Does My Struggle with Mental Health Mean My Faith Is Weak?

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Somehow I thought by my mid-thirties, I would have all of this figured out. You know, life would start to make sense. I would be past the phase of having babies, and be settled into my writing career. That’s what I pictured.

In a way, it is the reality I see. But there is also this hidden reality that has crept in slowly. I didn’t account for its cunning abilities and clever tactics until it was too late.

An old foe, a sleeping giant that I felt had been vanquished, awakened from its slumber with a great roar that has shaken me. It has made the ground beneath my entire home, our foundation tremble.

Anxiety. Panic. Depression.

It all happened so fast. It was as though one day, the waves seemed distant, almost as though they didn’t exist, but I turned around to find that the water had somehow kicked up over my head. I was defeated, or at least that is how it looked in my mind.

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  • <strong>How Can Good Christians Get Anxiety?</strong>

    How Can Good Christians Get Anxiety?

    Saying the words anxiety seems cliché, you hear it so often. But this was my reality. My insides turned with every thought, I couldn’t stop crying, I couldn’t sleep, yet I didn’t want to leave my bed. Everything felt like a threat. My shoulders throbbed from extreme tension. Every thought was out of control. My mind was betraying me.

    Good Christians don’t get anxiety, especially ones who teach the Bible. The ones who write books and Bible studies. They don’t wrestle with stuff like that. Lies.

    Good Christians have enough faith that “mental health” isn’t a problem. Lies.

    I have weaknesses like you. Mine happens in the recesses of my mind. My anxiety doesn’t display a lack of faith. I know and cling to truth and grab hold of Jesus so tightly that He is often the only steady thing during the crashing storm.

    Nothing pains me quite as much as a question of my faith when I am struggling in the darkness.

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  • Nervous woman biting her nails

    What Is Wrong with Me?

    I noticed something was off this past fall. We had just finished up a much-needed vacation when I began to see the changes. I had a pit that seemed to rest in my stomach more frequently. The headaches, withdrawing from my people. I stopped finding joy in small things. The shift was gradual enough that I brushed it off. That was until I was crumpled on the couch in a puddle of tears, extremely overwhelmed by everything happening around me. I remember asking my husband through a text message, “What is wrong with me?”

    That was the beginning of seeing that I had found myself in a familiar yet foreign place. It had been 15 years since the last time I struggled this much.

    Suddenly I was 16 all over again. I was back in the middle of the night, weeping out of the terror I was feeling. I was unable to even sleep alone in my room.

    Only this time, I was walking this road as a mother, wife, and steady believer—none of which I had been then.

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  • <strong>The Powerful Truth about Shame</strong>

    The Powerful Truth about Shame

    Not only am I a believer, but I am also a Bible teacher, a Women’s Ministry Leader, and my husband is a Minister of Music. There is a false preconceived notion that people in those positions never struggle with mental health. If they do, there is a chance they are so riddled with shame that they never speak of the severe weakness they carry.

    Shame was taken care of on the cross. It is something that we no longer need to carry in our hearts.

    We should never put to shame someone for what they are walking through. But that was precisely what happened as I navigated all of this. A comment not meant to sting called my faith into question.

    I am by no means perfect, and my walk, like each of ours, always has room for improvement, but my anxious moments were always covered in prayer. My depressed days, I pleaded with God for joy. Moments that felt out of control, I would recite the promises of God from Scripture in my head. There were days of tears where I could only break through with the name of Jesus.

    I know the truth of Scripture. I know the promises of God. I know that God can heal. I know these truths. I cling desperately to the Father. Yet, here I am.

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  • <strong>The Glory Intended for This Weakness</strong>

    The Glory Intended for This Weakness

    Paul wrote the very words we need in 2 Corinthians 12:8–10, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

    Whatever Paul’s weakness was isn’t the point. The point of Paul’s words is that no matter what weakness we have or come up against. Whether it is mental health or something else, God’s grace is sufficient.

    My mental health diagnosis is where I am weak. It is the thing I have pleaded for God to take, and yet it remains. But the promise is sure that His grace is sufficient, and His holy and mighty power is made perfect right there in my weakness.

    The weakness of my mind may well be the place where He gets the most glory in my life.

    I cannot fix these things myself, and my diagnosis may always be a part of my story, but I can trust that His power and strength will show up—every time I need Him.

    Paul goes on to say at the end of those verses that for Christ’s sake, he “will delight in his weakness, in insults, in hardships, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” I will boast that I am weak, I am imperfect and in need of Christ, every minute of every day. I will boast in Christ because He alone is my strength. I will boast in Christ because any good you see in me is because of Him.

    I may be weak, but my faith is far from weak because I struggle with anxiety and depression. No, because that is where my Heavenly Father is perfectly strong and glorified.

    Michelle Rabon is a wife and homeschooling mom of three who feels called to help women thrive in their walk with Jesus every day. In 2012, she started Displaying Grace, a ministry that is focused on helping women engage with God’s Word. Michelle has also served in women’s ministry for the past five years seeking to equip women in the local church through Bible study. When she is not writing or teaching, she enjoys reading, being close to the ocean, and drinking a lot of coffee.

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