If you consider yourself religious or spiritual, you have probably heard people within your community say that people in good spiritual standing don’t suffer from addictions or mental illnesses, and if they do, it is simply a matter of their lack of faith. Therefore, every mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical issue can be solved by having faith and praying enough. If you struggle for too long, you must not be praying enough or you are living with secret sins.
In fact, mental health has been a taboo topic in religious circles until recent years, and people are still timid talking about the relationship between mental health and God. Without any direction or guidance from faith leaders, people are left to ponder questions like:
“If God wants what is best for me, why do I struggle with a harmful addiction?”
“How long do I have to pray before these feelings go away?”
“Am I really supposed to do good things for other people when I am silently struggling so much?”
“If I am depressed, does that mean that God doesn’t love me?”
Faith is supposed to answer these questions, not create more questions – right?
Be honest with your community
If you have not reached out to anyone within your faith community to honestly tell them about your struggles with sex addiction or Anxiety therapists , please do. You were not meant to bear this burden on your own, and you may be surprised to find others who have been struggling alone for too long. In addition to praying and with you, they are a built-in support and accountability system because you are already connected on the deepest level and you are on the same page.
Your community leadership is also a great resource for finding therapists that specialize in your area of addiction or struggle.
Even when it is tough and you doubt the goodness of God, don’t give up hope. You have gotten this far by faith, and God will not fail you now. He cares for you and wants what is best for you. This road will not be easy, but no good comeback story has come from a life of sunshine and bliss. Your struggles right now are building character, and you will be equipped to help other people you come in contact with who share your struggles down the road.
God does ask you to have faith, and He does have the power to change any circumstance, no matter how big or small. Your addiction or depression is likely the result of imbalances in your brain compounded with any traumas you have gone through that make you prone to this behavior. While focusing on your spiritual life will be helpful in your recovery, you are not prepared to walk yourself through your own healing. There are people all around you who are pursuing their God-given purpose of helping people just like you, and the best thing you can do is find a therapist to help you along the way. You are not in this alone, and religion and psychology are not mutually exclusive. The best healing and recovery involves both entities.
Maybe this story will be a good analogy for mental health and religion:
A fellow was stuck on his rooftop in a flood. He was praying to God for help.
Soon a man in a rowboat came by and the fellow shouted to the man on the roof, “Jump in, I can save you.”
The stranded fellow shouted back, “No, it’s OK, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me.”
So the rowboat went on.
Then a motorboat came by. “The fellow in the motorboat shouted, “Jump in, I can save you.”
To this the stranded man said, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.”
So the motorboat went on.
Then a helicopter came by and the pilot shouted down, “Grab this rope and I will lift you to safety.”
To this the stranded man again replied, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.”
So the helicopter reluctantly flew away.
Soon the water rose above the rooftop and the man drowned. He went to Heaven. He finally got his chance to discuss this whole situation with God, at which point he exclaimed, “I had faith in you but you didn’t save me, you let me drown. I don’t understand why!”
To this God replied, “I sent you a rowboat and a motorboat and a helicopter, what more did you expect?”