Some people are going to read this post… and watch the video that I’ve attached and think that I’m in crisis.
I’m in a good place, but when you have Bipolar Disorder, even a good place can cause emotions to bottle up and need an outlet.
I played this clip because I needed to cry.
I wasn’t crying. I just knew that I needed to.
There are times when my emotions become so BIG that I need to hit the safety valve that allows me to release the emotions in a way where I don’t get caught up in them and swept away. That’s what having Bipolar used to be like for me…. feeling like my entire world an I was going to get swept away by emotions that I couldn’t control…or sucked into something akin to a black hole. I was an emotional black hole. One minute I am there… and then my world tilts on its axis and I’ve gone into that black hole taking not only myself, but anything and anyone near me. I used to lose a lot of friends back in the day because being sucked into an emotional black hole is never fun for anybody. I was broken and I needed to be unbreakable.
This song talks about being “unbreakable” and how life didn’t follow the plan… how things “should have worked themselves out by now.” I could have written that song. I used to have this grand plan for my life that got derailed when the Bipolar manifested. The world says that there are things we’re “supposed to do” at different stages of our lives that I missed out on doing because I was so mental. I was too mental to appreciate being in my sorority or my solo backpacking trip through Europe. I was too mental to fully embrace my time as a missionary. I was too mental to have really real and healthy relationships.
When I reached my 30s, I looked back at my 20s and ticked off all the things on my mental To Do list that I hadn’t done. I felt like a loser. When I turned 40, I looked back at my 30s and the “Failed” To Do list was even longer. I didn’t have the handsome husband named Todd or Scott. I didn’t have the 1.5 children, the house, or the dog. I’d convinced myself that I didn’t want all of that… that I would sail the world on the Mercy Ships as a missionary for Jesus. But at 30, I didn’t have that either. Instead, I’ve had “roadblocks, detours, and landmines.” I have felt like a loser most of my life. I felt like I failed at being a Christian.
Instead of immediate deliverance from all of my trials, God had told me to “consider it pure joy… whenever I faced trials of many kinds because the testing of [my] faith develops perseverance.” And that “perseverance must finish its work so that [I might] be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Well, I’m pushing 50 and for the first time in my life I am not feeling breakable. I have been broken…
and the breaking hurt.
The healing wasn’t all that cherry either.
But I am healed because I AM healed me.
I am coming into my own; becoming the woman that God designed me to be; using the gifts and abilities that he gave me…to do the work that he prepared in advance for me to do. It’s amazing and I’m amazed at all that God is doing in me and through me. Some of it has been hard. “Mature pruning” they call it. That’s when a perfectly healthy plant needs to be pruned back in order to bear more fruit. Pruning sucks, but it’s necessary. Jesus is telling me to use my words and in doing so, he has pruned some relationships out of my life. I’ve blogged a bit about work and how God is giving me a boldness there to speak the truth in love. I was afraid, but I stepped out anyway and the fruit has been incredible. I thought God was pruning me out of a job, but instead the fruit has been swift and unbelievable. The spiritual warfare has also been swift and unbelievable. If I hadn’t been prepared for it, it would have overwhelmed me. It would have broken me.
There have also been challenges in my personal life that would have left me in a heap of trembling nerves and broken pieces in the past. These challenges came in out of left field. I didn’t see the detours or the landmines, but God did. And Jesus has told me use my words. He is pruning some relationships out of my life and while it is painful, the resulting fruit is going to be mind blowing. I have been writing letter this past week. Letters that “say what I need to say…” things that should have been said long ago, but weren’t. Fear had kept me silent, but Jesus is telling me to be bold. The timid little creature that I used to be is learning to own her identify and her voice.
My life is SO exciting right now because God is in control of the space craft. I’m no longer insisting on doing His plans MY way. I’m not asking him to rubber stamp my ideas, even if it means dying to some of my dreams. As I near the end of my 40s, it would be really easy to look back over the past decade and see my life for the train wreck that it was, but that would be to ignore how God has woven in all of those details to make me me. And the me that I am now is making up for lost time. And to do that, I had to die to a dream. I thought it was what I wanted… but it was a dream birthed in fear; out of a need to escape and be somewhere else. Anywhere but here living a life other than my own. Dying to a dream is also hard. It created more emotion that needed an outlet.
Yeah, I watched that clip a few times and allowed myself to cry. All that letter writing has caused me to hold my breath and clinch my muscles as I wait for the fall out of speaking up boldly. I realized that I’ve been expecting the worst because past experiences taught me to do so… but God is not bound by my past experiences and neither am I. I’m not crying now and I feel better, though I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t a little bit afraid.
Thing is… I’m no longer a slave to fear. Some fear is normal and healthy. I need that kind of fear. That kind of fear kept Bipolar Girl alive during her more reckless manic phases. The fear that I’ve been walking through this past week was thick enough to choke a horse… but it wasn’t enough to stop me from saying what needed to be said. In love. And that’s why I cried tonight. I had to speak the truth in love and it was hard. I wasn’t crying because I was breaking. Yet, to look at me, you wouldn’t have been able to tell, since I was bawling like a baby. But it was a controlled cry, much like the controlled burns firefighters do. I watched the clip three times in succession and cried throughout. And now I’m good. God is good. I still have a few more letters to write, but since God gifted me as a writer, there will ALWAYS be letters to write. I need to accept that and move on.
Personally, I like the warm fuzzy little encouraging note cards that he prompts me to write. I bought a huge box of them from Target. They are bright and cheerful colors and fun to write. THOSE are WAY more fun to write. My letters have the potential to piss people off. Nobody likes to be rebuked or admonished and I’ve had to do that in letters at work and in my personal life causing tonight’s emotional overload. If I hadn’t found a safe way to release the tension I might have ended up breaking, but I know this about me now, thus the need for a “controlled cry.” I can only cry for as long as I listen to the song. Once I’m done, the crying needs to stop.
Once the controlled cry was over, I felt like writing about it because somewhere, out there, somebody else feels like they are breaking; that they are an emotional black hole waiting to suck people in. While the controlled cry is a good tool… it doesn’t have the power to save you or fix your life. Take heart. Turn to Jesus. Tell him all your hurts and your pains. Tell him all about what happened to make you so breakable. He might not make all your problems magically disappear. Things might even get worse. And I can’t guarantee that well meaning Christians won’t say stupid stuff to you in an attempt to “comfort”… but I can tell you that God will be with you every step of the way. He sees you and he knows exactly where you are. You are not alone. He will not allow you to be broken beyond what you can bear. All you have to do is keep your eyes on Him and surrender your life to His plan. Your life will never be the same. It took me a few decades to get the point, but now that I have, I wish somebody had told me this back in my 20s. But like I said… now that I’m pushing 50, I’m going to start making up for lost time because following His plan for my life is WAY more fun…