Wednesday, September 10, 2008


At Living Room on Friday we're going to talk about trust. Being able to trust in God - to trust our ability to be well - to trust our doctor, etc. etc. It's so important to a life of peace. It's so important to our health.

When I start getting symptoms that indicate a depression might be coming on, it's important that I can trust that it won't happen. When I trust and rely on God to help me avert it, I have a much greater chance of staying well. Someone - and I'm too lazy right now to check the source - once said that when we fear God we need fear nothing else. Of course he did not mean to "be afraid" of God; he meant to believe in God and his power - to be in awe of God.

To have bipolar disorder can bring on a lot of fears because we have had so many bad experiences of depression, mania and psychosis. The slightest indication that something is going wrong can bring on anxiety, making it even more likely that it will.

In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus speaks poetically: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear....Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"...(I won't type out the entire piece.) But then Jesus says, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."

Jesus is not saying that we will have immunity to the problems of life, but by trusting God instead of ourselves, we will have confidence in spite of them. When we seek the kingdom of God we will find purpose, power and direction. We forget about being anxious. We trust where God is taking us. It's through faith, hope and extending God's love to others - as God loves us - that we will experience this kingdom of God - this kingdom where God's rule prevails.

I've spent a fair amount of time reading various authors' thoughts and explanations of what Jesus meant by "the kingdom of God" and "the kingdom of heaven." Jesus mentions these phrases over 80 times in the gospels. It's something we should try to understand. Too often we overlook these phrases, assuming that Jesus is talking about what we'll experience after we die. But Jesus did say, "The kingdom of God is upon us." We can start experiencing the kingdom of heaven today by submitting to God's rule and being the kind of people he intended us to be.

I got kind of side-tracked here, moving from trust and anxiety to the kingdom of God. But that's just how my thoughts travelled today.

Did I make sense? What do you understand about the kingdom of God?


P.J. said...

I want to comment, but I don't know what to say! I find it hard to trust people, yet my husband would say that I trust people too easily. What really is "trust"?

marja said...

I think to trust someone is to know you can be open and honest with them. To feel at ease being yourself with them.

For example, in my handout for Living Room I wrote that what helps us trust God is knowing him, knowing his character, knowing that he loves us, and knowing that his word is true.

I think that holds true for trusting people as well. If we know them well and know their character and know that they care about us, we'll be able to trust them.

Michelle said...

I was wondering what exactly you meant when you said, I trust God to help me divert a potential depressive episode? So, if we just trust God is it true we can avoid going into deep depressions?
This is partly what makes me keep questioning the whole bipolar thing...please be patient with me I'm with you on all of this.. I do now know it is real and all of our experiences who write here are def. real, but how much control do we have? Can we learn more strategies to help us from falling as I think you mentioned ie., a healthy diet, exercise, a network of friends, a church home...etc..I know with all these things in place it's harder to fall... I do believe we can with our trust in God divert a depression just like you. I hope I don't sound too confusing...
as for trust its a hard thing and I feel it has to be earned. Also, it is much harder to trust for those of us that have experienced trauma of any sorts in our lives.

Nancie said...

I agree with you, Marja. I too find that it is important to be able to trust in God, to trust our ability to be well with all the means that God has provided, to trust our doctor to treat us and work towards our wellness, etc etc.

Sometimes I do have fear about possible worsening symptoms and future relapses but trusting in God gives me courage to press on knowing that He has provided doctor, medication, loved ones, and various means for me to get better so that I can continue to seek and serve Him. Trusting in God gives me peace, joy and strength to face the challenges each day with the assurance of God's love and presence, and sufficient grace. It's truly a little taste of heaven on earth! Praying that your Living Room on Friday will be time of great blessing and encouragement as you talk about this. Take care!

marja said...

Hi Michelle, I'm sorry it has taken so long for me to reply. Yes, I do think there's much we can do to divert depression, especially when we nip it in the bud - through trusting God, which gives us the confidence and motivation to do all the things that are good for us - exercise, plenty of rest, balancing work and pleasure, getting together with friends.

But clinical depression is a biological disorder, and while we can do the best we can, we won't always be able to escape its clutches. Having a strong faith will be able to help us cope. For example scripture, prayer and the support of friends will do much to help us through it.

Still, it's no easy road.

marja said...

Thanks for your comment, Nancie. Yes, you know all about depression while having a strong faith in God and his love for you, don't you?

You're right, trusting in God will give us the strength to cope with the suffering when it comes upon us.

I've had quite a few occasions where I've talked to people in deep depression over the phone. After we've talked for a while, the only thing there is left for us to do is to pray and turn it over to the Lord. We ask God to take care of the person and to help the person feel His love. We thank God for His unconditional love. I have never felt the Holy Spirit stronger than at those times of prayer. We place ourselves in God's hands, trusting Him to see the depressed person through her trials. It helps. It's powerful.

Merelyme said...

Your post absolutely makes sense and I feel a sense of relief from it. I think what you mean by the kingdom of god is...that place of acceptance and trust that we are being led to where we need to go. We all have our individual paths which ultimately they lead to...this place. I am not religious by any stretch of the imagination...but I have thought about this topic a lot.

marja said...

Hi Merelyme. Yes the kingdom of God is where we need to go - or to be the people God intended us to be - to do the things he wants us to do. And I think this always includes love for others. To love is God's commandment that supersedes all other commandments: to love God with all our heart and mind and soul and to love others as ourselves.

marja said...

Just another thought: At the bottom of my emails I include a quote by Frederick Buechner that I think is a good explanation of what the kingdom of God is - the place where God rules:

"The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet."

I think when we find this place God calls us to we find his joy and peace...and healing for ourselves.