By Jordan Davidson |
For a long time, mental health was taboo in a lot of Christian circles. Some faith communities are guilty of improperly supporting people with anxiety and depression, but there’s actually a lot of good that can come from being a Christian who struggles with a mental health condition.
I personally have struggled with generalized anxiety since high school. I can still remember one night when I woke up having a panic attack. I was so overwhelmed with school, work, and life that I couldn’t breathe and couldn’t calm myself down. My first thought was to grab my Bible from the stack of books on my nightstand and open it up to the first page I could find.
When I finished rubbing the tears out of my bleary eyes, the passage I landed on was Matthew 6:25-34 which says “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
After reading that passage, I was reduced to a sobbing and praying mess. In that moment, I fully experienced peace and God’s love and care for me.
It’s easy to forget the Lord’s provision in my life when my anxiety is acting up because not every panic attack has a perfectly happy ending. But the Lord is still good and my anxiety can still be used for good.
You see, just like my salvation is not dependent on if I am a good person or if I follow the rules enough, my healing and relief from anxiety is not dependent on if I pray enough or if I avoid sin at all costs. Ultimately, both my anxiety and my salvation are dependent on who Jesus is and the fact that he chooses to love me despite my flaws.
In the end, the only thing that can properly and fully comfort someone with anxiety is the actual hope and peace that a life with Jesus brings. Throughout the Bible, Jesus is continually referred to as the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Whether it’s through counseling, self-care, medicine, or prayer, the Lord empowers people with the strength and means to live each day despite their anxieties (Psalm 29:11).
As a Christian, I am not promised an exemption from suffering, but I am promised a hope that many others with my same struggle do not experience. I’m so grateful that I can not only anticipate the day that my anxiety will be gone forever, but that I can also rest in the knowledge that the Lord can work through my condition as an example to benefit those around me.
2 Corinthians 12:9 says “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me,” and I that’s why I’m okay with being an anxious Christian. Struggling with anxiety is hard, but seeing the light in a dark situation makes living with it so much better.