beautiful broken brain.
For the past few weeks I’ve been reading #100DaysToBrave by Annie F. Downs. Today I read the devotion for Day 11 (along with Romans 12). Annie writes about what it looks like to be brave with our minds. It was hard for me not to laugh at first. For as long as I can remember, my mind has been both a blessing and a curse. There’s a glitch in the way it functions – the doctors call it Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I call it annoying.
It helps to imagine obsessive-compulsive behavior on a continuum. Experiences like turning back once to make sure you shut off the iron would fall on the “normal” end of the spectrum. On the far end of the spectrum would be people whose obsessions and compulsions take up a significant amount of time or have a decidedly negative effect on their quality of life – people like me. OCD manifests in different ways for different people. I tend to have a lot of mental rituals and compulsions that I must complete in order to ease feelings of anxiety. Occasionally these rituals morph and change, but some of them have been a part of my life for years. In times of stress the rituals can become all-consuming, making it difficult for me to do “normal” things like read a book or have a meaningful conversation with a friend. Lately the OCD has been more towards the neurotypical side of the spectrum. Most days it looks like me randomly waking up with the jingle “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down!” running through my head on repeat. (This happened, by the way. On Christmas Eve. ALL. DAY. LONG.)
All that to say, sometimes my brain feels broken and it’s hard to imagine what good can come out of it. But Annie made some good points in her book – she brought up Romans 12:2, where Paul reminds us not to get caught up in the ways of the world but to allow God to transform our minds so that we may discern His will. She explained it so well – by protecting our mind and allowing God to renew it, we make room for His thoughts and ideas. By acting on those thoughts and ideas (she calls them “sparks”) God changes the world through us! I think that’s pretty incredible, how God uses even “broken” brains for His glory.
The world tells us that brains like mine need to be “fixed.” I fully support the appropriate use of psychotropic medications (Prozac, anyone?!) and the utilization of other mental health services like psychotherapy, but I think sometimes we humans forget that great beauty comes from great brokenness. In spite of its many glitches, my brain can still come up with creative ideas. It can still think critically. I can still turn plans into action. (Of course, it works a lot better when it’s God’s plan and not my own!) So maybe my brain isn’t such a curse after all?