What image comes to mind when you think of the Holy Spirit? What thoughts? What ideas? I have to say I have always been fascinated by the Holy Spirit. As a young child and a new Christian I was both perplexed, and intrigued by the third person of the trinity. But more so, I wanted to try to understand some of my own experiences. What was this “thing” I was experiencing.
As someone who has suffered from a mental illness since I was young I had many experiences that did not make sense to me. Furthermore other Christians would talk about their own experiences that were similar to my own but also different. They would say it was the Holy Spirit.
So as a young teenager I decided to study every scripture in the Bible that talked about the Holy Spirit. Why? Because I was confused by my own experiences.
I was never diagnosed with mental illness until my mid 20’s even though I had symptoms for over 10 years, well probably since I was even a toddler. But the symptoms progressively worsened as I aged. These things I had experienced which I equates to being spiritual things as a child, teen and young adult were all of a sudden not spiritual thing but a mental illness.
What the heck! If this is all mental illness then what is the Holy Spirit? I have spent the last 8 years wrestling with God on what is the Holy Spirit and what is my mental illness. I cannot say I have a cut and dry answer but the answer I feel like God has given me is why cannot some of your experiences be both? For God can speak to us using the Holy Spirit inside us through anything and everything. So why can he not use my mental illness? Yet he also desires me to be healthy and not held captive by my illness. He desires me to take my medicine and attempt to prevent recurrence of illness. But he also desires me to not fear recurrence.
This is a challenging thing for me to let go of my desire to want to understand something I will never fully comprehend and allow God to move, work and use me as he wills. No I am not a puppet used by God. I am a willing servant that delights in getting to partake in the work he wants to accomplish on this earth. The Holy Spirit, the 3rd person of the trinity, a piece of God himself dwells inside me, I am God’s temple. This Holy Spirit is like the wind inside me, it cannot be seen but it transcends my own mental illness.
How do I know it is the Holy Spirit and not some other monster or my own mental illness. I look at the fruit of the spirit and then I know. For monsters and my mental illness do not produce these fruit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23