DISCLAIMER: it’s a long one… AND, all the spoken from this point on, is unfiltered stating of MY experience, opinion, ‘feeling’ and in some sense, MY conviction. You are welcomed to disagree, comment, agree.. but, you’ve been warned.
Not too long ago there was a post I came across… it had this exact picture and amongst those things said in the caption was this, “….it utterly destroys my heart to know that not only was he a young lead pastor, but a husband, and father who has been yet another victim taken by this demon..” Later that week, another post stated, praise to this man, this pastor, for just a week or two prior to COMMITTING SUICIDE, he lead, along side his wife, a series in his church called, “Hot Mess,” in particular, bringing a shining light to depression, anxiety, as well as, mental illness… and courageously exposed HIS own struggle and the RAW REALNESS of it…. less than a week after that Sunday, come that following Friday, he attempted to take his own life, into Saturday, it was publicized, he had been successful. Leaving behind a wife and 3 little boys, all under the age of 6/7. As the days and now, the 1/2 wks follow, the posts have not stopped. Suddenly, the church, or also known as, the body of Christ, is speaking of the “unspeakable.”
As someone who walks by the hand with “mental illness,” and also, walks within the world of religion. I’m horrified and somewhat disgusted with the disregard and ignorance spoken about “mental health” within the church.
Let me speak on what I know to be the God I walk with and have an intimate relationship with. You see, that Higher being is an all consuming fire of unconditional, merciful, compassionate, forgiving, consoling, exposing, no judgment in ANY fiber of His being.. that being doesn’t know secrets, doesn’t know shame, doesn’t silence your hurt but sits next to you and hears you out and then does everything in His divine power to console you and heal you from it. This Higher being I call God, He tells me to come as I am without feeling the need to be anything or anyone but ME! He says that as I come as me, His grace will shower me and the spiritual binding between us will begin to heal, shape and mold all that needed it.
Now, let me speak about the sad truth of the inner conflict in the depths of my being… let me speak on what I see time and time again in “His church”… the one that claims to be representative of Him and to whom, this pastors suicide spoke and exposed the truth of in his unfortunate ending. For so long, I have held and lived in a cycle of secrecy and hiding of the truth, my truth. See, in my world, the “rules and regulations” of what defines you as a “true Christian” is the following:
- Depression/anxiety is from the devil
- If you are “struggling” with any of “that” it’s because you do NOT pray enough
- IF you are struggling with addictions or inner conflict that become torment, its because you have no intimacy or “spirituality”
- You are to be delivered and if you truly keep renouncing to those things and keep a relationship with God, they don’t come back
- Bi polar/MPD or DID/Borderline, etc.. any “mental illness” is NONEXISTANT if you are TRULY living a Christ centered life and well, the list continues.
For so long, man structure, rules and regulations, religiosity, have made it so that the cycle of secrecy operates in all its force within “the church.” Feeding the shame, guilt, self condemnation and self disgust, in the people. Legalism has feed the darkening truth of mental health saying, there’s no such thing or shouldn’t be such existing thing in a believer, if there is.. then they aren’t a “believer” or true seekers of His presence.
SHAME on you… had judgment, shame, guilt, embarrassment, shunning down on mental health not built and edified such a MONSTER within “the church”.. would this pastor still be alive? IF instead of being the ones shutting the lights off and making sure things were well stuffed in that attic; we were to take a stand with the platform given to ‘the church” and shine of the brightest of lights on walking in “MY TRUTH” with out judgement.. would this pastor be alive? Would I have the opportunity to not have to struggle and battle in secrecy and living in half my truth the moment I enter those four walls?… would we even be having this conversation? Would I battle this shame of knowing, I am an addict. The inner shame of knowing I very much have an eating disorder, which I battle, not just daily, but in EVERY meal and compulsive thoughts? That I have complex PTSD with dissociative features and have to fight every day a different battle, sometimes meaning battling to get myself functioning and out of a dark whole that can suck me in, at times without me realizing? or would I just be able to FULLY own my truth and at the same time, own the truth of my Higher power, God… which is that He can DO all things and change and strengthen me, each day to make it to the next… if I just allow Him to take the wheel and drive “my vehicle”
So, NOW we bring awareness, yet instead of it being an awareness of.. “mental health/illness” is real, its raw and its BRAVE to stand and acknowledge it and seek the help, not just of God/Higher power but of the people He gifted on this earth to help us fight the battle for a greater good… its an awareness limited to… “the church needs to wake up and pray for their pastors so these demons don’t win the battle”…
I’m a wholehearted believer in the power of Jesus (remember, I am a Christian).. however, AND.. I’ve lived and still live in the power of exposing, speaking and living in your truth.. so that your life can TRULY be lived…with all its messiness and ALL! That I was given in the rooms of recovery.. “accepting” my truth.
SUICIDE is never the answer, and when you’ve been silenced and self shamed and/or guilted to silence your “inner demons” what then can you see as an out..
All I have to say is, lets make the church a safe place again… lets stop being the reason why man chooses to walk away from God or a higher power, lets stop being the condemning, egotistical, stereo typical rationale that others can use to look at a higher power and say, “if that’s a representation of who you are.. I can live better without you..” This isn’t about judging and condemning and bringing shame… by my nature, experiences, traumas and dramas.. I generate and populate those feelings all on my own on a daily… I just want to know that someone’s unconditional, never ending, never failing, everlasting, merciful, ever enduring, always forgiving, eraser of all my wrongs, seer of all my doing, feeling and thinking… LOVE is going to carry, strengthen, empower and release me of all my own inner insanity. I believe in the power of that unconditional love, and because it is unconditional, I don’t have to pretend to “hide” what HE already knows, sees and knew before the beginning of time.. about me.
WAKE UP.. BRING AWARENESS TO WHAT IS VERY MUCH REAL.. ALIVE.. AND DESTROYING.. but destroying more because the disease secrecy then the actual symptom of the mental “illness.”
Leave comment below.. what’s your take on this all?
To help this family or to know more about Pastor Andrew and Kayla from Inland Hills Church please visit IG @inlandhills #careforkayla