What do you do with nasty hurt in your heart that feels like physical pain? Deny it? Medicate it? Or, acknowledge it and explore meaningful conclusions?
I’d never wish the darkness of mental illness on anyone, but if it wasn’t for anorexia, bulimia, anxiety and depression, I don’t know if I would be a Christian today. There seems to be a pattern common to many Christ-followers who also live with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc. Here’s how I now characterize the five stages in my relationship with Christ, and the spiritual growth He worked through each stage to the next.
What do you think happens to a teenager when one of the main authority figures in his life lets him know in no uncertain terms, without words, that he doesn’t matter to your church environment? God offers us all incredible love and grace, but as His followers we have the responsibility to love others with both truth and grace, even when we don’t understand what we’re seeing.
When my cat died, chewy.com showed great care and concern for my loss, even beyond the principles of the Golden Rule. Chewy went all the way to the Platinum Rule. And the Platinum Rule is how churches can make mental health ministry happen and be successful.
Janet Parshall issued a powerful call to the church to minister more effectively to persons with mental illness in this keynote presentation from Inclusion Fusion Live 2019, a national disability ministry conference hosted by Key Ministry. She identifies key biblical figures who experienced symptoms of mental illness, challenges church leaders to end their stigmatization of persons with mental health issues and pastors to begin addressing the topic in the course of their preaching.
One of the critical pieces of making life work around mental health issues is self-care. How do you minimize the effect that mental health issues are going to have? How do you give yourself the resiliency to bounce back if something happens? How do you maintain the self-care to survive situations that feel more like a gauntlet than a punch in the gut?