A common question for those of us living with someone with a hidden disability:
In his book Spiritual Depression, Martin Lloyd Jones mentions the discipline of “talking to ourselves” rather than “listening to ourselves.” He writes, “Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them but they are talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you. Now this man’s treatment [in Psalm 42] was this: instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself. “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” he asks. His soul had been depressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says, “Self, listen for moment, I will speak to you.”
I am often tempted to listen to myself. I tell myself that life would be so much easier if Ben didn’t have his disability. I question things, wondering how many of our difficulties are due to misfiring in his brain.
I need to listen to Martin Lloyd Jones: “And then you must go on to remind yourself of God, Who God is, and what God is and What God has done, and what God has pledged Himself to do. Then having done that, end on this great note: defy yourself, and defy other people, and defy the devil and the whole world, and say with this man: “I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance, who is also the health of my countenance and my God.”
In many cases, the cause of Ben’s challenges does not matter (although I might do better to ask myself why I’m so short-tempered and easily angered!). The important issue to remember is the fact that the sovereign God of the universe has pledged to never leave me nor forsake me.
“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
**Please note…I do not, in any way, believe that we should not learn all we can about the disabilities that affect our family members. We need to understand the complexities of the brain and the many ways that we can help our children and spouses. Cognitive therapy and neuropsychological testing have helped us more than I can say. But it is the Holy Spirit who ministers to our souls and ultimately causes lasting change in our hearts.