share in my pain.

“I know you’re giving me a way out, but I don’t want to take it.” 

After an hour of silence preceded by a very long, very tearful conversation, those words felt like a soothing balm on my bleeding heart.  I had feared that he would eventually grow tired of helping to carry my darkness, so I tried to push him away before it became too much for him…before I became too much for him.  But instead of taking the easy way out, he had taken a long, hard look at the brokenness that was my life and had decided I was worth fighting for. 

What we all wouldn’t give to know – to truly know – we are inherently worthy of love!

We live in a culture that values the individual for what they can offer the whole.  For those of us who battle mental illness, it’s not uncommon to feel as though we are a burden to our loved ones. Rather than focusing on the light we bring to the lives of others, we focus instead on the darkness.  The emotional stress, the financial strain, the constant need for reassurance…how can anyone see value in a person so dependent on others for survival?  Instead of allowing others the privilege of living out a life of sacrificial love, we do everything in our power to push them away.  Deep down, we fear that eventually our burdens will become too great, and our loved ones will be forced to walk away to preserve their own sanity.  For some reason, we believe it will hurt less if we force them out of our lives before they make the choice themselves.  

But what if, given the choice, they would resolve to stay?  

Strength is for service, not status.  Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, ‘How can I help?’  That’s exactly what Jesus did.  He didn’t make it easy for himself by avoiding people’s troubles, but waded right in and helped out. ‘I took on the troubles of the troubled,’ is the way Scripture puts it.  Even if it was written in Scripture long ago, you can be sure it’s written for us.
— from Romans 15 (MSG)

Every day, each of us has an opportunity to allow our strength to be of service to someone else.  It's an opportunity for us to grow in selflessness.  It's an exercise in humility and a chance to be blessed through serving another.  What we see as our greatest weakness is really a vessel through which others grow to become more like Christ.   Mental illness is a heavy burden to bear...not only for the person afflicted...but for his or her loved ones, as well.  But it’s not our choice to make...whether or not they will help to bear our burdens.  It's theirs.