Today Carl and I attended a conference called Lead Well from the incredible Mind and Soul foundation. The idea being how we, as leaders in the Church, can both take care of our own mental well-being but also that of those within our community.
WOW, what a conference. So much content packed into one day. The big thing I’ve come away with is that yes the mental health conversations going on are great and very important, but now is the time to move beyond just conversation into how we as the Church point people towards wellness. A bigger vision of enabling people and releasing them into a better place.
Mental health MATTERS
Emotional health MATTERS
As a Church we should be leading the way in educating, equipping and encouraging.
Is that what we’re doing?
As a people we can all too often believe that we can change ourselves just enough so that we will become acceptable in Gods eyes. In truth we can’t do it in our own strength, there is just no way! It can only be Jesus in us. Will Van Der Hart said Jesus became our shame so we could become his righteousness. God looks at us and sees Jesus.
The powerful reminder I received today was that we can be in the midst of struggle, we can feel hemmed in on all sides, completely surrounded by adversity BUT, and here’s the cracker, there can still be life in the midst of it all. We don’t have to believe the lie that God can’t/won’t use us because we have panic attacks, suffer with anxiety, am on medication for depression, have an eating disorder or suicidal thoughts. God can still use us despite the circumstances we believe discount us. What we think counts us out can actually give us integrity, compassion and authenticity.
How amazing is that? We can be in the greatest difficulty but also experience our greatest freedom.
We all too often believe that if things around us are difficult we must be acting outside of God’s purpose for our lives but we can actually be exactly where God wants us and still be encircled by suffering and affliction. Do we give up and fold or do we press in? It may look like we are surrounded and have no way out but we are also surrounded by an almighty omnipresent omnipotent God, the God of the impossible and He is ready to fight on our behalf.
As Christians we live in a world where we have to balance our FAITH in God with our call to ACTION. We are not passive when it comes to our mental wellbeing. Rob Waller used the analogy of a Church roof, which is not only held up by prayer but was designed by an architect, is held up by massive supports put in place by skilled people and prayer. Rachael Newham said she takes two pills a day, one for asthma and one for depression. We are not passive, we hold a tension of faith in a God who heals and action, what we practically need to do.
I have many times wondered what the point of my blog was, was it not just self indulgent and proud? Today God gave me a glimpse of why he lead me to do it. Patrick Regan said we need to step out of the shame of our experience and own our story. Blogging is one way for me to step from the shadow of shame and say with vulnerability and honesty, This is me! My blog is not about self indulgence and blowing my trumpet check me out. It is me practising self care and self compassion. I am just like you, I don’t have this life figured out I’m still on the path, just one foot in front of the other. I’m broken and you’re broken.
The fantastic Patrick and Diane Regan from Kintsugi Hope used the Japanese illustration of repairing broken pottery with gold powder.
The thing which was broken cannot just be glued back to its original state but it can be made into something with far more beauty.
The scars of our lives are not to be hidden, for they make us who we are. There is treasure in life’s scars
I want to be part of a church which welcomes people however they walk through the door, whatever they carry with them. I want people to feel they can forget the mask of “okness” and crawl through the door on their knees saying I made it! The church needs to be ready, ready to pray with people effectively, without condemnation or judgement or trite platitudes.
So why are we VSP’s? We are VERY SPECIAL PEOPLE and God looks at us and smiles. Despite the things we see in ourselves which we believe to be unlovable. Can we own that?