Mental illness is a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling, behavior, or mood. These conditions deeply impact day-to-day living and may also affect the ability to relate to others (NAMI).
Mental Health, specifically mental illness is talked about so much more than it used to be. But still maybe not enough. Growing up in a Christian missionary community I didn’t understand mental health. I didn’t understand what was going on with me. I was told that worrying was wrong. I was told that if I trusted God or prayed enough my worry (what I learned later was anxiety) would go away. Just so you know it hasn’t.
Recently a friend shared about her anxiety. It broke my heart. She spoke about how her belief wasn’t enough, how she wasn’t truly believing in God because she didn’t have peace and if she had believed more then her anxiety would have gone away. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been told this, how hard it is for me even now, to realize that no amount of prayer or trust is going to “fix” me. The things that are wrong with me aren’t because I don’t trust God enough or don’t believe in Him well. There are chemical and hormonal imbalances that cause anxiety. There are traumatic situations that I’ve been through that have changed the pathways and chemistry of my brain. God can and is able to heal what I’ve been through but God doesn’t promise to fix our every pain or experience of suffering, which includes mental illnesses, and he definitely doesn’t make that contingent on whether or not we have enough faith.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I will be touching on some sensitive issues that some of you may not be very comfortable with. I hope that you will push past the uncomfortable. I want to say that my interpretation and experience in no way is a reflection of the individual stories of very real humans who are on the frontlines of racism and xenophobia. I hope that you will read with grace and an open mind. For the past three months all of these stories of racist words and actions have weighed heavily on my heart. If you’ve been a target of xenophobia and racism, I hope this will help you feel heard, even it it’s just a little bit. I hope that this will be a chance for us all to gain perspective and a deeper sense of empathy. I hope we realize that our world becomes an even more dangerous place if even one person chooses to be ignorant.
Pandemic to Xenophobia
In February 2020, the Coronavirus had just started spreading, but it was mainly contained in China. No one could have predicted what was about to happen, the magnitude of this and how it would result in a global pandemic. I didn’t realize then what the impact of the virus would be and that as it spread west, so would xenophobia. From short ignorant comments to physical & violent harassment, during the past few months many Asians have been targeted and blamed for this virus. Which truly shocked me, but maybe I shouldn’t be shocked because society so often turns against each other, and when we are in a crisis, when we are scared, it’s easier to point fingers at another race.
“This is not a march. This is not a demonstration. This is not a protest, this is a walk to mourn those who have been the victim of injustice in our nation. We must mourn together to heal together.”
Pastor Tim Johnson
Today I walked. A walk of Mourning and Restoration. Mourning the 400 lives that have been lost since 2014 to police brutality and because of racial prejudice and injustice. As we walked 100 of these names were read out loud.
I walked with my sister, my friends, my church, and many people from our organization. And as we walked I mourned. Mourned the centuries of oppression, mourned that people are seen as less than because of the color of their skin instead of celebrated for their diversity and culture, mourned with the families who have lost loved ones due to a broken system.
“And what does the Lord require of you?To act justly and to love mercyand to walk humblywith your God.”
– Micah 6:8
Act justly. What does that mean? What does that look like for me?
Your social media feed has been bombarded with articles, videos, and posts highlighting all that’s happening in the United States. The on-going injustice of racism against Black people is an issue that has been recently highlighted by the tragic deaths of many Black people. Seeing these things might have sparked anger, frustration, and confusion. You might feel overwhelmed, helpless, and exhausted. This is an important issue that we need to care about even after we stop seeing it on our social media. This is why we feel it is important to address how as MK’s and TCKs we have a role to play in acting justly.
Everything has been crazy the last few months. In fact this whole year has just been one thing after another, crisis following crisis. Hard situation following hard situation. Loss following loss.
Sometimes it feels like the whole world is shaking and everything is falling apart. There are actual wars and people’s lives are being torn apart because of a virus that has shut down the entire world. Here in Florida everything is starting to open up and it feels like all the crazy might be starting to end. This isn’t going to end though. The crazy in the world. Once this passes something new will happen. And when it does God is not shaken. He is not moved. He is not surprised. He is the God who brings both ruin and revival. When we place our faith in him we are not moved because he is our completely stable fortress. He doesn’t break down.