For years, I believed exactly what Christine Caine’s quote says: God can do in a second what you have been unable to do alone for years. But it only led me away from Christ.
It seems that sucky days are a universal experience. We can’t survive on an island. Isolation is miserable, especially for someone who struggles with depression or anxiety or self-esteem issues. Finding the guts to say, “Today sucks. Can we talk?” sometimes changes everything.
I hate when I feel this way. I hate the semi-permanent knot in the back of my throat, the avoiding eye contact with co-workers and the constant urge to go home. But the feelings persist. I hate the shame that comes along with it, whispering, “What a loser. Get your shit together. What’s wrong with you?” I hate the shame that comes from years of being raised as a religious kid, the lies that tell me I’m not a real Christian or I wouldn’t have these struggles.
But then I remember the words our pastor spoke Sunday…
My faith matters to me. I read the Bible. I attend church. I pray when something is weighing heavily on me. But while I used to find my identity only in the label of “Christian” or in the name recognition of my local church, I’ve realized people care much more about whether I am kind than whether I have faith.
Mental health and faith can feel like two separate worlds. For many people, they look at life as either spiritual or physical/mental. Mixing the two is like trying to mix steak and Kraft Dinner. They just don’t seem to fit. But this is not healthy, because a healthy mind is a healthy soul. Check out this post for 7 ways faith can help you with the weight of living.
If the Prodigal Son had been able to work through the smothering lies that come with shame, would he have come home sooner? I’ve heard others ask it this way: “If the Prodigal Son had Xanax, would he have ever come home?”
Early in recovery, my biggest struggle with returning to the Church was getting past that sense of not being good enough. My fear of being compared to all the other “normal” Christians made it very hard to believe in a Father who was inherently good, patient, and kind. The Church had been my home for nearly three decades, but after such a massive personal failure, I wasn’t sure how I fit into it anymore. From my own experience, the Church knows how to deal with addiction, adultery, and anger. But mental illness dumbfounds them.