It’s a memory I have. Being in meetings and listening to people express their discontent and their difficulties with life and how things work. That’s not the memory. The memory is a conversation in between meetings. It’s the memory of that phrase that is one of the major problems in churches in the south. “We don’t talk about it.”
That phrase was uttered when I mentioned being concerned for one of my students. She was having a very rough time. In reality she was depressed. It was evident to everyone around her. I asked her parents, they said they hadn’t noticed. I asked others involved what I could do to help, and that was when it was said, “we don’t talk about it.” That cold emotionless response to a very uncomfortable situation no one had an answer to. It felt all wrong inside. It felt like a dodge, and a political maneuver to save face. I am not a person who easily lets things go when I know something is wrong. So I talked about it. I talked to her. We met in my office, and we talked, we prayed, and I told her that I loved her. It wasn’t a creepy salacious thing. It was truth. She was a student in my ministry and she needed to hear that someone who wasn’t her mom or dad loved her. Because Jesus loves her.
It is not in my nature to surrender when I know someone is in need. That doesn’t make me a hero. That’s not what this is about. This is actually about you. We have a problem in this country when dealing with mental health. We are too scared to admit that we need help. For some reason that gets compounded in the church (no not all churches). No one wants to admit that their faith is weak, and for some reason when we meet people who suffer from depression we feel that way about them, or when we face depression we feel that way about ourselves. Depression is not a faith issue. Mental health is not a faith issue. It is a human issue. We are all human and we all hurt. Sometimes we need other people to help us through that pain. There is nothing weak about that. There is no lacking of faith in that. In fact, that’s one of the major purposes of the church. Jesus knew that we would need even more than just people, so he made way for the Paraclete, the helper(you know it as the Holy Spirit). The churches want to help. The ones who say they don’t care aren’t really churches and you don’t need them in your life.
It is time that we as ecclesia, you know the body of Christ, came to terms with the fact that some, or many, of our brothers and sisters are not OK, and that is OK. Humanity is messy. Our lives are a series of messes with a few clean spots thrown in to give us a break. A lot of people wonder where that break ever is for them. We have to be more cognizant of the suffering of our fellow humans. Jesus gives a master class at this throughout the Gospels. The people who need help, get help. That is what we are supposed to do as the church. We don’t come to a haven for the saints, we serve in a hospital for the broken. If you don’t have problems in your life, great, help someone who does. That is why the early church was so successful. It wasn’t a program or a dynamic speaker. It was people helping people. Maybe we lost something in translation. The word, church, is not a New Testament word. It’s actually a German word meaning, house of God. It’s a great word to describe a building. But we, the people inside and outside the building, are the ecclesia, the assembly of people who call Jesus savior and Lord. If He truly is our Lord, then we need to follow His example and serve those who need serving. All to often those people are right next to us on Sunday morning. They are in our offices, our warehouses, and in our living rooms. Service doesn’t mean you have all of the answers. It means you serve.
My story is mine, I lived it, and am living it. About 8 years ago my life changed in a major way. In that change I faced some serious depression. It was rough, and I needed help. I am thankful for friends who listened, who bought me coffee and gave me the chance to cry. I am thankful that a friend told me to write about what I was feeling as it was happening, and for the people who read it and responded. I still have bad days. But that is me, I am on the other side of that part of my life and have learned so very much. And yes, my battle with depression and anxiety has made my walk with God a much closer thing in my life. I have a wife who supports me. But that is me. This is about you.
We need to talk about you. We need to hear what you are going through. And we need to let you know, that we are here and you can talk about it. Too many people in this county feel alone. I want you to know you are not alone. In this age of Social Media, people who want to help and love you are never far away. If you read this and feel you still have no one. You got this off of my Facebook page, message me, we’ll talk, I’ll listen, I’ll pray, and we will work to get you where you need to be. Yes I will mention God and Jesus. That is because I know what a difference that has made in me and others.
You are too important to lose. Never let anyone tell you different. Each and every one of us is created specifically, lovingly, and purposefully. Let people help you get what you need to know that deep down in your soul.
If you know someone who is struggling, be open to listen. You don’t have to be an expert in psychological medicine to listen to someone, to hug them, to tell them you care.
If you are struggling and are terrified about what to do. Do not be frozen by fear. There are so many ways to get help. Educate yourself, it’s not all medicine, sometimes it’s vitamins, sometimes it’s a listening ear and good cry on someone’s shoulder, or a deep breath. You are not alone.
That young person I talked about earlier, she made it through. It had nothing to do with me. She worked hard, she prayed hard. It all started because she was willing to let one person in her life help her. You can do that. I can do that. Just please do it. You are far too special, and this world needs you in it.
A couple more thoughts:
If you want to get involved check these people out:
There are many more, a google search will take you where you want to go.