Tag Archives: growth

Refining Fire and Mental Health

Is God refining you in this season? I believe in this season God is doing a new work in each one of us to make us more like Him and to prepare us for what is to come.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19

God is making all things new, and it starts with us. He is making a way for us through the valley and wilderness. Do you not perceive it? I know it may be hard to see if you are in the depths of depression or anxiety, but God is up to something new and different. It may not be super clear, but He is doing it. Part of what He is doing is refining and purifying us from things that are not of Him, including idols, sin, and the like. He is calling us back to Him as our First Love, and is making a way for the new things to come into our life by asking us to let go of the old. Has God been nudging you to let go of some things in this season? Is He calling you to let go of lesser things for the better thing? Is He calling you to a radical step of obedience that will put you outside of your comfort zone?  Is He rearranging your priorities right now?

If the answer is yes, perhaps He is refining you. Perhaps He is even calling you out of some false comforts that we can fall into when we have mental illness. For example, God is calling me out of the false comfort on leaning on people too much for encouragement and care. Let me be clear — it is extremely wise to have a support system; however, it is not wise to make them an idol and become emotionally dependent on them to feel okay. Mental illness often lies to us and tells us we aren’t capable of doing things that we actually are capable of. Perhaps in certain seasons, this may be true, but as we continue in our recovery, we need to learn to get our eyes off of ourselves and onto loving the Lord and others. We slowly have to step out of our comfort zone and grow up in the Lord. This process is not easy, but stepping out of false comforts causes us to be strengthened and empowered. We can step up and out and begin to serve. Let me give you some words of encouragement as you go through this process:

“The furnace may be hot, but not only can I trust the hand that lights the fire, I can also have the assurance the fire will not consume but only refine.” (Streams in the Desert, p. 166.)

The refining fire of the Lord may be upon you right now, but take heart that it will not consume you. Rather, you will be purified in God’s love to be more equipped to serve Him and build His kingdom. As you step outside of yourself, you will see the many needs around you and the opportunities the Lord is placing before you.

What opportunities is God placing before you right now? What is He asking of you? If you don’t know, I’d encourage you to ask. If nothing else, just do what is before you, until He shows you the next thing. Take heart, friend, He is doing something new in and through you. Trust His purpose and timing!

Copyright 2020 Marie Lorah

Progress, Not Perfection

Are you seeking progress or perfection in your life? For me, I was humbled by our loving Father that I was striving for perfection recently.

This week I had a colossal meltdown, one of those public, overwhelming volcano of emotions. I felt overcome with shame and more anxiety than I had in a long time. “Here we go again,” I thought. “I fell apart, yet again. I am a failure because of these struggles. I’m never going to get better.” Crazy how easily we can fall into these lies and automatic negative reactions, yet we do as fragile human beings. 

I reached out to a friend, and we did dinner. She reminded me there was no shame in having a tough time and reaching out. I spoke with another friend the following day, who totally re-framed what happened – she said that instead of looking at this meltdown as a failure, look at it as progress, as I had not had a meltdown like this in a while. Having that connection with another person helped me see the truth about my situation and break me free from the shame and condemnation – which is NOT from God.

As I began journaling and talking to God about what happened, I felt He reminded me life is about progress, not perfection. And the truth is, I did make progress. As frail human beings, we can tend to go straight to the negative when processing things. We can think things will never change and believe we are failures. But what is God’s truth? How does He see us in the middle of our messes? Really. Ask yourself. How does God see you in your worst moment? Friend, I can tell you He isn’t look away in disgrace; He is looking toward you with compassion, wanting you to come to Him. 

So today, meditate on what is good. Meditate on how well you are doing – because there are things you are doing well, and things you are still learning. Look for progress, not perfection. Stand tall, confident in God’s love for you through it all.

Copyright 2018 Marie Lorah

How To Grow and Heal From Sufferring

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When we have negative experiences, they are opportunities to grow and heal, if we will allow ourselves to step back and find new perspective. Personally, my mental illness and accompanying difficult experiences have really helped me grow – but it was choice. Was I going to accept where I’m at and learn from it? Or would I let myself get bitter and shut down? I had (and still do have) moments where I’m all in to grow from the pain of it all, and other days where I’d rather do nothing but hide and escape from my problems. I’ve learned to let myself have both days, while slowly moving toward growing and learning instead of avoiding and hiding.

Walking through my own mental illness has made me strong in the midst of chaotic and painful emotions. Also, my struggles have given me compassion for people who go through similar difficult things. I have learned the art of being aware of my emotions, paying attention to what they might be telling me, and responding appropriately. This awareness has allowed me to notice the individuals who hurt the most, sit with them in their pain, and encourage them that, they too, will grow from their pain. We can allow mental illness (or other struggles) to define us in a negative, victimizing way (like “I will always be this way” or “nothing will ever change”), or we can allow it to grow us and change us to become stronger, more compassionate people.

I also have found my faith in Jesus through my battle with mental illness. So, in reality, mental illness is a gift that has kept giving – giving me opportunities to wrestle with God and my beliefs, to find answers (or to accept I won’t have answers!), to feel deeply, and to accept myself more fully. I have discovered my gifts and who I am – my struggles do not define me as weak, but they have allowed me to find God and my purpose in the midst of it. I would not be the kind, caring, compassionate person I am without all that I have gone through.

I share these beautiful things, but they have come from the depths of my pain, anger, shame, disillusionment, severe instability, and fears. They have come from the breaking of me – of life falling to pieces and God and I somehow slowly putting those pieces back together. I have found meaning and purpose through my breakdowns, which has created a deep well of hope and wisdom that I pray shines to others.

Mental illness has been a shaping factor in my life that has brought chaos, disaster, and healing. This cycle of pain and healing will, in some ways, always continue on this side of heaven. Jesus promises us both hope and pain on Earth. We must carry our crosses, learning to fellowship with Him in the power of His resurrection AND in His suffering (Philippians 3:10).

He cares. He understands. He’s been there. Let your pain move in you in a way that heals you instead of holds you back. Take courage that this struggle you are going through is not wasted.

On The Days You Feel Insecure

Ever have one of those days you’re just feeling particularly insecure about yourself, your life, and the decisions you have been making? Well, I just had one of those recently, and it was tough. I stayed home to rest because I was run down, which was good for my body, but perhaps not my mind. I got in my head and started questioning things. Am I really doing what God wants me to be doing? Am I doing enough to better myself, grow, and heal? Am I making any headway? Will I ever accomplish what I desire? The questions go on. And on. And they boil down to a matter of security.

I needed to be reminded of simple truths – I am loved. I have worth and value apart from what I do. I have set my heart to follow God and am doing the best I can in what I feel called to do right now. I am secure in Christ because what HE did for ME. Not the other way around. Wow. If we could let that truth settle in ours hearts, how much more confident and secure could we be?

Lord, please remind us of the fundamental truths of our identity in You so that we can walk in confident freedom in You to do all You are asking of us in this season. And thank You that You will do more than we can ask or imagine or believe. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Open Space

I see an open space

Where I seek Your face

I see an open space

Where I know my place

I see freedom, hope, and vision

Where You bring me wisdom

I see You calling me to You

To trust in what You do

To let there be open space

So I take time to seek Your face

To sit with the tension

And let go of self-protection

To let myself be led by You

To be cared for, nurtured, and held

To be okay with being

Knowing You are never leaving

You are taking me to an open space

To seek Your face

And discover grace

To hold things loosely

And not be so choosey

To let life happen

To let life unfold

To rest in Your abode

And allow life to grow

In Your process and Your way

Lord, help me stay in Your Presence and let You lead – not my timing, but Yours. Amen.