On Thursday evening I was watching American Idol when what I heard surprised me.
The singer/songwriter, Sia, who was helping Dalton, one of the contestants, asked a question she already knew the answer to, “You’re bipolar?”
Then she said, “So am I.”
That moment touched me so much.
Here were two people being honest about the adversity in their lives. Sia was communicating to this young man, “You are not alone. I know what you’re going through.” Their being honest helped thousands perhaps even millions of viewers who shared their struggle with mental illness.
Today as I was thinking about what happened on TV Thursday evening, I was reminded that’s one reason I write personal experience articles and blogs, being more transparent than I ever thought I could be—so others won’t feel so alone in their pain and suffering.
Over the years God has urged me to be honest about my struggles, my sins, my searching for answers. But it started with reading from fellow Christians who shared their traumas—people like Corrie ten Boom and Joni Eareckson Tada and so many others.
When I first started reading such books, I wondered why I felt so lifted up by hearing of the hardships of others. The answer is this: I no longer felt alone.
Years ago my husband and I were dealing with a serious, possibly relationship-destroying problem in our marriage. At the time it was one of those issues few people talked about. Then one day I turned on the radio and a woman described that she was going through the same thing I was. I wanted to find out who she was and go and hug her. She knew how I felt when I couldn’t get my husband to understand. I wasn’t alone.
Often when I’m going through yet another hardship in my life, I can whisper to myself, “I feel so alone.” Then I’m reminded that I’m not. “Resist him, (the devil) standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” 1 Peter 5:9 NIV
Some days when I’m suffering, I can feel that God is not near. But the truth is that when I’m going through a really hard time, He longs to be closer than ever. Yet I sometimes choose to back away from Him. I forget that He understands my afflictions. He has been through torments of His own.
The other day I read this verse about Jesus being depressed before facing the cross: “He began to show grief and distress of mind and was deeply depressed.” Matthew 26:37 AMPC
Too many time I’ve believed the lie that says I’m alone when I sin. I am not. Even though Jesus didn’t sin, He sympathizes with my weaknesses.
“For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning.” Hebrews 4:15
Jesus understands me and my weaknesses better than anyone ever could. And He does not abandon me when I fall. He wants to help me up and show me how to get back on the right track. My problem is that I slip into self-sufficiency thinking I’m the one who’s going to do that.
Today I’m thanking God for all the people He has brought into my life who suffer in similar ways and for His being there for me in the midst of my suffering even when my distress is brought on by my own sin.
There is a line from my first song selection today that came to mind before I could think of who wrote or sang the song. It is:
“Just remember that you’re not alone in your shame and your suffering.”
Today in the midst of feeling alone in your suffering, won’t you cry out to Jesus? He will encourage you in ways that are beyond what you can imagine. And He’ll send “someone with skin on” who knows how you feel and can encourage you as well. Don’t resist these cures for your feeling alone.
Celebrate along with me today that we are never alone in our pain.
“Cry Out To Jesus” by Third Day
Here’s another song that I found last week shortly after I posted my blog. It goes well with today or last week’s blog.
“I Am Not Alone” by Kari Jobe
In case you want to hear about Dalton’s struggle with bipolar, check out the following link. Please pray for him and other young people who battle mental illness.