Fresh Thought Friday

Fresh Thought Friday: Joy and Peace and Bipolar Medicine

Dear Katie,

Do you ever struggle with feeling joy and peace? I have. I think some of it may be the medication I’m on but I believe some could be the bipolar illness. I was just wondering how others experience numbing of emotions, etc.

-Peace Seeker

 

 

Dear Peace Seeker,

Many of the symptoms of bipolar seem to jeopardize our faith in their manifestations. Paranoia left me feeling guilty and fearful; mania left me high and mighty; depression left me doubtful and blank. Where was God’s peace or joy through these flurries of emotional unrest? The symptoms were intense (and honestly, I was tempted to even doubt my salvation at points and let the devil get the better of me) and my joy and peace were seemingly stolen in those moments. I let my feelings dictate my state of peace, instead of believing the person and words of Jesus who promises us inner peace.

Come to think of it, joy seems like such an elusive and unreachable virtue most of the time. Honestly, happiness is such a fair weather condition. Joy instead, must be an undercurrent in alignment with God’s will. When I am in His perfect will, obeying Him, fully surrendered to His Lordship, and putting my mind on Him, that’s a prime time to experience the fullness of joy and peace. Also, when I ask my heavenly Father for things, He grants me joy because I ask for it. I know Jesus also says in John 16:24, “ Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” (emphasis mine)

So I have to ask, have you asked for joy in Jesus’ name? Have you asked for your heart’s desires of Jesus? Are you wanting healing? Are you wanting Jesus’ presence? Is it a good gift from your heavenly Father you are asking for? Watch Him answer your prayers in His time, in His way. And then, watch your joy be made full.

Also, as far as medication and numbness, that is another component in our bipolar journey. Just as the extreme mania and depression can be tricky to regulate, mix in medications and you can be practically drugged into a sleepy state of zombie-like proportions. That’s not ideal, but it can be part of the side effects of certain medications, and it depends on how your body reacts. This can most definitely leave you feeling blah, laissez-faire and without a care in the world. That can be maddening in and of itself! So where is peace and joy in a drugged-up stupor? While you can talk to your psychiatrist about trying other medications to eliminate the emotional blunting side effects, the peace you want is still where it was before: in Jesus. Our Prince of Peace came to give it not as the world does, as you have noticed. He is going to dispense peace in the stillness of knowing Him personally. In His presence, in communion with Him, and in that relationship.

Don’t be discouraged – trials come to all of us. And when they do, peace and joy are at risk. So turn to Jesus and ask Him to return to you the joy of your salvation. This is our strength! (“The joy of the Lord is your strength” Nehemiah 8:10) Reflect on how good He is and has been to you – and don’t forget to thank Him! Thankfulness and joy go hand in hand.

Bravely,

Katie

 

 

 

 

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