Anxiety, depression, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder – the list of mental illnesses is endless, but oftentimes it feels that the treatment options are not. We go to church on Sundays, pray, read the Bible…and yet, most of the time it isn’t enough. We do all the “right things” and can’t understand when we fall short. It doesn’t make sense, but neither does mental illness.
We are in a peak season of depression and anxiety. The lack of vitamin D, the short days, and stress of the holidays sends us into pits of restlessness and apathy. We become accustomed to going through the motions and settle for “just getting through” the winter months. Maybe if we could just push past it–survive–the summer would be better.
But we aren’t called to survive. We are called to thrive.
I say that very cavalier, I know. Who am I to tell you how to handle this dark period? The unending panic attacks, flashbacks, and pits of depression when you just can’t get out of bed? But this statement does not come from an attitude of dismissiveness; it comes out of a messy, scary, anxiety-riddled pit in the bottom of my stomach. In my periods of depression and anxiety, a call to action is the very last thing that I want. I want to curl up on the couch and let life move along around me. I want to go through the motions and hope that one day I’ll wake up and miraculously be better. But that still, small Voice whispers to me, even on the couch…“I made you for more.”
“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory” (Romans 8:14-17, NIV).
I know that when we are clawing our way through the healing process it’s easy to forget Whose child we are. The last thing we may want to do is stand up and claim that identity, especially when just getting out of bed in the morning seems impossible. But I urge you – as a child of God – to take those next steps so you can begin unveiling His purpose for your life.
Wake up first thing in the morning, grab your bible, and invite Jesus into your day.
Go to your counseling appointment even when you really want to stay home.
Take your meds, even when it’s the last thing you want to do.
Find someone you can talk to about the difficulties of life and mental illness.
It’s not easy. It’s a hard, sometimes lifelong process – but you are not your struggle. You have a call-to-action. You have an ordained purpose from God (Philippians 1:6). You were designed to thrive.
What next steps are you willing to take in order to thrive during this difficult season?
If you or someone you know is battling with any form of mental illness, please reach out to us or a professional and we will walk with you every step of the way.