Bipolar

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness characterized by episodes of an elevated mood known as mania, usually alternating with episodes of depression.

Worship leaders, worshipers in general, tend toward a spiritual bipolar disorder.  We seek the high of the presence of the Lord, the rush of His power as we lift up His name, the joy that overwhelms us as the congregation is broken and healed, hands lifted, tears flowing.

And then, we walk out the doors.  We climb in our cars and go home.  We fight with our spouses and isolate ourselves from our children. We turn to our instruments for comfort, for solace.  We look at our bank accounts, our jobs, our bills and do the math.  We go through the motions of quiet time and study.  And never, never feel fulfilled.

So we seek the next high.  Concerts, CDs, Youtube, a new job, a new high.

Life can be so difficult.  And, the medical world would seek to level those moods, shorten the swings from mania to depression.

I would question, within myself, in everything I do, I would question myself as to what is causing those swings.  What is the scaffolding that holds up the pendulum?

Do I feel a rush as I see myself praised for skills, for passion, for service?  Do I hear the words of affirmation and pin them on me?  Do I look to salve my wounds, my bruises, my hurts?  Do I wish them removed, uncleansed, untreated, unhealed?  Do I want my life more comfortable, more at ease?

Or do I simply need more Jesus?

The crash of waves that surround the holy moments of worship, in prayer, in song, are a normal result of our encounters with God.  Can you imagine meeting with the King of the Universe and being unmoved?  Can we hope to rest on the pinnacle of His touch on our lives with no opportunity to need Him again?  That would not be natural, not living.

The former leads only to hurt, for the structures that uphold it disintegrate beneath the weight of Him.  But if He holds it up, being the trussing, the lights and the sound within us, the fall will come, the waves will crash…

and we will stand.

Laish

Of the tribes of Israel, there is none that leaves a blacker mark than the tribe of Dan.  Interesting that the name means “Judge” but I’ll leave that for another post.

Israel was sent into the promised land to clear out the inhabitants because of the evil they were doing.  Sexual immorality, greed, child sacrifice being high on the list of their offenses.  But there appears to be one notable exception, the town of Laish.

I don’t know much about them, their practices, their religion.  The bible tells us that they were quiet and secure, and had wealth.  It would seem that, from the narrative, that they were to be left alone.  But to Dan, a tribe that had forsaken God, they were a gold mine.

We know that Dan had not “come into their inheritance” yet.  Seems an innocuous statement but it reveals a complacency, a lack of faith.  Israel had been told to go in and possess the land.  They had been there many, many years at this point.  And yet Dan still didn’t have their inheritance.  It can be surmised that this was due to their lack of faith.  The area that was allotted them was “too difficult,” so they went looking for another.  They wanted an easier prize.

Our struggles with addiction, our anger with God over “not coming through” smell a lot like the tribe of Dan.  And the evil, the sad horror of the sins we commit as we take the “path of least resistance” mar the name of Jesus and separate us further from His will.

What seems impossible to you?  What exhausts you just in thinking about it?  What feels so overwhelming that you can’t bear the weight of it?  Know that you have a choice.  Know that you want what only God can handle.  And know that, everyday, innocents die when we choose to not step out in faith.

It may sound like I’m condemning.  To my shame, I spent 40 years addicted to pornography.

This is a battle cry!  Fight!  Go save them!  Stand up!  Live!  That is the life of faith.