Hey friend, there’s something I think we need to address because it’s weighing on my heart. There’s this stigma I want to break, and out of all the faith bloggers I follow, very few are addressing it . . . so here I go.
Mental illness does not mean you don’t have faith. Period.
I’ve been sharing a lot on my faith-based blog about my struggle with mental illness—anxiety and depression—and the response I’ve gotten has been alarming.
Things like “pray it away” or “live a more God-centered life” or “faith over fear” (admittedly, I do have a shirt that says this as a reminder to myself).
Yes, these are things I’ve done. Of course, I’m going to run to Jesus first when looking for help putting my anxious heart at rest or to help me have a more positive outlook on life. How could I call myself a believer if He wasn’t the first person I went to when I have struggles in life?
Having a mental illness does not mean you don’t believe in God or that you don’t have faith.
Let’s say it again, together this time—mental illness does not mean you don’t have faith.
Having a mental illness means there is something chemically wrong with your brain. Just as God has made physical disabilities, learning disabilities, cancer, and other illnesses, He made mental illness.
Just like all the other trials and tribulations that others go through in this world, mine is mental illness. This is my test. The test He’s given to me to persevere through so that I could come out on the other side and help others going through this same trial.
I first experienced depression at the age of 14. I contemplated ending it there and ran from my faith as well. And while the enemy tried to tell me the story was over and to put a period there, God wanted to use a semicolon.
Mental illness doesn’t make me less Christian.
In fact, it does the opposite and makes me rely on my faith even more. And while I rely on my Lord and Savior, I also rely on a little pill to balance my brain and keep me in check. That little pill makes me a better mom, wife, daughter, and friend to those around me.
So if you’re struggling with mental illness and you’re told to believe that you need to pray harder and that will solve it for you . . . yes, you need to pray about it, but I will tell you what He told me, go get the help too. Your prayers can carry you and give you strength, but the doctors God has given knowledge to in order to treat illnesses, they can help you.
Seek the Lord, and He will tell you to seek help.
And if you feel like that makes you feel like you’re faith is weak, I’m going to remind you of this verse: “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12, NIV).
I pray you know He loves you and He knows you have faith because having a mental illness does not mean you don’t have faith. It’s just as He created you. He wrote this story. It’s your trial. And you can and WILL persevere through this, just don’t be afraid to seek help.