Bipolar is my weakness. Shh!!! Don’t tell anyone. Actually, go ahead and tell them. I am tired of pretending.
I can’t compete with the glamorized version of my life I present to the world on social media. The one where I am always smiling. The one where I crop my profile pictures and light them within an inch of my life, so no one can see the wrinkles or the extra pounds I carry.
The social media world we live in has conditioned us to present an idealized version of ourselves to the world. It encourages us to downplay our weaknesses or pretend that we don’t have any.
How’s that working for you? Does the version of yourself you share with the world have any basis in reality?
When we present a polished version of ourselves to the world, we miss out on an important opportunity. We miss the chance to be our authentic selves.
Our relationships are shallow and superficial. We never dig deep because we don’t want anyone to see the truth we are trying to hide.
Hiding That Bipolar Is Your Weakness
When you live with bipolar disorder, there is an added dimension to hiding out. It becomes second nature to downplay the limitations that go hand in hand with your diagnosis.
The dark days of depression when you can barely get out of bed. The euphoric highs of mania that lead to the unreality of psychosis.
You are afraid that if you unveil the reality that bipolar is your weakness, people will look at you differently. They won’t just look at you as someone who is flawed, like everyone else. You are afraid they will think you are weak.
I get it. I’ve seen the looks of pity on people’s faces. The unreturned calls, texts, and emails. It hurts.
Having a Weakness Doesn’t Make You Weak
Bipolar may be your weakness, but it doesn’t mean you’re weak. It means you have a highly treatable mental illness, not unlike someone who has a different type of medical condition. Would you call someone with diabetes weak?
I love what The Message paraphrase says about strengths and weaknesses in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. Let’s unpack this scripture and receive God’s truth about how His strength is revealed through your weaknesses. It just might change the way you look at yourself.
Here are three reasons bipolar disorder may be your weakness but it doesn’t mean you’re weak.
1. Weaknesses are God’s reminders to stay humble and pray unceasingly.
“… so I wouldn’t be given a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty” (2 Corinthians 12:7 MSG).
Admit it. You have a big head. We all do. We all have that one area that makes us feel superior.
Maybe you are super smart. Maybe you are the fastest runner on the track team. Maybe you’re at the top of your game in your career.
God does not want you thinking so highly of yourself that you fail to see your need for Him. Your sinful nature says you can do it on your own. It tells you that perfunctory prayers are sufficient.
God gives you human frailties, like bipolar disorder, to remind you He is God, and you are not. Your weaknesses give you the impetus to draw near to God and seek Him wholeheartedly.
2. God’s strength is best shown in your weakness.
“… then he told me, ‘My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness’” (2 Corinthians 12:9a MSG).
When you are so full of yourself—doing it all in your own strength—there is no room for God to be magnified.
You may do what you think is important, but it has no eternal significance because you are doing it with your own strength.
Mania may tell you are the king or queen of the world, but psychosis and depression are haughtiness busters. Have you ever tried being prideful while hearing voices and seeing things that aren’t there? Nope. Not possible.
It is in those weak moments that you ask God, “Why?” It is in those moments that God says, “Because…”
Where you see unfulfilled potential, God sees strength. Because all your best laid plans are meaningless if they don’t edify God.
3. Embrace bipolar disorder as your weakness because it serves an eternal purpose.
“So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in the insults, hardships, persecutions and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9b-10 MSG).
Walk in the bathroom and look in the mirror. Really look at yourself, not just superficially.
See yourself. The real you, without filters. Be vulnerable. No one is watching.
Repeat after me: “Bipolar is my weakness.”
Say it again like you mean it: “Bipolar is my weakness.”
Now exhale. The hardest part is over. When you admit your weakness, it is the first step in the journey to acceptance.
It is the first step in realizing that having a weakness does not mean you’re weak.
In fact, as God has shown us today in His word, His power is shown best in your weakness, whether that weakness is bipolar disorder, diabetes, or something else entirely.
Embrace that weakness, but don’t let it limit or define you. You have eternal work to do. Get to it.
Accepting Bipolar is Your Weakness—The Takeaway
Because of your humanity, you may never fully embrace the purpose of bipolar disorder in your life. You may always wonder what may have been if you had never been diagnosed.
Dig deep and look beyond your temporal mind. Think about how you can plant an eternal seed for those who come behind you.
Do your part to spread awareness, so the next person who has bipolar disorder doesn’t have to contend with the shame and stigma that is pervasive even today in 2021.
Show the world that yes, a bipolar diagnosis may come with limitations and considerations most people don’t understand, but with the proper treatment, the abundant life talked about in John 10:10 is possible.
There is work to be done that only those of us with a bipolar mind can do. Work around the limitations bipolar disorder brings into your life and give to the world what only you can give.
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