Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2014 Nancy Virden
Most of us have probably had that moment when suddenly our surroundings shift and we no longer have a sense of safety or control over what happens next. I’ve seen videos of people pulling tablecloths out from under place servings and food without losing or misplacing any items. If only that could be our result when life is in upheaval!
Hurricanes by any name are scary. Sinkholes can be more frightening due to lack of warning. Random shootings? We scramble to find a reason, a “key” so we can foresee who, when, where these things will happen. Measurable and understood problems can be managed.
I’ve balked at the idea that I have no say over circumstances. “Life happens” is an uneasy concept. If you had asked me before three years ago if I believed I needed to be in charge, I would have said no. Then I would have worried about everything while continuing to deny the fear even to myself.
Denial is a strong reason some of us do not see how very powerless we actually are. Attempting suicide in January 2011 was a wake-up call in numerous ways. However, it was but a slight push in the direction of admitting I am powerless and that my life had become unmanageable.
Saint Paul admitted he was powerless, something I am learning to do. His willpower and self-control were not enough. Neither was his strength of character. He simply could not manage his life through faith and good intentions alone.
Paul recognized God as the one with power. He turned his desire for control over to Christ. His decisions, reactions, feelings, and thoughts began to transform. This is happening for me as well. The more I can accept my powerlessness, the better. This is not helpless victimization. I do have a choice, and that is to allow God’s power to be the solution or to keep on truckin’ the way I always have.
Surrender to God through Jesus Christ became Paul’s message to the world and his daily practice. He gave up, and his life began.
NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.