Mental health issues are often misunderstood.
If someone has diabetes, they go to the doctor. They get the treatment they need. However, depression and anxiety are often viewed differently. As someone who suffers from chronic anxiety, I was told once, “Can’t you just get over that?”
In the church, mental illness is often misunderstood and rarely talked about. Aren’t Christians supposed to be happy? Doesn’t God say in the Bible, “Don’t be anxious?” We just need more faith, right?
The reality is that there are many people walking through the doors of churches every Sunday who suffer with chronic anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders. Many of them feel ashamed because they don’t think they should struggle in this way. They don’t know how to talk about it. They don’t know if they should talk about it.
But depression does not mean they lack faith. It just means they are human.
Those of us in the church must understand that suffering with depression or anxiety does not mean someone is less of a Christian. It does mean that they struggle with real issues that often get bottled up inside them.
God doesn’t want us to live in despair. Jesus died so that we could live abundant lives. There is freedom from depression, but, first, we must talk about it. Being open about mental illness takes courage. But healing begins when those who suffer are met with love and acceptance.
Lord, help me be open and understanding to those who struggle with anxiety and depression. Help me to listen and offer hope. Amen.
Consider this: If you or someone you know suffers with depression, there is real hope. You don’t simply have to cope. If you need to talk with someone, connect with one of our mentors today or find a support ministry group or a licensed Christian counselor in your area.
Additional Resources: Fighting for Joy as a Christian with Depression and How Therapy Changed My Life as a Christian
Photo Credit: Annie Theby