Are you a faith leader who is battling with mental wellness?
It seems like the darkness and cloudiness come on subtly, but once they are there it’s a force to be reckoned with. Leaders are especially, vulnerable to depression for many reasons but for one, faith leaders are pressured to have it all together and the pressure of that can cause double-mindedness, anxiety, fear of failure, fear of people and a drive to work, work, work.
I have learned that even though you have overcome depression, you are not safe from it trying to take you down again. But I’m so glad that God has a plan for everything!
When we overcome something we in essence, learn a new way, we are given tools.
An overcomer is one who succeeds in dealing with a difficult problem.
Yes, if you believe in God, like me, we stand on the supernatural healing anointing of Jesus, who already healed us. But in this flawed world full of sin and brokenness we need tools and methods to help keep us overcoming. Difficult days come and go, understanding how to keep yourself free from anxiety and fear is important for any person and requires daily renewal. It’s why the Bible says that we should renew our minds daily –Romans 12:2
Reading the Bible daily and Praying are both foundational and good practices. These practices, together with other things can bring us back to peace and heal us holistically, Spirit, Soul & Body.
This blog is dedicated to anyone who is battling depression, anxiety, or any mental struggle. You are not alone. Here are some practical things that keep me out of the clouds or help me get out of the ones that sneak up on me:
Reach out to others for prayer
This is much easier said than done. One of the things we need to get past is our ego to reach out. I have found that reaching out to my husband for prayer breaks the pride instantly and often I don’t need to reach out to anyone else. But when I can’t reach him, I humble myself and reach for a life-line friend. Reaching out has sometimes been enough to break through the cloud.
Write About it
Yes, writing, journaling, or keeping a voice recording journal saves lives! I am a witness that journaling heals. I have found it helpful to voice-record difficult issues. Once I’ve released it out of my belly and heard myself speak it out loud, I begin to feel a release of pressure. I can then decide if I want to keep the recording or erase it. I keep some but delete others. Sometimes doing this is enough especially when you have been hurt by a person or people that you can’t confront. Not every person needs to be confronted. There are times that we are hurt by people who did not mean to hurt you in any way. Listening to the playback of what you experienced can help you examine your own heart first. Why did this hurt? What was the content of the conversation or encounter? Tell the Lord in prayer as you record yourself speaking, forgive and release love and light to that person. This practice can sometimes be enough to release you of all desire to confront something that is not worth confronting. Not needing to confront can be a sign that you have truly forgiven. I once asked a counselor how do you really know that you’ve forgiven? I was blown away when she said, “when you no longer feel like you have to tell them how they made you feel.” Some confrontations are necessary, but some will only make things worse. We need to learn to discern that. (We will leave that for another blog post).
Connect with a Counselor or Therapist
Connect with person who is educated in mental health counseling, especially if you feel like you have tried everything, you are finding it hard to pray, you have no zeal or desire to read or write, you are feeling like quitting life, you are afraid to talk to anyone in your circle, or there simply is no one around that you can trust. As a ministry leader often your source of pain and disappointment is the church itself. Ministry becomes a burden too heavy to carry or you feel like the very people you are serving have turned against you. You look around and find no one to talk to. No one you can trust with your heart. This is a good time to sort through those emotions and thoughts with a therapist or counselor who can hear you objectively and ask you all the right questions that will lead you out of the maze these thoughts have formed in your mind. It is my personal opinion that Christian counselors or therapists are the best match for Christian leaders and all believers. They understand the language of the kingdom of God and the dynamics of being a follower of Christ. I think most would agree with me when I say, “It’s a whole other world out here in Churchland.”
This week I watched a replay of a Zoom recording entitled: The Church and the “S” Word (Suicide) Hosted by Carmella Hill with special guests Carla Lemon and Matt Johnson. It is sad when anyone is mauling over suicide and gripping when you know it’s a person who believes in God and serve Him. Nothing grips my heart so strongly like when I hear of another Faith-leader committing suicide. It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around that, but in my spiritual heart I get it.
I felt to share this video with you in my blog as a resource for anyone who might need it. This trio really gets into the topic of mental health and the implications of it in the church. Believers are not exempt from mental illness. I love seeing how God himself is touching people to tear the veil off this topic which has been taboo in the church for so long. I found this video in a group that I belong to called, Journaling Saves Lives, with Pastor Matt Johnson who is also a Mental Health Educator and Certified in Mental Health First Aid. I asked pastor Matt if I could share more about what he does, in Brisy’s Wellness Sala and here is a short bio of what he is doing to help educate and spread the word about mental health:
“Journaling Saves Lives is a mental health advocacy organization founded by myself, Matt Johnson, in 2016 whereby we facilitate education seminars and trainings (both in-person and virtual) centered around various mental health topics. Because it is our belief that with education comes a decrease in stigmas and stereotypes that often circulate around society due to ignorance. We also serve as a liaison to connect individuals with various resources, both peer and professional, that can assist them with coping with and overcoming and for some, preventing mental health challenges. Individuals can visit our virtual center resource page on our website: https://houseofloveministriesfl.com/mental-health-resource-center/ or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org . We also have our peer support group in Facebook that we encourage people to join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/148184169190202”
I found their video to be very informative and helpful. Click on the link to watch it today! Get informed and feel free to share it. You never know who can use a little insight that can point them in the right direction. You never know who’s life can be saved by a breakthrough in their understanding.