My Mental Illness Recovery Story, Chapter 19

In Recovery Today

During my entire life, I have been a dreamer. Dreams of freedom: trying to overcome my former strongholds of abuse, OCD, and manic depression. Throughout the majority of my life, I desperately wanted to be loved, competent, safe, accepted, successful, and unafraid. I am glad to say that today, generally speaking, these dreams have come true.

Rick Warren once said, “Fear is a self-imposed prison that keeps you from becoming the person God wants you to be”. Even though OCD makes me fearful a lot, my mental illness normally doesn’t control me. It is no longer a daily “self-imposed prison” that tyrannizes me, preventing me from being and doing what God desires of me. Yes, I will lose many battles in life, but with God on my side, I know I will win the war. And I also know where I’m headed after this life is over – heaven.

When I abide in Christ, I experience overabundant joy, peace, and happiness from the Holy Spirit. “If I patiently endure testing and temptation, I will someday in heaven receive the crown of life, promised by God to those who love Him” (see James 1:12). I know there will be times of great struggles and heartaches, but because of my relationship with Christ, I have both an eternal and a living hope that will never let me down! Jesus told his disciples, in John 16:33, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart because I have overcome the world.”

Read Psalms 23: “The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along the right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely, your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house forever.”

Because of Christ, I have countless reasons for hope and inspiration when life gets rough. Even though there will be times when things seem hopeless, I can find strength from God’s promises and from other encouraging Christians.

Because I firmly know I am loved by God, and who I am, I can be confident in myself as I trust in God’s faithfulness, empowerment, and guidance to venture out into the unknown as I chase my God-given dreams. Since I know I am unconditionally loved and justified forever by God; I don’t have to live in shame long when I sin or fail. Since perfect love casts out fear, knowing God is a perfect Father and a perfect Shepherd helps me be brave and more fearless when facing doubt and fear. And because I know He loves me unconditionally and I firmly believe in my identity, I have also learned I don’t have to perform in front of God to be loved, and when a human rejects me, I can manage the rejection better than before. Because I know my identity, I realize I have a special purpose to be a light in this world to others. I am determined and excited to be a positive influence in people’s lives.

My life, in retrospect

Looking back on my life, I see that God had everything planned perfectly for a greater purpose, something that I didn’t understand then but do now. God also has a perfect plan for you; you just need the courage and faith to believe in Him.

God gave me an illness to show the world His greatness. Just like how an ordinary shepherd boy, David, shocked Israel by defeating His giant, Goliath, God wants to use disabled people like you and me to show God’s greatness to a world that desperately needs Him. As God said in 2 Corinthians 12:9a: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”.

In a weird but true sense, God actually compliments and blesses us by giving us a disability or a great trial. You see, God never gives us trials that we cannot overcome through Him (see 1 Corinthians 10:13). So, by giving us a disability or huge trial in our life, He is, in a way, demonstrating trust in our potential to be strong enough to continue the fight, as we rely upon the deliverance of the Deliverer.  “With man, this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

I hope this website has inspired and guided those “in search of a better tomorrow” to experience the freedom found only in Christ.

Listen to this inspirational song, related to the theme of this chapter:

Austin French – Jesus Can (Official Lyric Video)

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