Having a Mental Illness can mean you feel very alone, but does being a Christian mean that you’re somehow on the outside?
I wouldn’t have noticed it at the time, but a few years ago, I began to look at the shaping influences that happened in my early life, particularly the Christian Church that my parents were very involved with.
We lived in the countryside and attended a church in the local township. Small church, and it was a place, I suppose, where you got to know quite a bit about each other.
Looking back now, I recognize that quite a few people struggled with various Mental Illnesses. For example, one of the church attendees had had a Lobotomy. Another would have Bipolar mood swings. Some would sit in the pews nursing depression whilst others would fidget with anxiety.
There was glue, however. An acceptance of ‘lame ducks,’ as my Father would lovingly call them. My mother would spend hours on the phone listening to the heart calls.
I suppose this normalized this encounter of Mental Unwellness to me.
I remember one day, though, later in his life, where my Father shared an experience of a Pastor telling my mother to believe certain scripture passages and that she would be healed. A kind of ‘Name it and Claim it’ approach.
I could sense his annoyance about what I would call a ‘burden of performance’ being laid on her. I would love to have a soul-talk conversation with him about this now.
All these shaping influences upon my thinking.
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