When dealing with a loved one suffering with mental illness and or addiction, life can be quite challenging and full of fear, resentment and even anger. We want to have compassion and patience, but sometimes it is simply too much and the anger overwhelms us. Anger is like a mask that covers hurt feelings or fear. So the next time you are angry, see if you can trace the origin of that feeling to its root of disappointment, shame, fear, hurt, impatience or embarrassment. Learn to skillfully explain THOSE emotions instead of the anger, and you’ll quickly find peace from understanding the misunderstanding. This is by no means easy and requires much practice. But if you can sit with that emotion and allow the Holy Spirit in, you may not always find calm, but you will certainly find compassion and understanding. This compassion will eventually lead to peace, calm and acceptance. God never causes our suffering, but he does want us to lean into him to find peace, love and calm.
Remember the footprints on the sand story: A woman walking on the beach noticed another set of footprints on a beautiful day when she was at peace and calm. She recognized this as God walking with her in her joy. One day she was quite depressed and worried about a loved one. When she went on her daily beach walk looking forward to encountering God she didn’t see the second set of footprints. She felt alone and abandoned. When she asked God why had he abandoned her, God replied “When you are in joy and love I will always walk beside you as your companion on the journey. But when you are depressed and burdened with pain, I will always carry you until you feel the strength to walk on your own alongside me again.”
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