Mental Health & Christianity: How We as Believers Can Do Better
Mental health according to the World Health Organization is “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”
Many things contribute to the true state of the well-being of humans either negatively or positively. As human beings, we are products of the society and community we have found ourselves, the norms and beliefs we have been accustomed to, bits of information we have seen or heard, and ideologies we have been taught which formulates into the opinions we end up having, and our perspective about life and it’s various issues.
This is not any different for Christians as well. As sons and daughters of God, we are products of salvation and grace. Before our encounter and conviction in Christ, we had opinions and beliefs of our own that we thought to be ideal and right, which in the process has made us attached to so many things that we just can’t let go of easily.
This, in the long run, affects the true state of our mental health and in this article, some triggers that affect the mental health of Christians would be looked upon and more light would be shed.
The feeling of sadness that comes from Sinning against God
There is a sadness that comes from habitually sinning against God which is not highlighted as much as it should be.
Yes, God saves and his grace is sufficient and many often talk about how God forgives our sins and his arms are wide open to receive and welcome us back when we stray away but what about the sadness that settles in the soul, drains, saps away every tinge of hope, and diminishes every belief we have that we can ever please God?
It’s not always easy to approach God in prayer to confess the same sins over and over and over again. Like a never-ending routine of satisfying fleshly desires.
What about the feeling of even being disgusted by the sound of your voice? You are too ashamed especially when you know you could have exercised a bit more self-control and could have been able to overcome that temptation?
It’s a different kind of pain and sadness all together because at that moment, the feeling that you can never make God happy, make any progress in your journey as a Christian, get anything right, or that you can never be enough all weighs down heavily on the soul.
Anxiety is never spoken about enough in the life of a Christian and the immense dangers it does in terms of making an individual feel like nothing. Sometimes, it’s not even about the 24/7 prayers. There’s a lot more to it.
The lack of encouragement, unity, and brotherhood in Christ especially when a fellow Christian transits from their line of faith.
Faith is a daily decision that takes everything in man to chose. It’s easy to deviate from, lose or even transit from the faith we have like an anchor and it can be due to a lot of things. But when it is a transition from a line of faith particularly due to a mighty storm that weighs down on one’s spiritual health, how does the association of that individual help him rise? It is only adequate that a clique of people who are aligned in the same direction of faith help a brother amongst
them who isn’t standing so uprightly or has fallen along the way get back on his feet again.
Instead, many chose the easier route of being cold and judgemental towards them.
The many are those who claim to be “true Christians” but are quick to treat them as aliens and abominations. People enjoy beating each other up instead of working to heal each other.
Whatever that individual can be going through might really be a heavy burden on their shoulders and instead of sharing the pain and the strife that comes from carrying those burdens with them, we make the burden a lot heavier to carry.
This is one bizarre factor that can weigh down the mental health of a Christian faster than any other thing. The first point discussed above is a gradual diminishing process because at first, we think we can make things right after the first time we sin against God so at least, there’s a bit of hope but what ray of hope is to be found amongst a folk of judgmental and unwelcoming Christian brethren?
It’s like an endless tunnel, with no light in far sight because we are not supposed to walk through the journey of life alone.
The obsession for perfectionism.
The world is quick to call a Christian a hypocrite but sometimes, it just might be the pressure that comes from being put on the pedestal as a believer. We could be struggling with a sin that we are trying/preaching to help another person overcome. If we are doing our best to free ourselves from that sin then where is the hypocrisy in that? Why don’t we ever put into consideration the fact that we are all operating by the grace of God alone?
We believe that God detests sin and that Jesus Christ is the savior. We are only hypocrites if we preach or advocate for what we don’t believe. Still, we are all learning. We don’t have to be perfect to uplift a fellow Christian. If we have to wait to be perfect, then many wounded souls would be left untouched and inspired.
But if this simple fact can’t be comprehended by a vast population of obtuse people, then there would always be the need to prove that you’re not a stagnant Christian. But the truth is, giving your life to Christ is no automatic process.
Change never occurs overnight. It takes a good number of years but as a result of bad mental health, there’s always the need to give a response to negative people that we’re walking in the true walk of Christianity, whereas honesty is simply all it takes.
Honesty is quite an overlooked quality but for Christians, it’s important to stay true to whatever stage we are in and what obstacles we face. It’s important to shed more light on the ills that we face that trigger the state of our mental health because we are only humans with God as a factor that differentiates us.
If we can own up to these issues of mental health, then it would be known to many and perhaps the world would be a better place. Many CHH artists who are at the top today have had to deal with a problem that triggered their mental health.
In the lyrics of Andy Mineo in “Shame” and “Family Photo,” the rapper talked about his addiction to pornography, how he at first didn’t see the problem in it, and the effect that his father’s absence on his wedding day had on him.
Lecrae’s “Unashamed” gave more insight into the effects of fatherlessness on the author as he grew up; smoking, drinking, sex, hoodlum behaviors all as a result of a lack of direction but what made the difference, in the long run, was their openness and honesty towards their weaknesses and them admitting that they needed Jesus to take the wheel.