It’s true, I have always been painfully aware that my personality is fundamentally flawed. In response to this I spent many years carefully observing others and trying my hardest to clone their behvior in a poor attempt to appear ‘normal’.
When I was heavily ensconced in the Charismatic world I felt I must have been walking around with an invisible (to me) sign on my forehead: “Pray for me”.
Folk literally couldn’t wait to lay their grubby hands on my head and pray for me to be ‘healed’ and ‘stable’ and know the love of God in my heart, etc etc.
I never asked for their prayers by the way, it was almost as if I was on some secret Charismatic list under the heading ‘troubled, needs prayer’.
When this didn’t work, it was insinuated that I had sin in my life. Bloody right I did and that got me thinking that perhaps I was the only one. Horrible.
The truth is they perceived my mental and personality instability as something that must be cured by God. Something evil.
It’s taken me many years to turn this thinking on its head.
God made me as I am. If I take away those aspects of my personality and cognitive processes that have been with me since I can remember, then I would no longer be me. I would be someone else. How could I possibly wish for that? I wouldn’t know what it would be like and what kind of person I’d be.
The truth is, my mental problems frequently bring me low, embarrassed and humbled, and I no longer view this entirely negatively.
God has me exactly where he wants me, there’s a work to be done, that’s for sure, but he will do it through me using my warts and all.
As today is the feast of ‘St. Paul’s conversion’ I must turn to his words for comfort.
Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
A thorn in the flesh denotes to me consistent pain. It doesn’t come and go, just like my mental problems.
I have finally turned it all upside down.
The Grace I have received through being weak and flawed is staggering.
May I never be ‘healed’, but may I know him more fully through my weakness.