Navigating Mental Health
Mental Health or the lack thereof is something affecting so many of us. Walt brings to light the value and blessings of prioritizing mental health in our families.
His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. John 9:2-3
God can redeem our brokenness for His glory.
Four of us sat in a booth for breakfast. All of us were committed Christians with long marriages. We had met on a trip to Israel and all seemed to have successful careers, with two being multi-millionaires and the four of us having twelve earned degrees between us. We also had in common the experience of taking a child to a psych ward or a treatment facility for mental health and addiction issues. For the first time in our lives we spoke of the shame, confusion and heartache of trying to lead our family amidst the challenge of navigating mental health. The bad power of a secret was broken, and we experienced the fellowship of kindred souls. In the years since this meeting I have come to realize mental health issues impact most families, so we should discuss how we pay attention to this important topic.
- All of us are “broken” in various ways. Mentally, emotionally, spiritually, financially, sexually, relationally – we have highs and lows. Some of our brokenness is because of our personal sin (Romans 3:23 & 6:23). Some brokenness is the result of the sin of others impacting us (2 Samuel 13). Some brokenness is us living in a fallen world that “stains” our soul (James 1:27). And, some brokenness is our bodies or minds failing us over time (Isaiah 40:30).
- We should all strive to lead a life encouraging those around us to be as healthy as possible in every facet of life. God’s Word speaks of our value and thus the importance of us being healthy. “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
- Seek out the help you need from the most wise and godly individuals possible. “Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” (Proverbs 4:6-7). When individuals experience physical illness most believers have no problem seeking medical care. When we see mental illness or emotionally destructive behaviors seek good emotional care. Mental disorders span such a breadth of symptoms and treatments. In my years of ministry I have met individuals with: Autism spectrum disorder, Bipolar disorder, Major depressive disorder; Obsessive-compulsive disorder; Panic disorder; Paranoid personality disorder; Phobic disorder; Primary insomnia; Separation anxiety disorder; Seasonal affective disorder; Social anxiety disorder. These are wonderful people who need support and encouragement to courageously face their mental health issues.
My challenge for each of us is to be individuals who display grace and kindness to the hurting all around us as fellow “broken” people.