In a recent email exchange, Carol Montgomery (a brilliant individual, marriage, and family therapist) shared some thoughts with me about why it is so important to talk about emotional and mental health in church. She had addressed this question earlier in the summer when she spoke to our church community about the pursuit of emotional health; however, she wanted to add a quick P.S. to those thoughts. Here is the essence of her emailed addendum.
“Why should we talk about emotional and mental health in church?” This is a question I am frequently asked in my office, and I find it necessary to remind people that the Bible instructs us to seek wise counsel and is filled with examples of people doing just that, for all sorts of reasons. Why would therapy or medical intervention be the one exception to that?
I have a strong belief that, almost always, God intends to heal us through community. That is one reason why He has given us different gifts and talents. Whether it is spiritually, financially, physically, or relationally, it seems acceptable to seek outside assistance and guidance. Why not emotionally?
We should remember to seek God first, but not necessarily exclusively. Indeed, His healing can very much be found within medicinal or therapeutic contexts.
I would also like to expand on our discussion of feeling depressed about the job market or not having job offers post graduation. Many of us can sympathize, or at least empathize, with that painful circumstance. Waiting can leave you feeling so out of control, lonely, and in despair. Whether it’s singleness, infertility, unemployment, healing, or anything unfinished, it can be brutally painful when we are forced to wait.
However, we can wait with purpose!
If you find yourself in a season of waiting, max it out for the glory of God. Volunteer, get a mentor, be a mentor, join life-enriching groups, get fit, because the sky is the limit when you have time. Time is a gift.