May is Mental Health Awareness Month
(Just a preface: I wrote this message for people that are struggling with mental health issues, and that may not be you. And that’s okay. If you are thriving in your mental health right now, praise God! That is such a gift and not one to be stewarded lightly. Thank God for the gift of mental health today and maybe press forward to someone you know that might be uplifted by the message that follows. God bless.)
May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
And I started writing a whole thing about the factors of modern living that contribute to mental health issues and how God created us for something different.
And that’s fine, and true, and okay, but I feel like the big thing I want to say today is that just like struggles in every other part of your life, struggles with mental health are not necessarily the result of doing something wrong.
They aren’t a judgement on you.
God is not sending these things like little lightning bolts of pain to try and punish you, or get to you, or anything else you might think as you’re slogging through it.
Like cancer and car accidents and truly awful haircuts, these things are terrible (to greatly varying degrees), but they happen.
And so, just like with cancer and car accidents and truly bad haircuts, when we walk through mental health struggles as Christians we are encouraged to seek healing. Seek wholeness. Seek the best help we can find to fix the problem.
Just like you wouldn’t try to pray away a broken leg, you don’t pray away depression. You don’t pray away compulsive behavior. You don’t pray away addiction.
You do pray about it - 100%, just like you would your broken leg - but you pray for swift healing. You pray for wisdom for your care team. You pray for renewed strength where something was broken. You pray for God’s glory to come out of the darkness, because that’s what it’s all about.
And yes, you may also pray for miraculous healing, which I completely believe God can provide, but you don’t typically stop there. It would be more than a little presumptuous to pray for a miracle and then put your feet up like you just ordered a pizza that will arrive in 30 minutes. You pray for a miracle AND do the things you need to in order to heal, trusting that God will provide whichever road he decides to take you on.
I have observed a unique and harmful stigma in many Christian circles when it comes to seeking mental health care, and I hope that's a cycle we can work together to put an end to.
Because just like God has gifted men and women with all kinds of talents and gifts to become good and competent surgeons and police officers and hairstylists, He has given a beautiful group of men and women the gifts they need to walk with those suffering with mental health issues. Counselors, therapists, doctors, neuroscientists - all these people and many others are created to be the hands and feet of Christ to those suffering in the most hidden and challenging ways.
The love of God is not solely something that comes down a heavenly conveyor belt from God straight to us. Sometimes it does, but very often God loves us through other people and the care that they give us.
And that is just as true for mental health struggles as it is for strep throat.
So if you or someone you know is not sure about seeking care for a mental health struggle, please know that it’s not just okay, but it’s encouraged for Christians to explore all their options.
Asking for help is never a sign of weakness or lack of faith. In fact, asking for help when you need it is one of the best ways you can truly honor the temple of the Holy Spirit that is YOU. In seeking the healing that we need we are accepting that we are worth it - worth the time, the effort, the struggle - and that is part of stepping into our true worth as beloved children of God.
If this is your struggle right now, know I am praying for you - that your unique path to wholeness will be revealed to you, that you will have the courage to walk it, and that you will be healed.P.S. Pink Salt Riot makes great gifts for graduates! Our You Are Tapestry (for girls) and our Trust in Him Valet tray (for guys) are especially good choices that will elevate any dorm room!