Christians and Mental Health

In light of World Mental Health Day, I felt the need to pay homage and express something that has been on my mind lately. This is a topic that I am very passionate about and I believe that those who struggle with mental illness of any kind and stature should have a voice. Not just a voice, but a voice that is heard; and not only heard, but understood. Unfortunately, I find this harder amongst the Christian community and I feel for them, deeply.

I was raised entirely in a Christian home and went to church all my life. Sadly the stigma is so thick that it can be frustrating and seemingly impossible for young people to cut through. The mere mental struggles that our Christian youth are grappling with are simply painted over with broad strokes of “Christians shouldn’t be depressed, you need to trust in God and pray more” or “The bible says ‘be anxious about nothing’ so you shouldn’t have anxiety”. Now I am in no way degrading the bible or the power of prayer. I completely believe that God can heal a person’s mind, but first we must acknowledge that this person’s mind is in fact, ill.

This is where I pose a problem. Mental health is rarely discussed in the church and I feel that most think that it is a rather hostile environment to talk about these issues. It breaks my heart to see so many youth profusely drowning in mental illness because they cannot have a healthy conversation in the church or with their families. Therefore it is hard for them to get the adequate help that they need because nobody takes them seriously. If someone were to reveal that they had cancer (which I have seen many times in my church), the whole congregation would crowd over this person to pray and offer support through money, food, time, encouragement, etc. Yes, I’m sure they would share a few scriptures in this trying time, but they would not use them to downplay the fact that this individual’s body is ill. I’m sure they would positively tell this person to “trust in God and He’ll bring you through it” instead of using the tone of “this is happening because you are not trusting in God enough”. I could be missing the mark on this, but I’m speaking from my personal experience.

We live in a fallen world and our bodies are susceptible to disease and ailments. So wouldn’t it make sense that our brains are just as susceptible to ailments as well? Our minds get sick just like our bodies get sick. Thus, we take the proper precautions to insure that our bodies get well. Why can’t we do the same for our minds? We can start by having the conversation in a very open, non-judgmental manner. We need to become more aware of those battling with mental health problems, especially the youth because they may not know how to cope as well. We need to come alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ who are wallowing in the trenches and offer them a hand of support, to encourage them and let them know that are seen and heard. We need to prominently bust through the thick wall of stigma and vividly build something new. We need to take action, both as individuals and as the church. God could use you to help someone in their healing process, and I believe that we need to create an environment where this very thing can happen.

 

Advertisements

Ribbons

Scarlet ribbons made of silk

come wrap around this heart

firmly embrace it like a bandage

mend all where it bleeds

Let the meandering of these thoughts be crystalized

Preserved for the heightened opportunity

to differentiate and to initiate

the movement

the call

O but insecurities can be embedded so deeply!

Their roots have become so prominent that

it almost cut off the life source

but like a great gardener

we must pull up the weeds

and in its place

sow meaningful seeds

Yet it must be intentional

purposeful

by design

The wave of healing is rising

let it fall and cleanse all who stand in its way.

 

 

 

 

 

The Process

The glimmer is on your back

Turn around so you can see it

Bewildered are you? I understand.

It’s all a part of the process

Granted, each day that we live

We live to grasp the purpose

The perplexity of it all

Sometimes doesn’t make sense

But that’s all a part of the process

The recipe for reconciliation

Is often embellished

Perhaps to encourage the tenacity

To provoke a change in the city

Your city

Who stirs the pot in your heart?

Why can’t you run from it?

The circular motion entices you

You sway with the rhythm

It goes deeper

Until it is fully embedded in your soul

Now what?

You take the pen

I trust you with it

Your handwriting is a beautiful thing

The world needs to see it

But beyond the surface

Know that whatever it takes

Will be worth the fight

Trust me,

Its all

A part of

The process

 

Life as We Know It

This.

 

This is life

life as we know it

 

The magnitude and multitude of fulfillment and agony

abundance and scarcity

Where the moxie of the unexpected meets the rush of the persistent

and happenstance makes it’s home in the quarries of modest aspirations

 

This is life

life as we know it

 

Where the rivers of joy flow into the sea of sadness

only to evaporate into condensed experiences

 

This is life

life as we know it

 

Where hindsight is one of the most trustworthy friends

and error is the best teacher

Where the flavors of salt and sugar interplay into an intricate dance

of wisdom and discernment

 

This is life

life as we know it

 

Where fear and excitement are at opposite ends of the rope

constantly pulling for the upper hand

Where guilt comes with a vengeance

and grief is a numbing mechanism of the heart

Where jealousy is like a dangerous cancer to cells of your soul

and resentment is as good as decay to your bones

 

This is life

life as we know it

 

Where healing is in the works

and restoration is beginning to come in view

Where the ordinary deem itself extraordinary

and individuality is hidden in the masses

just waiting to be found

 

This is life

life as we know it

 

moving

growing

stretching far into the unknown

so much to be discovered

so much to be remembered

so much to be remembered by

so much to leave behind

 

So this is life!

life as we know it

 

A canvas to make our artistic contributions

whatever medium we may choose

we all leave a stroke on this

wonderful

bewildering

confusing

satisfactory

terrifying yet rewarding

abstract work called Life

 

This is life

life as we know it

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inner Conversations

Breathe deep, O soul
Breathe deep.

Why are you so cast down?
Why are you fatigued?

What is stirring inside of thee
That leaves you restless?

What is the silence muttering to you?
Do you even speak the same tongue?

What is moving you?
What is halting you?

Where is the pinnacle?
Is it even in view?

Look yonder, young soul
What lies beneath the evident

Can you feel it?
Is it brilliant?

The hope is fresh
Like the morning dew

Don’t run
Come back

Be still
Breathe

Be.

Creative Musings

Creativity soars ahead
young and free
knowing only itself
dashing across the moonlight
skipping through uncharted grounds
rolling along the shores of splendor
grazing the fields of hope
touching the fire of zeal
it makes a home
in the midst of every soul
hidden
waiting
hidden
waiting
begging to be known
to unmask the beauty
that was once denied
sometime ago

To the Eager Heart

Vigilance
Sharp wit
Awareness
Clarity
Completely in tune to all surroundings
Forging through all dazes
Clasping what is yet to be heard
That is what is preferred
Swiftness
Piercing through all lies
Fortitude
Abundance in understanding
Awaken
To your potential
The beacon of light approaches you
That is your legacy
Vivacity
Tenacity
Is calling
Answer
To your destiny
Reach
To the heightened bar
And climb
Tell me what you find.