January 29, 2013 by Kara Nichols
Lately I’ve really lost my drive to write a book about my experiences with mental illness. Part of my story was published in the book Fire Stories last month. Looking back I wish I could re-write some if it. Spiritual warfare was a major subject that I neglected to share in Fire Stories.
Well, I’ve been hemming and hawing about whether or not to pursue the telling of my dipping into madness throughout the years. I haven’t had any peace about it either way until I was just flipping pages in the Bible and landed randomly (or perfectly) on this verse in Isaiah 43 (the Message version):
Forget about what’s happened;
don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
What??? That’s rad! Truth be told I am so sick of going over my old history and what’s happened to me. Some days I ruminate or write about the dark places and it’s a real drag. Plus I totally do want to be alert and present because I see God doing new things in my heart. Beautiful things. But I’ve been caught up in my tragedy that I give up on the new and return to the old.
I mean if you can’t trust your own MIND who or what can you trust? Mental illness makes an enemy of everything familiar and I believe Satan likes to step into that time of confusion and make things worse for people. He is a roaring lion, seeking out weak prey. And I know he had me by the throat more than once.
Sometimes it’s just plain hard to let go of the past. There are certain injuries to our spirits that never seem to fully heal. But our God is the great healer. And today it’s like He ripped off a band-aid to show a healed elbow and I get to go back outside to play without being worried about my getting bumped or hurt again. My wound has healed. I don’t have to write a book about my mental illness. I know that Satan and his charges will be trying to convince me otherwise. They want me to be servant to my past – how subhuman I felt because I was mentally ill. Satan would love for me to feel obligated to write about it because that would mean hours and hours of painstakingly being reminded of the hell that in some ways I barely survived. Enough! I’ve had my fill.
The truth is that by God’s grace I was saved, He saved me because He loves me and I am under no obligation to write a book. My own pride and Satan stoked the fire beneath that idea. Ephesians 1 says that “Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his LOVE, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ.”
It’s amazing that someone with my mental illness and spotty history can be made whole and holy, isn’t it? That is a miracle that I don’t full understand. But what I do grasp today is that I can stop looking back at the ugliness and confusion, stop thinking about my future and instead I can look forward to beauty and peace of mind that is provided by my God. The Bible says God sent Jesus to set captives free. And He’s set me free from a burden that I honestly didn’t realize how big it was until this afternoon.