Oh, that my ways were steadfast
in obeying your decrees! (Psalm 119:5)
One of my greatest frustrations living with bipolar disorder is how difficult it is to be consistent. This has caused me much anxiety and put tremendous strain on my relationships – particularly within my family. When I’ve felt up to it, I’ve made big plans to do things with the family, but then I crash and fail to follow through with them. When I’ve been depressed, I’ve let Alice make nearly all parenting decisions. Yet when I came back around, I’ve tried to assert my authority and made a mess of things.
At key moments I’ve been practically cruel in my inconsistency. One example was when we adopted our youngest child, Hannah. Alice wanted to provide her the nutritional and emotional benefits of nursing. Yet, I insisted this was selfish, that I should be included in the bonding experience of feeding her. Much to her dismay, Alice relented to my strong will. True to form, I didn’t step up to the plate, and Alice wound up feeding Hannah from a bottle herself (with some help from our oldest daughters and grandparents).
Consistency is one of God’s great character traits. When we become more like the LORD, we are bound to become more steadfast – particularly in our love. The ups and downs of our mood disorders don’t go away, but they no longer command so much of our attention.
I like how we call what we do with faith, “practicing,” The implication is we never fully perform it or perfect it in this life. The more we practice true faith, however, the more we consistently obey God’s Word and Way.
I still have a long way to go when it comes to consistency. I’m still practicing what I believe is best, yet so often I fall short. When I do, I pray for forgiveness and pick up the next day and try again.