Permission from a psychiatrist to do something crazy


“Crazy” isn’t  a word I throw around much. It’s a loaded and pejorative term, but one we are all familiar with. For the purposes of this post, the term refers to doing something out of character or seemingly unreasonable.
Some of the most beautiful things I have been a part of, have been crazy. What appears as foolishness to the world can be just the thing the Lord wants to use to move into everything He has for you.
Being open to crazy really just means you are operating in faith. Somewhere along the way we have lost sight of this. Somehow we have come to believe that faith is about getting something from God, but I believe it is about God getting something from us.   We are told that without faith it is impossible to please God, we are also told that He is the author and perfector of our faith. So why then do we think that faith is “us” focused. Faith is always God focused. It’s a vehicle to salvation and perfection, not towards comfort and desires.  Psalm 37:4 tells us if we take delight in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart.  The word used for “give” has several possible translations.  One translation means to grant, as in to grant a wish, however, some other options include: to bestow, or to assign.
Reading that verse for most of my life, I believed it meant that whatever I wanted, God would give me, If I prayed enough, went to church enough or read the Bible enough.  What I’ve come to believe, is that if we seek Him, he assigns desires to our heart that we are meant to follow with sold out passion.  Getting what your flesh wants doesn’t require faith, but moving towards what God wants can only happen through faith.  If you want to do something crazy, make sure it’s something God is calling you to.
There are so many examples of this in scripture, I don’t even know where to begin.  From Noah to Abraham to Gideon to the apostles . . . the list goes on and on.  It’s easy to get complacent when we read biblical examples, because we are far removed from them, and they seem too lofty.  But, if you need inspiration, look no further than the people in your own life.  So many around us have done something “crazy”, we need only to ask about their journeys.
Allow me to share some of our journey, as my life has rarely been without a fair share of crazy.  Early in our marriage, I was digging ditches for a living.  I had barely graduated high school (scholastically and chronologically), and we were living in a little house, and my wife was pregnant with our first baby.  We wanted to serve God, but had a limited scope on how that could happen.  The biggest desire of my heart was to live in that house for the rest of our lives and maybe go to Lake of the Ozarks once a year if we were lucky.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but God had different plans.
A year or so later, a job switch and a sudden desire for education found me trying to balance working 12 hours a day and trying to make it to night school.  I didn’t even know why I started going to school; I hated school.  I found myself frustrated and struggling to keep focused on anything.  Our second child was just a new born as I left for work before the sun was up.  With a heavy heart, I loaded the mowers on a trailer, and set out for the day.  I was mowing grass . . . like a lot.  I wasn’t particularly good at it either.  As I sat on a mower, striping the lawn of someone I’d never met, I began to vent to God.  (Side note, be careful when venting to God).
I told Him how I was frustrated.  I complained that I was trying to do what He wanted, but that it seemed like I was always spinning my wheels.  I groaned that He’d allowed me to return to school, only to flounder and never succeed at anything.
Okay, so I’d like to preface this next part with a disclaimer.  I am a board certified psychiatrist.  I’ve been trained to understand what hallucinations and delusions are.  That being said . . . when you complain to God and demand a reply . . . He reserves the right to show up.  As clearly as an audible voice, I had the sudden and unmistakable message that I was supposed to quit my job, and go to school full time.  Not only that, I was supposed to go to medical school and become a psychiatrist.
Please understand me, when I heard this, it was the craziest thing I could have imagined.  I did not have the privilege of knowing what I know now; namely, that it would all work out.  I was a near high school dropout, taking classes at a community college and struggling to pass those.  I spent every day outside sweating for a living, and struggled to support my growing family.  This was crazy.  More than one person gently told me as much.  I can’t blame them, if I knew someone attempting the same thing, I’d advise them to give it some thought as well.
Guess what?  Doing what we did took faith.  It had nothing to do with what we wanted, but everything to do with the desire God placed in our hearts (I say we, because my wife went through as much or more than I did through all of this).  What looked crazy to everyone around us, was as certain as the sun rising, because it was something crazy God led us to do.
If you want to be crazy, practice praying.  Then practice being ready to do whatever desire He places in your heart.  It probably won’t be something you already want.  Doing what you want doesn’t lead to growth, and faith should always grow you.
If you want to be crazy, practice listening to God.  Being crazy without hearing God, is, well . . . crazy.
 If you want to be crazy, find people who do crazy things and learn from them.  Ask them to pray for you.  Ask them for advice when you are having a hard time hearing God.
Finally, if you want to be crazy, be ready to go through ups and downs.  Faith doesn’t accomplish much in your life if it moves in a straight line.  The best long distance runners don’t run on a treadmill, and the most skilled sailors don’t sail on ponds.  Difficulty accomplishes complexity.  The result is beautiful if you trust God.
Life is painted on too big of a canvas to be appreciated all at once.  It’s better to trust the artist.

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