Today begins Mental Health Awareness Week, and this year we’re looking at wholeness; because the mind cannot be looked at in isolation from the body. Physical illnesses can cause mental health issues, and mental health issues can have physical symptoms. The Bible makes it clear that we are whole people – body, mind, soul and strength, and that we should love God with our whole selves. Mark 12:30 exhorts the reader to:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength”
So this week we are going to look at how the church can respond to mental illnesses in wholeness, because the latter part of that verse in Mark also tells us to love our neighbour as ourselves! We will focus on some of the modules from the ThinkTwice course; depression, eating disorders, post traumatic stress and psychosis, as we begin to discover how the gospel can bring the hope of wholeness, even in the midst of mental illness through thinking about how we can help relationally (heart), spiritually (soul), mentally (mind) and physically (strength).
Many people dream of wholeness; but I think that’s deliberate. God has set our hearts towards eternity with Him; the day when, as Revelation 21:4 proclaims:
‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
The hope of complete wholeness is one we have to wait for; but through Jesus we can experience healing.
Christy Wimber writes in her book ‘Wholeness‘:
“there is the promise of God entering into or pain and the promise of his presence in the midst of what we are walking through.”
As the church, we can and should be a part of God’s slow work of healing. Brene Brown helpfully describes the church as a midwife, rather than an epidural – we aren’t here to remove all pain and sensation from those walking with mental illness – but to comfort and come alongside them through whatever comes along.
This Mental Health Awareness Week we are going to look deeper at what wholeness means in the midst of mental illness – and we pray that it shares a bit of hope.