Thursday, October 7, 2010

dr jekyl and mrs hyde....

There have always been several factors that affect my personality, and where I am in my faith is one of them....but I don't think that it's the ONLY factor that influences it.

I can look back to health issues, major or insignificant, and see how it's affected the way I've acted - but even then, in the midst of a major health trial - if my faith was strong - I could muster up a smile. I'm not facing a life or death situation now, but because of past issues I now have a clear cut "faith based strategy" that I live by daily. Those tough circumstances made me put together a plan, and although many people think it's macabre to think that way - it brings me peace to know I have it figured out - for me. Faith brought me to that place of peace.

I can laugh at the comments that people tell me (fairly often recently) about how busy I am, yet I know that it's my faith that motivates my lazy bones to stay occupied and work towards kingdom goals (yes, even in writing!) and asking Him to give me boundaries and put things in my life to hold me accountable. It's my faith that makes me seek Him and live a life that's motivated to accomplish things - KNOWING that it's not my works that save me...it's His love, grace and mercy....His blood that saves me.

There have been seasons of darkness, crying out in the wilderness, questioning why He would let me hurt so bad...emotional darkness, physical pain, broken heart...yet in my heart of hearts I knew that He was there with me, walking beside me, carrying me. I know now that He had to bring me through those seasons in life to make me more like Him, to give me compassion today for those that are hurting; yes, even more than compassion - empathy. Many times I will meet someone hurting and remember "there but for the grace of God, go I." All of this is a spiritually grown mental attitude that affects my personality, and although I may travel a road of depression, deep sadness, or even solitude - I can rest in the knowledge that He is teaching me something there - there is a reason for this life lesson - and in that, there is peace.

I can see times of jealousy and selfishness, wanting to make the "ME Monster" the god on the throne of my heart (or as visiting pastor Kyle Idleman said last Sunday - "the love seat on my heart" wanting that space to occupy more than just God alone!) and I know that affects my personality. Being called out of that season recently I can see how He had to change me to put my heart and head back in line with His heart and head, and again His peace flows again in my life, and joy abounds. It took a little spiritual maturity to put it into perspective, and to be willing to pray that prayer of "change him, change the circumstances, or change me," but that last phrase works EVERY time!!

Where His peace is, depression turns from life threatening to resting in His arms until the clouds clear; pain that keeps me unfocused and unable to pray is replaced with faith- KNOWING that He is leading others to pray for me by the power of His Holy Spirit; uncertainty in what tomorrow holds is replaced with a sense of adventure, knowing that we are on a life path together; and if fear creeps in, trying to dislodge my peace I know that I have great spiritual armor to do battle with, if I just muster up enough strength to pick up my sword - His word. (Ephesians 6:17 "Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." Hebrews 4:12 "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." 

All this being said, when we talk about faith and personality, does this mean that a Christian can not have a personality disorder, or suffer from mental illness? I think that we can, as Christians, be made to walk that road too. I have seen many believing people called to that road of suffering, and have been on it myself. It grew me, in faith, as a person of God, as a servant. Were there other ways that He could have used life circumstances to change me, to rid me of the gods on that love seat in that season of life - perhaps - but I won't question His methods. And just as one who is in recovery for any addiction, or a survivor of a life-threatening disease, it's a journey that I'll stay on the rest of my life, a part of my own HIStory. I don't ever want to forget that He brought me though it - from the depths of despair to a place of joy - and it's in that joy that I want to reside.