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Inspiration

To the Girl Battling With Mental Health Who Doubts Her Faith

The mind is a great tool, but it can make a terrible master. It’s hard to navigate life confidently when your thoughts have become your worst enemy. If no one else in your life seems to understand this, I get it.

Battling with depression and anxiety can feel shameful. We carry this insecurity that if something is deeply wrong with us, then God isn’t with us or can’t use us. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, the truth is that God is close to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18). He draws near to our brokenness. He’s not ashamed of us. He called you according to His purpose with your shortcomings in mind. You were fully taken into account when He crafted you into this world.

If you’re battling with mental health and feeling less than Christian, I want to take the time to speak faith into your spirit from someone who has fought and overcome and continues to navigate this journey. Here are some important things to take to heart.

 

1. It’s a human issue.

Depression and anxiety do not discriminate against age, race, gender or faith. We live in imperfect bodies in a broken world. As long as we’re human, illness and suffering are inevitable. As Christians, we can face this with hope because Jesus has saved our soul from ever perishing, which is so much greater than these physical and mental illnesses.

I explain all of this to say don’t be so quick to shame your faith when it’s really just a part of being human. There are so many causes surrounding a breakdown in mental health such as genetics, chemical imbalances in the brain and traumatic events in life that have reshaped the way we think. The good news is recovery is available to you with the proper help! God has endowed counselors and professionals with the gifts and skills to help reduce some of our suffering and equip us to live fully functioning lives again.

 

2. You are not your struggle.

You may be struggling with depression, but you are not defined by depression.

You may be struggling with anxiety or a psychiatric disorder, but that does not define who you are as a person.

Don’t let intrusive and shaming thoughts convince you that you are what you think you are. You are not your thoughts, either.

There are so many other aspects of yourself to consider! You are a daughter, a sister, a student, a professional, a leader. You have your own passions and skills to offer the world. You are so much more than how you feel.

Be able to separate your struggle from your identity. No matter what you face, at the core you are who God says you are and that’s final. He has already defined and marked you as His. Mental illness can’t change that. 

 

3. You are not alone.

Ever since I started opening up more about the relationship between faith and mental health, so many Christians have poured out to me about their struggle. I even started a Christian support group on Facebook specifically dedicated to those struggling with and serving in the mental health arena. If there’s one thing this experience has taught me, it’s that there are hundreds of amazing people in the Christian community who have great faith and love Jesus wholeheartedly, but are still human and battle with mental health like any other person. 

You are not the only one in your church or in the Christian community who is committed to the faith and faces depression, anxiety and so on.

 

4. God is not surprised.

If anything, you must realize this: Your battle with mental health has not taken God by surprise. Psalm 139:16 says that all our days were laid out before God. He knew that this was going to be a part of your story. He always planned on using you in spite of yourself. He was always ready to help see you through.

You may be wondering, “If God knew I was going to face this, then why did He let it happen?”

That’s a valid question.

In my personal experience and throughout the Bible, we see there are many reasons why God may call us to endure instead:

  • It gives us the humility and compassion to connect with the hurting around us.
  • It builds our spiritual strength and dependence on God.
  • God uses these experiences to help us support others who come to face the same battle.
  • It shows others that though we are broken and flawed, God can use anyone, and it becomes a witness of His power.

 

Surround yourself with supportive people who have a proper perspective. Don’t stop fighting the good fight of faith. Be encouraged, because struggling with mental health doesn’t make you any less Christian—it just makes you human.

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7 Comments

  1. coolcatby1

    Posted by coolcatby1 on July 15, 2017 at 08:20

    I have anxiety and a few years ago even had thoughts of suicide.
    This is an amazing article, it is rare to hear Christians talk about mental illnesses, it is pretty much a taboo topic in my church.
    It was hard (and still is) to have those thoughts and feelings however, I wouldn’t want to change what I went through or am still going through. My relationship with God, and those around me have become so much richer and amazing because of it.

    To all the girls who struggle with anxiety, depression, self-doubt, loneliness, thoughts of suicide, and any other mental illness;
    It is okay to not be okay. God loves you regardless of what you are going through. It may seem impossible, but you will get through this. God has so many awesome things planned for you.
    You may feel sad, scared, empty, terrified of yourself, unlovable, or alone. But stay strong, don’t listen to the voices, talk to someone, PRAY.
    Please remember that you are beautiful.
    You are LOVED.
    Stay strong PI Girls.

  2. LucyPevensie1

    Posted by LucyPevensie1 on January 5, 2017 at 07:25

    This post really means a lot! I have recently been struggling with depression and I have have always worried in some way, shape or form. I also can have anxiety. I was once told by a fellow believer (who meant well) that I shouldn’t worry because it meant that I wasn’t trusting God. There have been times where I wondered if I was still loved by God and worthy to be a Christian. But thanks to you, I know that I’m not alone.

  3. Emily23

    Posted by Emily23 on November 11, 2016 at 02:22

    You do not know how much this means to me. Because of my anxiety and depression, I had always felt that I was less of a Christian because of it. It’s nice to be reminded every once in a while that I’m not the only one with this problem 🙂

    • BrittneyMoses

      Posted by BrittneyMoses on November 11, 2016 at 13:47

      I’m so encouraged to hear that this was reassuring for you Emily. Sometimes we have to remember that we are no surprise to God. He saw all the days of our life and still chose us. You are certainly not alone and not forsaken!

  4. Prodical

    Posted by Prodical on October 16, 2016 at 19:18

    Thank you, you guys always give great advice. But how about those with physical chronic illness? Or physical disabilities? I have EDS (Ehlers Danlos Syndrome), I already talked to God and I am at peace having this “thorn the the flesh”, however other Christians are telling me that I dont have enough faith or that I am over exaggerating. What do you do then?

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by Jcvelli on June 24, 2017 at 04:23

      I have EDS, and Dysautonomia. I’m sorry to hear you are suffering with EDS. No one i meet has ever heard of it! I will be praying for you💕 you’re not alone…

    • ani9874

      Posted by ani9874 on October 20, 2016 at 21:51

      I personally have never heard of EDS, but I can see what people think you don’t have enough faith. While I don’t have a physical disability, I do have a mental disability (I have a form of Autism). To the Christians telling you that you don’t have enough faith, tell them that they really can’t judge someone on how much someone praises God through that particular storm. They probably have no idea of how to get through something such as that. My friends will never truly understand how to praise God while I am Autistic (and that’s definitely one where people may think I overreact). Think of them as the small voices in the darkness, but also think of the Voice of God telling you to focus on Him and to continue praising Him. Hope this helps!