The following is based upon some excerpts from Lysa Terkeurst’s book, It’s Not Supposed to be This Way.
‘When there is an undoing of your life, there is an unknowing of every next millisecond. Every next breath. The peaceful predictability of what you thought would be your life is suddenly replaced by a very unexpected darkness and silence you aren’t used to.’
‘Darkness has such a way of swallowing up enthusiasm for the future.’
The unknowing of every next millisecond may seem to be an obvious, or even a ridiculous, thing to say. But let it sink in for a moment. We don’t think about the very next second because we take it for granted. We assume it will be just exactly the way we planned it to be. We assume it will mind it’s manners, and stay in line, just as it’s supposed to. Just like all the others that have come before it. We don’t anticipate it. We don’t dread it. We don’t even think about it.
Until we have a reason to.
Until life has shaken us to our core and we don’t even know if we will draw a breath in the next second, let alone live any life beyond that single breath.
This is what it’s like for me to live with bipolar disorder. From one second to the next, I just don’t know. Sometimes, I find myself holding my breath, waiting, scared for what is to come. Sometimes, I hold my breath hoping things won’t change. Other times I breathe quickly, willing the change to come.
But breath can’t control it. Will can’t control it.
And so, ‘the peaceful predictability’ that I thought would be my life is replaced by this dark silence. It’s dark because it’s unknown, and it’s scary. It’s silent because I’m there alone. I walk in the darkness alone. No one leads the way. There are no guiding lights to illuminate my pathway. I have to find my own way in the dark, in the silence.
And it can be all-consuming.
Though there may be light and laughter all around me, I sometimes can’t see it because the darkness and silence are too overwhelming. They don’t let the light in. They don’t let laughter in. I’m encapsulated, constantly searching for what the next millisecond will offer.
And that is the darkness.
It’s the uncertainty that hangs overhead. It’s the fear that goes with it. It’s the lack of trust in myself because I just never know which ‘me’ will show up. It’s the exhaustion from constantly checking in with myself. It’s the exhaustion from acting normal when I don’t feel normal. It’s constantly feeling torn between wanting relationship and wanting isolation.
Dark has certainly stolen ‘enthusiasm for the future.’ How can I be excited for the future when I can hardly manage the energy to get through today? How can I even think about crawling my way through the darkness and the silence tomorrow? Or the next day? Or the next? It’s hard to want to carry on without hope of change. Without any thought that tomorrow could be better, why would I ever choose enthusiasm?
Because I have Jesus.
Only with Jesus. Maybe that’s too simple for you. Maybe it’s cliché. But it’s all I’ve got. And it’s huge. I have hope for tomorrow. I have hope for a brighter future because Jesus can give me that. Maybe He won’t this side of Heaven. Maybe this is where He needs me. And if so, I will be obedient. But I will still maintain hope for a better tomorrow because Jesus didn’t die for me to be stuck in this forever. So even in the darkest times, when I struggle the most, and can’t even remember that I have hope, I know it’s still there, waiting for me. And when I can’t remember, He protects me until hope returns.