Do you know those parts in the bible when they say: be anxious for nothing; let your heart not be troubled; trust in the Lord; and fear not for I am with you? I had always thought those words to be meant to comfort me in times in times of struggle. However, when I found myself with a full blown anxiety disorder, I looked to the church for guidance and was surprised at the response. In short, I was told that being anxious was a sin because it meant that I was not trusting in the Lord.
Well friends, I am here to tell you that statement is oversimplified and not exactly true, in my opinion. While some churches do hold a stigma over mental health, it is not THE church that perpetuates that lie. It is super important to remember that a church is just a building and a denomination is just a label. THE church to me is people who believe in loving like Jesus. And guest what? Jesus loves everyone. Even those of us who struggle with overly anxious thoughts.
Jesus also heals. He healed the sick, the lame, the lepers, the blind – you name it. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind now that He left these words to help heal myself and others who struggle with anxiety: “be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6,7)
My prayer for you is this: that you not give up hope. That you not let a bad church experience keep you from seeking the comfort and unconditional love that Jesus has for you. That you protect your heart from this world so that it may be ready for Him one day.
(Also, I found the book, “Walking on Water When You Feel Like You’re Drowning: Finding Hope in Life’s Darkest Moments” a huge help. It is written in part by a local New Braunfels pastor and is currently available for $13 on Amazon).
XO – Olivia