I think a lot about the parable of the man walking on the beach with God, looking back to see only one set of footprints, and God explains those were the times that God carried the man. And the truth is we all need that help, we all need to be carried from time to time. And while we always think of God as the God above, for me, it is about the God within. My inner God, as well as my inner demons.
I say this because I believe that God is not only all around us, he is also within us. Moving through the Holy Spirit to guide our paths and to soften our hearts when our pride risks getting the better of us.
And in the darkness, when the demons of mental illness are at their absolute worst, it is this inner God who faces off against our inner demons. There are times when this darkness knocks us down, when it makes it seem like it is impossible to get back up again, to get out of bed, to take a shower, etc. And sometimes, our inner God is content to let the demons tire themselves out. He is patient, knowing that He can get us out of bed tomorrow if today is just too tough. And other times, He gives us strength we didn’t know we had. He gives us the strength to just stand up, which can be a big deal when you are in the middle of the darkness.
At least this is how I feel God close to me when I am struggling. And it is reassuring to know that He is so close. It is reassuring to know that it isn’t just me against my inner demons, my inner God is there too. And I believe that this is true of all us I think. We all have our own inner demons, whatever they might be. And we also all have our own inner Gods and lesser angels pushing back against the darkness, giving us the strength to carry on when we need it and carrying us when we can’t carry ourselves. For me, you are not alone is not just a message of solidarity with others who are in the darkness, it is a reminder that my faith in God saves me.
And again, this doesn’t have to be how you find your strength. Even if you are Christian, this doesn’t have to describe you. Different people experience faith differently, just as they experience mental illness differently. So if this doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, that is fine. Yet it is part of how I manage my anxiety and it is inauthentic for me to talk about my recovery without talking about my faith, which is part of the reason for this series.
In other words, you do you, that is all that, I believe, that any god ever wants.
Happy Sunday everyone, be well.