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How big is your faith?

How big is your faith?

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of faith it takes to climb out of this boat I’m in
Onto the crashing waves

To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown where Jesus is
And He’s holding out His hand

But the waves are calling out my name and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times I’ve tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
Time and time again, “Boy, you’ll never win!”
“You’ll never win!”

(“Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns)

“And in the fourth watch of the night, Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a spirit”; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spoke unto them, saying, “Be of good cheer. It is I; be not afraid.” And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water. And He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand and caught him and said unto him, “O thou of little faith, why didst thou doubt?” (Matthew 14:25-31)

Music is incredibly important in my life. As a child it was the beat to which I moved my body in ballet class. When I grew older I became the beat to which others moved to. In my 20’s it became my escape, a drug in it’s own right at writhing parties of bodies and sound. Today it has become the tone to which I set my mood. Increasingly, music is the salve of my mind, the preemptive strike to countering a terrible mood, to energise me into action, or to calm my emotions.

Several years ago I began to collect my own personal Christian play list, this song above has always remained. The lyrics in this song speak to the insecurities and uncertainties in a life of mental illness. I struggled with depression and moods for so long I began to feel like I would forever be sitting on the side lines, watching everyone else. I longed to be like Peter, to dare to step out in faith and know that Jesus was guiding me. I still long for it today.

The waves of depression and emotion taunt me, ridicule me, and they do remind me vehemently of my past failures. Somedays I feel paralysed with fear, not of what might happen, but of failing again. I fear failure, I fear fear.

Like Peter, I stepped out of the boat, and I sank, and I have been locked in that moment of sinking and feeling the waves crash around me. As with many who suffer bipolar, these feelings can overwhelm and suck you under. While they might not be happening at this moment, past mistakes and failures can be brought to mind and you relive them with the same dread and pain you originally felt. Only this time, I can feel Jesus’ hand reaching out to mine, I just have to grab it.

It’s a matter of faith.

“Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

My mind taunts me, despises me, inflicts to much more pain on me that anyone else ever could. It’s so hard to reach out in faith and know Jesus is waiting there. Maybe I’m not good enough, maybe he doesn’t want to save me, maybe I would be better off letting the waves pull me under…

The voice of truth tells me a different story
The voice of truth says, “Do not be afraid!”
And the voice of truth says, “This is for My glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

(“Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns)

But God doesn’t let that sit well with me, not now when I am already His. Like a good father, he swoops in and rescues me, or at least comforts me and strengthens me, sends protection for my mind when I call upon Him. I struggle each day to ignore the voices and reach for the love of the Father, and it is hard. It. Is. Very. Hard.

Those waves of depression come and threaten to finally take me under, blocking out the sound of Jesus’ voice asking me why I doubt? In love he picks me up, every time, and comforts my soul. And I put on my play list and listen to this song.

I know that God’s word is truth, and I open my bible and I read. I thank and praise God for everything he has given me, even when I think I don’t want to, even when I don’t want to be alive. It’s not a magic salve, a fix all for everything, nor does it always make me feel better. I do it because it renews my faith, and I believe that God’s voice, God’s truth is real for me.

Peter had the guts to step out of that boat. How crazy what that! The dude walked on water for a minute. But even he had doubt. I think to myself, if Peter can have doubts, if one of Jesus’ chosen companions can have doubt, even after walking on water, and Jesus still rescues him, then maybe theres a chance for me even with all my doubts and insecurities!

Maybe I’m not going to try to walk on water, but I am going to do the seemingly impossible in my life. I’m going to kick depression on it’s head, not let the waves pull me under, and live the best I can each day reaching for that voice from God delivering truth to me. I will remain faithful and have a mustard seed sized faith to move the mountains in my life.