by Corey & Amaris Bullock – Ahwatukee Campus Pastor
Some of you might recall a blog post that I wrote last September. For reference you can check it out here http://blog.centralaz.com/the-rise-of-mental-illness. It received the most traffic of any of the posts I have made and my hunch is that it hit a nerve with people. I remained vague in my description of the mental illness in my family, but the more we seem to disclose, the wider the door for ministry opens. With that being said, I wanted to share with you something my wife wrote that I hope inspires you in whatever difficulties you are facing today.
God has been teaching me a lot about victory in Him recently. You see, even though I have suffered from depression off and on since high school, it wasn’t until 2 1/2 years ago that I received the diagnosis of Bipolar Type II…an illness that has so often left me defeated, discouraged and with mood swings. Call it my thorn in the flesh if you will. Combine that with feelings of being unworthy, I often feel like the fool the psalmists refer to.
It wasn’t until recently that I actually realized I really am Strong in God – that I can have victory in the midst of this illness. I have always persevered, but never have I had more victory until now.
As I continue to learn this, I view the Holy Spirit like a muscle in training. The more I continue to lean into Him as my Comforter, Truth, and Strength the easier it gets over time. I meditate on God and release my feelings to Him on my War Wall. Like a soldier seeking insight, I ask – What is the root fear causing these feelings? Am I focusing on the enemies lies? What do you want me to know about this situation? Am I at peace with God…if not, why? What is my core identity – is it that I am God’s or that I am bipolar?!
Let me give you an example of what this looks like in a small way. A trigger for me is when my house gets too messy. I start to feel overwhelmed and get anxious about not being in control. Instead of this pushing me to be motivated, it often does the opposite in which I become negative and sometimes start blaming my husband. After spewing negativity and frustration towards my husband last night, I finally turned to the Holy Spirit at my War Wall. Feeling frustrated, defeated, and not wanting to pray, I asked what He wanted me to know about it.
Well, for one, I can be stable in Christ amidst the chaos around me because He is steady. Second, He reminded me that I am serving God, not man, by even simply taking care of my home. Both of these things enabled me to focus on His truth. I was able to go to sleep in peace without letting bitterness and unforgiveness overtake me. I gained a victory and was able to operate in His strength the next day. It is a victory every time I choose to gain ground by letting the Spirit grow me instead of letting my flesh hold me captive.
On some days, choosing to fight is a daily battle for me, minute by minute, hour by hour. Fighting doesn’t make my illness go away, but in Christ’s strength it doesn’t have to defeat me. Especially in my weakness, I am victorious!
I have learned that 1 in 4 people globally struggle with a mental illness during their lifetime. Most of these people are lacking hope that they can overcome their disease. Even with professional help and medical treatment the weight of the battle can seem overwhelming. While God may not choose to remove it from them, He does provide a promise to those who would take Him up on it – “despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us.” Romans 8:37 (NLT) Your struggle may not be a mental illness, but whatever you find beating you down today – just remember that victory is yours in Christ!