For some reason, talking about faith and mental health together feels awkward and it shouldn’t. I can’t put my finger on the why, but churches have shyed away from the conversation of mental health. We are afraid to have the discussion because maybe we don’t have all the answers.
And you know what? That is 100% ok to not have all the answers! If you are a church leader reading this today, I want to give you permission to not having all the answers and still being open to having this important dialogue within your community of believers.
How do we talk about mental health?
This is a great question with a simple answer:
Start by listening. Allow those in your flock to have the freedom to share about their own journey with mental health. The enemy has lied and convinced many that if they share, they will be rejected and turned out. They need to know you are open to hearing what they have to say.
After you have listened, take a step back and look at your own mental health. Be honest about where you are mentally and where you have been. If you are feeling anxious, depressed, or other overwhelming emotions, acknowledge their presence and know it is ok for you to do so.
Most importantly, look at how Jesus lived. God’s Word gives us several examples where Jesus is not simply a robot. He responds to different events with different emotions, BUT, He is not controlled by them. We find Him weeping over the death of Lazarus in John 11:35. We can see Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane sharing with the disciples how His soul is feeling overwhelmed. In Mark 14:34, He says, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” He goes on to ask His Abba Father to take the cup from Him but trusting that God’s will is best.
Jesus was honest and acknowledged all that was going on within His heart, but trusted His Father and in His purpose and plan.
Our faith and mental health DO go together. Listen. . .as a leader in the church and a believer of Jesus Christ, YOU are equipped to talk about this issue. We do not have the pressure on us to have all the answers. We know the One who does and He is ok with our honesty and transparency.
How will you be honest with Him today?