plotI so very much want to encourage you today and I am very mindful that I haven’t been blogging a lot lately, and for that (the not blogging part) I am very sorry.

There have actually been several reasons for my not blogging a lot recently but the major one has been difficulties with my legs and my inability to sit anywhere (even in my study) very comfortably or for very long.

When I have posted a blog recently it has been about my tendency to isolate and about a plot to get me to socialize and even to go out more.  [And for those who are interested you can find these posts at The Inside-Out Disconnection and  The Outside In Plot – (That which Threatens My Isolation)].

And, as the title of this post suggests, this post is connected to those posts and indeed is about how that plot (which I identified in my last post) is indeed thickening.

In terms of socializing more I have to report that actually – despite myself and my natural (or should I say usual) reservations – I have been fairly compliant and am out of my house far more than usual.  Likewise I have indeed been socializing more.

I also – in the interest of fairness and openness – should admit that actually it really hasn’t been that bad and certainly not as bad as I had feared.

But then isn’t that often the way – especially when those fears are linked to or based in a mental health issue associated with paranoia – that our minds can build these things up to be far worse than they actually are.

Annoying salesmanI guess – also in the spirit of openness and fairness – I should also concede that actually I do see positive results from my going out and socializing more.

BUT that doesn’t necessarily equate to it becoming any easier as yet.  In reality our fears can be like over zealous door to door salesmen. Once you have opened the door to them they seem virtually impossible to get rid of!

And our old ways can also be so very hard to get rid of as well, can’t they?  Especially when those ‘ways’ have developed out of necessity as a coping skill or survival technique.

And if I am honest – truly honest – some of mine have been and yet some are just the road offering the least amount of resistance or the pathways followed as a result of my not having the strength or enthusiasm or motivation (possibly because of previous and even unrelated experiences) to attempt more difficult routes.

They are – if you will – learned behaviors.  And (let’s be honest here) whilst providing instant or immediate or even short-term solutions they may not be very healthy or beneficial in the long run.

And yet I find that I am so at odds with myself!

I know that there is a plot to get me out and socializing more and I even know that actually this is probably (hey that’s as far as I can commit at this time) a good thing and yet having all of the fears and thoughts and internal and external dialogues (voices) means that whilst a huge part of me so very much wants to step out in faith another very real part of me just wants to sabotage it all!

dietoselfAdditionally, consider this simple little comparison if you will…

As someone who experiences a number of mental health issues I understand and recognize that how I am – even how I perceive things – is not always right and not the way I should be.

Likewise, as a Christian (and yes I know that this is a mental health blog and not a Christian blog – but since my faith is central to who I am I cannot really discuss this without also considering it from a faith and spiritual aspect) I understand and recognize that how I am – even how I perceive things – is not always right and not the way I should be.

In truth (if my understanding of the scriptures is correct) every Christian should understand and recognize this basic truth.  And having understood and recognized this we seek (through God’s help via Christ and the Holy Spirit) to be the way we ought to be.

In biblical (or certainly Christian) terms it is called “dying to self”.  Not being how we are but being how we should be.  And so I seek to die to self.  To not be chained or bound to or by my old ways but to live according to what is right and true.  Even though this is so incredibly hard and incredibly threatening at times.  It is a battle and I recognize that – a battle with “self” (not that I don’t also recognize the additional spiritual aspects of this).

130414-The-Battle-Belongs-to-the-Lord-286x144The battle belongs to the Lord!  I so very much know this!  I really do.  But that does not mean that we do not have to do our part in the battle.

I have been invited to attend a week long Christian conference later this year and I have to be honest the idea – whilst extremely appealing in respect of my faith – fills me full of dread in terms of actually being away from home, with lots of other people, sharing, not being able to simply walk away from it all and having no familiar place to hide.

Of course I put up obstacles and even ‘justifications’ (and I use that word deliberately wrongly) as to why my attending just isn’t possible…

I am not really well enough to go.  I have no-one to look after TJ my dog.  I have no transport to get there.  I haven’t actually been away like this for about 19 years.  I don’t have the right clothes.  What happens if….

But every one of these obstacles have been removed almost immediately to my raising them. (Did I mention the plot?)

And so I am left with the very real possibility of actually having to go! Of course I do still have one or two ‘obstacles’ in my back pack to rely on. Cost, sleeping arrangements etc.  But I also have the certain knowledge that if God is in this I will have no rightful alternative but to yield and to surrender my fear and my fight.

You see I know God.  I have known Him most of my life and I know Him as a loving heavenly Father who loves us and wants the best both FOR and FROM us.  And I know that within that love He knows and understands our weaknesses, our fears and indeed our temptations and needs (Psalm 139, Hebrews 4:15).

And that is my encouragement for you today!  That God the Father truly does know us and love us and no matter what we face in Him, with Him and through His Son Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit He will bring us through things if we truly trust in Him.

And I say this not as one who has it ‘all worked out’ or who has no fear but as one who has very real fears and who is, by the grace of God, learning more and more to surrender those fears and to trust in Him even and especially when the plot seems to thicken and the battle continues!