Every frustration/enticement/adversity can actually be a spiritual growth experience. Can you have mental illness and/or be dissociating and make it a spiritual growth experience? Yes—but oh, it is hard. It’s at least 100x harder than what a normal person faces when they face adversity. I mean, how on earth are we supposed to fix our broken brains with our broken brain??!?
Those of us who have/had mental illness know that we may need mediation, medication, and meditation in order to just be able feel the Spirit again. I tremble to think what would have happened if I hadn’t turned to God in that padded cell. What started out as a major, MAJOR adversity turned into the greatest spiritual experience of my life up until that point, because I finally was humble enough to realize that I had this huge problem in this physical dimension (I had succumbed to Satan’s lies for so long without turning to God, to the point that I’d tried to commit suicide with a gun, and I’d ended up in jail all alone in a freezing padded cell), and that the solution was in the Spiritual dimension (in this case, it was to beg for a Book of Mormon and start reading it out loud).
But, I’m now realizing that I didn’t have to let it get to that point! I mean, in retrospect I’m glad that it did AND that I’d turned with my whole heart, might, mind and strength to the spiritual dimension…but what if I had consistently chosen to turn to God before…?
The power of Christ is manifested in each and every adversity. If you stay spiritually focused though the adversity or enticement, the power of Christ is released and miracles occur—either in our physical environment or within us. This occurs every time, without exception. Think about Nephi, tied to a mast, or the righteous Lamanites who faced death at the hands of their brethren…they had faced the adversity with a spiritual focus and, therefore, the Spirit stayed with them during and after the adversity was over.
I had faced the adversity (depression) with a physical focus, and I had let my depression devolve into suicidal ideation, and then I had chosen to act on those thoughts that Satan was putting inside my head.
(Then there’s the scene in Episode 1 of The Chosen (min 28:19), where Mary Magdalene returns to her room to survey with bewildered regret, the scene of destruction a different part of her had caused. I’ve lived that amnestic moment more often than I can count — wondering what I’d done and who I needed to apologize to, this time.)
Now, how were those experiences different than when I tried to commit suicide by jumping off of Webb Hill?
It was totally different. In the first case, I tried to kill myself because I was under the false impressions that my life didn’t matter, that God didn’t care about me, that I was destined to die that way—and actually, a bunch of other Satanic programs which I now realize were deeply imbedded in my psyche.
But in the second case, I know that I was spiritually focused throughout the entire ordeal. I actually had the Spirit with me when I jumped off of Webb Hill—and that’s the reason I went up instead of down! I was literally being burned to death emotionally and spiritually by the opposition. In my entire life and with all the spiritual torture I’ve been through, I had never faced such an adversity before. With that spiritual focus, I lost a battle but won a war.
So, I hear the question in some of your minds, does this mean those who commit suicide under the influence of depression or under the influence of Satan go down instead of up??
Well, I believe that we end up, after anyone dies, where the frequency of our spirit is a match. We end up where the most light is that our spirits are able to accept/receive at that time. And then we can evolve or devolve from there.
So, in answer to your question about where one of your loved ones has “ended up,” God knows. And doesn’t your heart know as well?
Always err on the side of hope. Always turn to the power of prayer and personal revelation. And always DO whatever it is that the Spirit suggests with courage in your heart. Know that God loves each of us with a perfect—perfect—love, especially during those times when we need Him the most but can’t feel Him. He knows the battles we are each up against, and an important part of our mortal lesson is to face some trials alone, temporarily. Christ can tell you how that feels; it’s something we have in common with Him.
Christ has given us the tools we each need to have fulfillment in each day—we must turn to the spiritual dimension to find them. If you don’t know what your tools are, ask God for the means to reach Him when the trials come, and He will reveal them to you. Then, try to remember them when the dark side wants you to forget.
If you are reading this, and a thought pops into your head that has the aroma of hope and work for you to do, follow that thought and actually put it into action with a spiritual focus.
I’ve realized that a fulfilling life is one that requires a lot of work. But if we approach the work as something we can do to show our appreciation for what God has done for us, then the work will be guided by the Spirit and it will be fulfilling. We learn to “submit cheerfully” to everything God sees fit for us to go through, because we trust Him that it will be for our spiritual growth, and (hopefully), because we hold in our thoughts what He went through for us.
But what if we can’t muster up even a grain of appreciation? This is where having a place where we keep all of the times God has been there for us written down, or videoed, or painted, sculpted, carved, modgepodged—whatever—is vital. It is vital because it’s not going to be enough to read or hear of other’s accounts of spiritual things in the scriptures or in conference anymore. It just isn’t. We are in the last days of the freaking last days!! We need to start having our OWN spiritual strength in connection to the Holy Ghost to rely upon. Strength comes from figuring it out during difficult times, as well as the good times.
Just like Moses failing to get his people to go up to the Mount to find God, or Joseph Smith failing to get his people up to their spiritual potential, I have been failing to take the Holy Spirit as my guide. I’ve realized yet again that it isn’t enough to have seen angels or Jesus Christ or to have had the gift of charity or JJ’s blessings in the past…it’s only enough if those experiences provide the inspiration for what I’m willing to do right now that the Holy Spirit dictates I should do. And that is to write and to serve while taking the Holy Spirit as my guide. Your mission most likely is slightly different—but what I know is this: the Spirit will tell us peacefully, in the simplest terms, what work we need to be doing. None of that frantic manic energy, here.
We each need to learn how the Spirit communicates with us. It’s just like learning any new skill—it’s going to be awkward at first. But it’s how we SEE that awkward struggle that will either provide fuel for the fire, or dampen into darkness our efforts to overcome our adversities and heal with Christ.