jesus Christ, a weight lifts, and we receive supernatural renewal. It provides the strength needed to face another day.
It is easy to doubt God’s presence when you are in the middle of a crisis. Those are the times we all feel alone. But it is important to remember that Jesus Christ is always near. He is your refuge and strength. He is waiting to hold you up when your knees are weak, and you are weary.
We all have moments when our faith wavers because of the enormity of the problems we face. When I am overridden by symptoms, God seems very far away. But when I stand firm in my faith, I find power and the ability to use even the worst parts of my life to glorify God.
Wherever you go, God precedes you (See Joshua 1:9 NLT). He sent His son Jesus Christ to save you, and He sent the Holy Spirit to comfort you on the journey through the life’s endless difficulties.
What are your go-to scripture verses when your life is out of control, and you feel overwhelmed? Has focusing on God’s promises provided you with the tools to better navigate life’s difficulties?
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