I don’t often write about my faith. It would be good if I did, but I have no Biblical wisdom in which to impart. Honestly, I can’t quote a single verse, except maybe “Jesus wept.” I don’t even know where that verse is located, except that it is in the New Testament. I would really benefit from an encyclopedia of the Bible. They make those for people like me, right?
As I was finishing up my 2 miles this morning (go me!) I had a conversation with God, or rather He imparted some wisdom onto me. The words that kept coming through were “Your body to My service. Your mind to My service.” Hmm. I need to think on that one.
Your body to My service. What does that mean? I know what it doesn’t mean. For me, as with many others with bipolar disorder, not respecting my body has become a large part of my dysfunction. I am lazy. There. I said it. I don’t push myself. I blame it on all sorts of things. My previously broken left foot takes a lot of the blame. So does my right knee that locks up on me after a six years’ old injury. I am exhausted after working a 40 hour week, then starting my real job as mommy to two rambunctious boys. Between that and the meds, that while critical to my mental and emotional survival, slow my metabolism and increase my appetite, I have lost the outer beauty of my youth. My self-esteem has taken a nosedive as a result.
If I am to give my body to the service of God, how do I go about this endeavor? Exercise. Blah. I’ve never liked exercise. You will not see my face in the gym, smiling and glistening. I don’t glisten. I sweat like a dirty hog in 100° heat with no mud to soak in. If you see me running, look for the clown with a bloody knife running after me. Walking seems to work for now. Being left alone with my mind is not always a good thing. But when God is there with me, it seems as though I can work through my disordered way of thinking. I can let go of my past mental traumas, guilt and regrets of my own behavior. Guilt is a big issue for me. An aspect of my particular brand of bipolar (those of us with the disorder all have our own brand of it) is that I feel inherently guilty. I take on guilt that doesn’t belong to me. I feel an insane need to apologize for everything I’ve ever done wrong in my 41 years of life. I take ownership of actions that aren’t even my actions! Somehow, my walks are helping me work through that aspect of my psyche. Maybe I can let go of it.
Eating right is another way of preparing my body for His service. This has been tough as well, because I genuinely love food. All kinds of food. I have a longstanding, one-sided love affair with food. I’d rather eat tortilla chips with salsa than rice cakes, which I suspect are made at the Styrofoam factory because rice does NOT taste like that. Mix my love of food with low metabolism and an increased appetite and BOOM, you get fat Catherine. Ugh. I hate fat Catherine.
Getting my mind ready for His service might be the toughest of all. I have a tendency to hold onto my disordered way of thinking. It’s all I’ve known for the majority of my life. I don’t think I suddenly developed bipolar disorder. Looking back, it was there, hanging out with anxiety in my brain. My emotions, good and bad, conspire together in my mind to make me miserable. No, that’s not passing blame on my part. After all, we are talking about my brain here. There are a slew of emotions hiding in plain sight, and many in the recesses of my brain. Happiness, joy, love, sadness, anger, hate, and rage are at the forefront. If I am in a good state, these are in check. If I’m not, they all fight over the wheel at one time, spinning out and driving me over the edge.
I have a tendency to give this stuff to God, only to yank it back because I think I can handle it better. That’s such a bad idea. I can throw meds at it, which I should do, but not getting to the crux of the problem doesn’t give the meds much to work with. The crux of the problem is me. My bitterness over the cards I’ve been handed and the time I gave to a marriage that truly wasn’t worth saving. My walls, built so high to keep others out that they block out the sun, and the Son. My need for control, even though I’m really not in control, but need to think that I am in order to quell some of my anxiety. My need to push down unpleasant emotions because if I allow myself to feel, I might start crying and never stop. Ugh! I’ve got to let this stuff go! I’ve been trying to figure out how to go about doing just that. It turns out that I don’t have to try at all. If I give it to God, he’ll ease my bitterness, break down my walls, take the wheel. That I think I can do. Now I just have to let Him take my heart and me be willing to let my tears flow so He can dig into the recesses of my mind to use me for His service. The tears are starting to flow. You’ve got this, God.