A Troubled Christian Mind

  

Growing up with emotional troubles often made me feel like I did not fit well into the Christian mold and fold.

However, looking back on it, it was not at all my religious beliefs that made life more difficult. My faith makes things easier. It gives me hope and helps me to feel close to God and His Son. It also helps me feels close to my family and recognize blessings.

Unfortunately, I have often let the comments and thoughts of others affect the way that I feel about myself. For many years I took what other people said as doctrine and thought that God felt that way about me too.

Below I have written a few of the most common pieces of advice I have received over the past ten years from fellow Christians and the assumptions that I believed they were making about me:

“God will heal you if you just let him.” (I’m not doing enough to let God heal me. I must be doing something that is blocking him out.)

“If you’re not happy then you’re not following all of the commandments.” (I am a sinner. If I’m not happy then I must be in denial about following all of God’s commandments or hiding some of my sins.)

“Doesn’t God’s plan make you feel better?” (I must not understand God’s plan, otherwise I would be happy.)

“God is the only person that can change your state of mind. Medication and therapy are just an excuse to not face God.” (I must avoiding God and trying to make excuses for my own shortcomings.)

“You’re letting the devil enter your thoughts.” (I have given the devil power over me.)

“Just pray and you’ll feel better.” (I’ve been praying, but I must be doing something wrong because I still don’t feel well.)

“We all have agency so that we can choose to be happy.”(If you’re not happy, then it is your fault for not choosing it. OR I’ve been trying to choose to bee happy, but I still feel empty inside.)

“The Holy Ghost will be with you at all times if you are worthy of it.” (If I don’t feel the Spirit that must mean that I am unworthy or God doesn’t think I’m good enough to deserve the Spirit.)

While there is some truth to all of these statements above, I would argue that there is a lot more to it for someone who is depressed or suffering from other mental illnesses.

God knows our hearts and our minds. He knows if we suffer from mental illness and he will not hold that against us.

I consider myself a fighter. When I am feeling bad I often pray, read scriptures, or ask for a blessing. Sometimes I feel better and like the Holy Ghost is helping me and sometimes I do all of those things but I still feel completely abandoned for hours, days, or even months. In those moments I have often thought, What have you done to not be worthy of the Holy Ghost? You must have done something wrong or not have enough faith. In the moment my mental pain always feel like it will never end, but it always does eventually. I know that that is thanks to God.

It is easy to psychoanalyze our lives and think of all the things that have made us feel depressed or guilty, but I have realized that it is not always a specific thing that is making us depressed. It is our brain chemistry. It is our personality and tendencies. It is a trial that we have been given and may have to deal with forever-but that does not make us not as faithful or less worthy of God’s love, help, and forgiveness. Christ mourns with those who mourn. He feels our pain and knows the mental turmoil that we are going through.

For years I thought that the minute I started taking antidepressants it meant that I didn’t have enough faith in God. With time I have learned that God has given us this life, this world, and modern medicine for a reason. He expects us to take advantage of all the resources on this earth that are meant to help us have a higher quality of life.

Instead of collecting the various comments and common beliefs of other Christians and measuring my worth off of that, I have realized that I have to make my own standard with God. I ask him directly if I need to make changes or if I am enough for him. Sometimes I get small impressions of things that I need to adjust in my life and other times I feel that God realizes that I am doing the best that I can. No matter what, I know that God loves me. We are much harder on each other and on ourselves than He is with us.

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