Whenever suffering is intense or prolonged, whether it’s emotional suffering or physical suffering, that experience threatens to become the sun around which our life orbits. We can oftentimes find that our identity starts to get wrapped up in the problem. Sometimes even the way we speak about these issues exacerbates the problem. We say, “I am bipolar,” or “He is ADHD,” or “I am OCD.” But those ways of talking reinforce in a sense that my identity is wrapped up in that struggle. Think about it. We don’t say things like, “I am cancer,” or “I am diabetes.” And I think we shouldn’t say that about psychiatric problems as well.
Those psychiatric diagnoses really are simply one word descriptions of a very intense struggle that you’re having, but they don’t define the totality of your life. Rather, I think it’s important to listen to language from Scripture that roots your identity in Jesus Christ. As a believer, words like son, daughter, royal priest, saint, possessor of the Spirit actually characterize your life. And so what that means is on a given day, you go to the Lord and yes, seek to understand and live out his calling in your life, in the midst of your struggle, whatever the particular psychiatric struggle is. But you’re also looking for other ways that the Lord is speaking into your life. How can you better serve your daughter? How can you be faithful to pray for your next door neighbor? There are other aspects of your life that God calls you into in the midst of your struggle.