Have you ever wondered to yourself, “where do I fit in?” Well, good news, you’re not alone. At least one other person has – yours truly.
I’ve detailed my manic episode I experienced in July of 2013 here and over at The Marriage Fight (a blog Danielle and I coauthor). You can read those for some information regarding what I went through and where I’ve come since then.
Let me explain some of the frustration in regards to the main week of my manic episode (I know for a fact it lasted longer, but many of the serious events took place within about a 1-week time frame).
Have you ever felt like you got your wires crossed? Like you were getting mixed messages? I guess that’s the best way to explain what I went through. When I felt prompted to go pray for a friend who had a serious case of cancer, I believe that was really from God. Going to a worship event in Harrisburg on the spur of the moment? Hard to say. Following a prompting (or what felt like a prompting) to give away your phone to a stranger because they lost theirs? That’s also debatable but at the very least not very rational (although most of that time frame was irrational).
So we’ve moved from a pretty clear area of hearing from God to murky waters.
And then the waters get dark and things get twisted. When we were at the beach I had all sorts of promptings or visions you could call them. I was convinced that a new church was going to start in Mansfield. I even had an exact location and people picked out who were going to be involved in a leadership team. I saw people coming from all over the place (like Lakeland or Toronto or Bethel) for meetings. I even wrote a bunch of it out on a piece of paper. And then I felt prompted to throw it away. And you know what? I’m glad I did. First of all, it would have completely changed churches in the area. Taken people away from the places I, now, believe they’re supposed to be. And another clue that it was crazy is that I (from what I’m told) was completely belligerent about the idea and going on and on about how this had been my lifelong dream and how I couldn’t believe that Danielle wasn’t supporting my dream. All of which was a complete shock to her since this had NEVER come up in the 11 years we had been together.
Then there’s the part part where I told Danielle that God had told me she was free to leave me. She could pack up Fitzy (and Enoch, who was on the way) and go. I assume this was because I was dead set on my church idea. I told Danielle she was released from her vows. Really? How could that possibly be from God? Obviously it wasn’t, but at the time my mixed up brain thought it was.
And here is where it gets really weird and personal. There were several times in the most severe time of my episode that I thought I was going to die. I mean literally I’m going to die any second. It’s funny how the brain works and what I can and can’t remember during this time period, but I remember sitting on a bench with my dad in the courtyard of where we were staying convinced I was about to pass on. He just sat there with me and supported me and hugged probably wondering to himself, “what in the world is going on?”
After my family talked to our family Doctor, who probably helped save all of us, my dad and Danielle drove me to the hospital. And this is where things, for me, probably get as strange as anything during the whole episode. During the drive I was talking about a lot of nonsensical stuff. I’ll spare you the details, since they don’t make a whole lot of sense anyway. But I did feel, again, that I was going to die. Although this time (I’m fairly certain) I had my eyes closed and saw what I believed to be Jesus. I told him it wasn’t fair that I was going to die. It wasn’t fair that I was being taken from my family. It wasn’t fair that they would lose me. And then, the weird thing happened. I punched him. And we fought. Or at least I thought we did. I’m sure I took a good swing at the air anyway.
And that has bothered me to this day. Why would I punch Jesus? Why would I fight this person I’ve given my life to to follow? Now I know, rationally today, that I was quite literally out of my mind at the moment and who knows what I was seeing or thinking and how my brain was firing during those moments.
But it bothers me. I don’t always think about it, but when I do, it upsets me.
When I got back from my second stay at the hospital I went through a pretty dark time of anxiety and depression. My Doctor let me know that isn’t uncommon when going through such a traumatic event. It left me in a place of wondering what was going on.
Coming back from the hospital, things were different. We didn’t attend the same church anymore. We lost touch with some dear friends through a variety of circumstances. Life was just different, and then in the summer of last year something happened that rocked me.
I don’t remember when or exactly how, but I heard the passage Matthew 7:21-23:
21 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
And I don’t know why, but that scared the daylights out of me. It really rocked me. I know it’s not rational but part of me wondered if I had fought Christ and somehow affected my standing with Him. Typing it, it sounds silly, but it didn’t seem that way to me.
And it still doesn’t, at times. At times I wonder where my place is. Where He has me. Where He even is at times.
And there are things that scare me. When I went through my manic episode I was so sure I was hearing from God and sensing His promptings. And like I said, some of that I think was real, and some was obviously not. Part of me is afraid to step out and to try to hear again. What if things go horribly wrong? What if it triggers another episode? What if? What if?
I realize life can’t be lived in the “what if’s”, but they can be really scary at times.
Lately I’ve been listening to some really great teaching, not only from Pastor Mark at Church of the New Covenant but also some great teachings from Kris Vallotton (http://www.kvministries.com/podcast) from Bethel Church. I’ve rejoined our worship team (rockin’ those drums 🙂 ), and I feel, bit by bit, like things are starting to round the bend, but it’s been a long process.
So, if you’ve been wondering “where do I fit in?” and you feel like God is a million miles away, just remember, He’s not. He loves you. He’s got a plan for you, and He’s helping you find your way, whether you know it or not at times.
And if you need proof that He can do miracles, I offer up my story as just one example.