Wednesday, May 14, 2014
1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, 3 Mississippi??
I entered a mental health lock down facility yesterday, a reminder of the importance of the human mind to create harmony or confusion. Lots of wounded people seeking help.
I was reminded of my first big mental struggle in the ministry. We moved to a new city a week or two before I entered high school.
I liked Jackson, Mississippi. The days of high school flew by and I had a conversion experience, which led to four very happy years in a Christian College, and four rather challenging years preparing for ministry. That was nine years of dedication to knowing, enjoying, and serving God in the church He founded.
When I moved into a small southern town, in my own mind, I found people steeped in tradition and active in their own lives, but the church was a duty way down on their priority list below golf, fishing, shopping, eating, TV....you name it.
I had this moment when I realized that my previous nine years had been in small academic worlds, and now I was in the real Mississippi for the first time....and it did not fit. I spent lots of time in the library, This was before the internet, trying to find books that would fix my attitude and growing depression of the silly roles I was playing in this small town ministry.
I would seek out ministers who were loving what they were doing and ask for help and confide my feelings of alienation. There were lots of great things going on and good relationships, but this inner emotional struggle finally got to me and caused me to make a decision based on damaged emotions. That's when I learned we have freedom to fail, and God does not forsake us. He does however allow us to find out what lesser paths can lead to. As I look back the next three years were a hard lesson I could have learned painlessly if I had not followed my depression but stayed where God put me until its lessons were learned.
My heart breaks for people trapped in futile thinking and depression, but God is still there for them.