OK…I’m not actually schizophrenic in the classic mental illness form. I don’t lose touch with reality. But I think I am metaphorically. I lose touch with what is true and right and real. And I don’t just drift away. It’s a direct switch, as if I have come to a fork in a railroad track. I can take one or the other, both leading to radically different places. Here how it happens to me.
I have lived so much of my life “on stage.” In my early years it was playing the piano for others, in my early adult years it was being a pastor, in my later years it was being a teacher. The cycle begins with a familiar anxiety and a pressure to come through for my audience. Then it’s time to perform for the crowd where I hope to get the validation I need. Finally I am off stage and can let down until the next time (or next day) when the anxiety builds again. In this system, failure is just not an option. That would be emotional suicide. You can imagine the pressure I lived under for years.
Recently I had this huge insight. As long as I live in this anxiety and pressure, I can’t do the one thing I am asked to do by the Lord. The one thing I long to do at times. I can’t love others. I can’t perform and love. I can’t be anxious about myself and love. I can’t demand validation and love. It’s like a fork in a railroad track. It’s one rail or the other. My heart can’t go down both.
And then the Lord showed up one morning in the middle of my struggle here, and this is what he whispered: “Do everything out of love.” It wasn’t a condemnation. It wasn’t a demand. It was an invitation. An invitation into joy.
This is the way out of my schizophrenia. It is to stay at home in the Father’s love for me and live out of that. It is to choose the fork in the railroad track that leads me here. It is to refuse to go down the old track of anxiety and performance. Tomorrow, I get up and choose again. The fork awaits.
I’ll let you know in the next post how it goes!