When we struggle with depression or bipolar or other mood disorder and illness, sometimes we feel very useless and wonder if we can live a life that is normal and meaningful again. But actually, we are all made differently and very uniquely. God has made each one of us for a particular purpose. And no one can take our place in this world. It is comforting to remember afresh that our existence here is not by chance or accident. We are made by God to serve Him here with the unique gifts and talents He has given us.
Thank God for giving me small opportunities to serve Him through this blog which is not only therapeutic to me as I journal my thoughts and feelings, but give me great joy to share God's goodness and mercies with others.
Recently, my blogging friend, Marja shared about how we are in some sense of the word "indispensable" as persons of value and worth to the people whose lives we touch and we are of great importance to God. No one can replace us because each of us is unique in who we are and in what we have to offer. Marja is joyfully serving the Lord through her blog and a ministry called "Living Room", a place of mutual encouragement and sharings for people with mood disorders.
Susan also wrote in "The search of meaning" that she felt her suffering from bipolar depression and surviving more than 120 depressive episodes is her unique mission. Despite how "lost" she sometimes feel during a depressive episode, the truth is that she knows a lot about coping with depression and she has learned a lot about wellness. Susan shares many useful findings and experiences on her blog "Bipolar Wellness Writer".
What an encouragement to remember that we are all unique and we have many opportunities daily to make a difference in someone's life. Our sufferings, trials and infirmities have taught us many precious lessons. God uses these to mould us and make us the person we are today, so that we can in turn help others through sharing our experiences with them. We become more compassionate and caring people, and better able to support and encourage others who are suffering. That in itself is a unique calling and mission. It opens a wonderful door of usefulness for us despite our own conditions.
There are alot of people who are going through much struggles and pain with depression, bipolar and other illnesses, who are plunged into confusion and despair daily. We may never know how our experiences of surviving our own difficult struggles over the years can bring some hope to such despairing soul. We can comfort them with the same comfort which God has comforted them. We can also encourage them and share with them the various resources we have found to be useful and helpful in our restoration and maintenance. We can share with them the many precious lessons we have learnt over the years. And sometimes we need not say much but just be there with them and let them know someone cares, or pray with and for them. And if we can help just 1 person, our sufferings will not have been in vain.
Pastor David P Murray who made a series of very encouraging videos on "Depression and the Christians" noted that even mental illness is a talent that should be invested for God and it is usually broken people that God uses the most. He said :
Like all affliction in the lives of Christians, mental illness should be viewed as a “talent” (Matt.25:14ff) which can be invested in such a way that it brings benefit to us and others, as well as glory to God.
Dr James Dobson, the Christian psychologist, observed that “nothing is wasted in God’s economy.” That “nothing” includes mental illness.
Mind over Mood, while not written from a Christian perspective, illustrates the possible “benefits” of depression thus:
“An oyster creates a pearl out of a grain of sand. The grain of sand is an irritant to the oyster. In response to the discomfort, the oyster creates a smooth, protective coating that encases the sand and provides relief. The result is a beautiful pearl. For an oyster, an irritant becomes the seed for something new. Similarly, Mind Over Mood will help you develop something valuable from your current discomfort. The skills taught in this book will help you feel better and will continue to have value in your life long after your original problems are gone.”
It is usually broken people that God uses most. In Passion and Purity, Elisabeth Elliot quoted Ruth Stull of Peru:
“If my life is broken when given to Jesus it is because pieces will feed a multitude, while a loaf will satisfy only a little lad.”