Find part 1 here
The world, in general, is not a safe place to struggle. So often we feel as if we have to put on a front to look like the best employee, the best mom, the best husband or wife. As much as I like social media, the explosion of it in the last decade has made this issue grow exponentially. We are seeing the highlight reel of everyone’s lives on constant loop and can’t help but compare.
With Pinterest and HGTV it’s no longer okay to just be a normal woman, you have to do it with mason jars and spray painted lawn furniture.
And then there’s the church.
I don’t know when things got skewed, but at some point the place we should feel at home and able to be ourselves became a place where we had to mask our struggles the most. We put on our Sunday best, make sure the whole family looks ship shape, and paste on smiles for all the other strugglers smiling back at us.
That is not Jesus.
Jesus says to come to him if you’re weary. He said he came for the sick and the helpless. It’s not the well who need a physician, but the sick. He didn’t chose to spend his time with the people who had it all together, he hung out with the broken ones.
He came for us. He came for you.
So, no matter what message you receive from the world outside the walls of the church, or even (unfortunately) from the brothers and sisters inside, let me say to you right now – It’s okay to struggle.
Struggling with any issue, even mental issues, does not mean that you are less of a Christ follower. It means you’re human. It means you need grace and mercy.
You need the gospel. We all do.
For actual major depression or people dealing with anxiety disorders, anxiety attacks, or panic disorders, it is an ILLNESS. Like diabetes or cancer.
Something in our body went wrong and made us sick. Would you make someone who has diabetes feel like less of a Christian if they couldn’t pray their way to level blood sugar? Would you question chemotherapy in a brother or sister who has cancer because it might just be a “crutch” to get them through the sickness?
Of course not.
God gave us doctors, medicine, and therapists to HELP us. It’s a gift of grace.
When Paul was instructing Timothy on how to pastor his flock, one of the things he told him was to stop drinking only water but to add a little wine to help his “stomach and frequent ailments” (1 Timothy 5:23). Paul didn’t tell him to pray more or confess sin, he told him to change his habits and use their equivalent of medicine. I have no doubt that there are issues and illnesses brought about by spiritual oppression or sin, but don’t assume by default that this is always the problem. For other people, or for yourselves.
Mostly for yourself. Give yourself grace to heal.
We all struggle, it’s part of life on this earth. If you (or someone you love) struggle with anxiety or depression, you are sick – not weak. You may get better with time, attention, and prayer; or you may need outside medical attention to get through it.
Either way, it’s okay to struggle. We all do. And sometimes we can even be thankful for it because it points us even more to how much we truly need Jesus.
Did you need to hear that “it’s okay” today? If you need someone to talk to, or just need a community to feel free to struggle, please email me or join the community here. It’s easier to struggle when we do it together.