It’s okay to love Jesus and have anxiety. Feeling depressed does not mean your faith just isn’t as strong as it should be. Mental health issues are not a sign that your prayer life is weak or flawed. Being depressed, or being anxious, or facing any other mental health challenge simply means you’re human.
As people become more aware of mental health challenges, the old stigmas surrounding them have slowly been disappearing and people have been more understanding. That said, there are many churches where leaders and members may not understand mental health as well as they should, making life difficult for people of faith who struggle with their mental health.
When pastors and others urge people with mental health challenges to pray more or to find all the answers in Scripture, they’re not being cruel or insensitive. It’s just they haven’t learned the reality that conditions such as anxiety and depression are generally caused by medical issues, not from a lack of faith. Medical science has learned a great deal about the chemistry that makes our brains and bodies work, helping doctors and counselors become more effective at treating conditions.
Can prayer help when you’re depressed or anxious? Absolutely. So can being around other people, such as your worship group at church. Remembering that God has a purpose for you can also help you get through rough times. But sometimes, faith just isn’t enough. There are times when we need the extra support that comes with sitting down with a professional counselor who can help us better understand our challenges and share effective ways to address them. In some cases, we may even need the help of medications to correct issues in our body chemistry.
The professional counselors at Care to Change use our God-given gifts and talents to serve those in need. Our faith is the foundation of our work, and we see every interaction with the people we help as an opportunity to reflect God’s love and hope, as well as a way to help them connect with God’s purpose for their lives. Our training and experience have taught us a great deal about mental health, and we don’t see therapy or medications as separate from God’s plan. We recognize them as tools God has made available to support those who need them.
If you’ve been feeling depressed, anxious, or troubled and have been hesitant to see a counselor because you think it would make you a bad person in God’s eyes, please contact us. You are a good person who is loved, and we know God wants you to live this life to its fullest. We’d like to walk alongside you on this part of our journey.
And if you’re a pastor or church leader, we’d be happy to present a workshop to your pastoral team or your congregation to strengthen everyone’s understanding of mental health and what we can all do to walk with our brothers and sisters who are in need.
Brittany Gipson helps children, adolescents, and adults cope with and overcome mental health and addiction-related illnesses.