Yesterday afternoon I drove to the Lansing area to attend a forum with our District President - he was discussing the direction he would see our church body taking should he be elected president in June. As I walked into the gathering, I said a very quick hello to two pastors I know. On the way out I chatted for about 20 seconds with the moderator as our paths happened to intersect. Other than this, I had no interaction with the 50-70 people in attendance at the 2 hour event - even though I know, and am known by, many of them.
Then, upon my return to church that evening, I served as the substitute moderator for the Financial Peace University class being hosted at our church. In this gathering of ten individuals were three people I had never met before. As quiet as I had been for so much of the afternoon, this evening was just the opposite. I found great pleasure in meeting the three new people, and in participating in lively conversation with the entire group. I have already had email communications with the three new people since last night's gathering.
With such extremes being demonstrated in a very short period of my life - totally anti-social in the afternoon and functioning in the role of group catalyst in the evening - I started wondering if I might be bipolar?
The National Institute of Mental Health tells me that "bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks". Since this is not a description of what I was experiencing, I have concluded that my initial diagnosis of myself was a mistake. There also is good news for those with this disorder - the article goes on to say, "Treatment helps many people - even those with the most severe forms of bipolar disorder - gain better control of their mood swings and other bipolar symptoms. An effective treatment plan usually includes a combination of medication and psychotherapy (also called "talk therapy")."
Having dismissed my original diagnosis, my mind (strangely?) wanders off to a current GMC commercial with a theme of "the power of three". You may have seen it. In concludes with the statement "Three SUV's - One GMC".
Wow! I wonder where they got that idea? Our three-in-one God can manifest himself in the most unusual ways and places. One way in which he does this in my personal life is by reminding me that, while bipolar living may be unbalanced, generally the best balance is found with a three-legged stool type of life.
Allow me to offer you three different views of this one life. View One has legs of 1) private reading, meditation and prayer, 2) small group discussions and 3) corporate worship. View Two is of what makes for healthy small group discussions - 1) community building, 2) open discussion on God's Word, 3) prayer. View Three comes directly from God's Word: "He has told you, O man, what is good; what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6.8)
Moving from being bipolar to balanced is a good thing. A life that is out of balance generally ends up either using all of its energy fighting its internal disorder or completely falling apart. Balance brings productivity, peace and personal well-being. It also reflects the image of the One True God as described in John 15.26. Ah, the beauty of such a three-in-one life … and the true "power of three."