Mental illness is a deeply spiritual issue. Yes, mental illness is spiritual.
Just a few weeks ago I spoke to a group about mental illness. Several of the people in attendance opened up to share their own experiences, both personal and of loved ones, and a safe place was created for a conversation to take place; a conversation that typically no one wants to have. At the end of the presentation a woman waited until everyone else had left to share how much she appreciated my talk. She explained that years ago her husband had committed suicide but because of the guilt and shame she carried, she has only told two other people the cause of his death. She has never been able to admit that her husband took his own life. Her husband was mentally ill. All these years this beautiful woman has walked in a state of guilt, shame, and isolation because she did not feel that she could be honest about her husband’s death. Think of the weight she has been carrying. Friends this is not the way God wants us to live.
God is not the creator of mental illness. God is not the creator of anything bad that happens in life. Mental illness happens because we live in a broken world. There are imperfections and flaws all around us every day and mental illness is a part of the brokenness. God is the creator of goodness, of health, and of abundant life. God does not want anyone to suffer, but when we do suffer, He is there to provide comfort and strength.
In the past year the issue of mental illness has begun to come into the light. Following the horrific and unspeakable shootings in Aurora, CO and Newtown, CT, it has become more apparent that the issue of mental illness must be addressed. No one wants to discuss it. No one wants to admit that they or someone they love has it. No one wants to provide treatment for it and no one wants to be associated with it. As a result, we have allowed the issue of mental illness to remain hidden in the darkness.
The darkness is where evil lurks.
As long as the issue of mental illness remains in the darkness, the results will continue to be isolation, guilt, shame, secrecy, and fear. None of this is of God. God does not want us to walk in isolation He wants us to walk in community. God does not want us to walk in guilt He wants us to walk blamelessly. God does not want us to walk in shame He wants us to walk in confidence. God does not want us to walk in secrecy He wants us to walk in transparency. God does not want us to walk in fear He wants us to walk in faith.
If we are going to overcome the darkness we MUST bring the issue of mental illness into the Light; the Light of Christ.
“For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of the darkness,’ who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6
With Christ there is freedom from guilt, shame, and fear.
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17
With Christ there is confidence, not in who we are, but in whose we are; even if we or a loved one suffers from the affliction of mental illness we can walk boldly and confidently in the fact that we belong to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
“This was in accordance with the eternal purpose that he has carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in Him.” Ephesians 3:11-12
With Christ there is community, a place to share our burdens, lift one another up in prayer, and carry each other along on the journey.
“Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
With Christ we are blameless; there is no shame or guilt.
“May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do this.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
With Christ, there is faith and with Him there is no need for fear.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1
Jesus came so that we can have life and live it abundantly. Jesus came so that we can experience joy. As long as there is isolation, guilt, shame, secrecy, and fear, we are robbing ourselves of the joy that Christ has in store for us. As long as there is isolation, guilt, shame, secrecy, and fear, we are robbing ourselves of the abundant life for which Jesus died. It’s time to fess up! It’s time to begin the conversation. It’s time to be honest, be transparent, be blameless, and walk in faith. It’s time to address mental illness as a spiritual issue.
Join me in bringing mental illness out of the darkness and into the light. Speak up and Speak out. You are not alone.
“In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39