With the passing of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade this past week, it’s no question that mental health awareness is more important than ever. It’s more imperative though that we understand these issues through the context of the church and through the wisdom and knowledge of God’s word. Hope is such a big point in the Gospel that I personally find we need to apply to our everyday lives, especially when it comes to situations like these.
At several points in my life, I’ve found myself staring at things like subway tracks, bottles of Tylenol and Advil, and even the ledge of my apartment window and thought so carefully about what might happen if I do end up taking my own life. I’ve struggled with self-harm for so many years, that some nights I wished I just bled out in my sleep. But despite all these dark times in my life, the one thing that always stood out louder and greater amongst these thoughts was the sliver of hope that I found in Christ.
These thoughts and feelings don’t come from God at all, they come from the enemy, whose only goal is to steal, kill, and destroy. It’s not God’s will for any evil to take over our lives, but to deflect it so that we can fulfill His plan and purpose.
As said in the word of God – Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. — Jeremiah 29:12-13 (NIV).
Even when we feel depressed or anxious or are struggling with our thoughts, we need to remind ourselves that God is so much greater and that depression, anxiety, or any hurt has no control over our hearts – all we need to do is to call on God.
So many people don’t even have the privilege of knowing how great and awesome our God is that they take their lives without a second thought or a doubt in their heart and I firmly believe that it is part of our great commission as followers of Christ to deter this trend in acting upon your depression and suicide. Even as followers and believers of Christ Jesus, we can’t always tiptoe around such topics or even avoid them just until they happen – we need to address it head on and reach out to people before they even contemplate this thought. It’s our duty to reach out to those in need, that these people know that a hotline isn’t the only thing they should depend on when they have a whole community and a loving God right beside them.
If you take vitamins every day, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t ever get sick in your entire life, and being a believer and follower of Christ doesn’t mean we’re immune to depression or anxiety, but just like taking vitamins, we are well prepared for it when it comes around. Depression, sadness, anxiety, and other dark feelings and thoughts are inevitable. We’re human after all and we will fall to the brokenness of the world one way or another, but the important thing for us is to not give into it completely and allow God to turn the situation around from our brokenness into His glory, to show that we are living a life renewed in Him.