UN/Broken - Day 1

THE MYTHS OF FAITH & MENTAL HEALTH Myth #1 - Disorders aren’t for everyone

First, thank you to my wife, Tricia McCoy, for her  contribution to this week’s thoughts. Tricia is a  licensed social worker who serves as a mental health  facility counselor.  
Secondly, I write about what I know, as you’ll see  unfold as I contribute to the first week of this series  guide. About 17 years ago, I was diagnosed with a  mental health challenge that threatened to take my  life. By the grace of God, and with an incredible team  of support and an incredible church, I am here today  and thriving. Though I still have my scars and bad  days, I have more good than bad ones, and I lean  more on God than I ever have before. But I’m also  aware of the many myths that plague mental health  and those of us who profess faith in Christ. So, let’s  read on and learn together.

The doctor looked me in the eyes and said the  words that didn’t surprise me, but at the same  time, words that still shook me to my core,  “Paddy, you have a general anxiety disorder.”  
He indeed was one of the best doctors I could  have ever asked for because during my time as  his patient, he took time to be with me in my diagnosis. This is the first lesson to learn in  treating our mental health: your care team is  critical. Whether it’s your physician, counselor,  spiritual leader, or support team (i.e., family,  friends, etc.), getting the right people around  you is critical to healing and growth.
As the news began to sink in, my physician said  that disorders are just how you and I have  learned to adapt to a broken world. This means,  in theory, that we all have a disorder of some  kind or another. Maybe it’s diagnosable or not,  but either way, we’ve all had to learn to adapt to  a world full of pain, loss, abuse, divorce,  betrayals, and many other things that we were  never created to have to endure. In addition to  our broken realities, the devil seeks to lie to us  about the realities of the divine realm. He’ll try  to convince us that we’re the only ones that  struggle. He’ll make us believe we can never get  better, heal, or grow. He’ll try to cover us with  shame, which makes us feel like we can’t even  approach God with our problems because He’s  too disgusted with us. But remember, the devil  is the father of lies.  

“For you are the children of your father the devil,  and you love to do the evil things he does. He  was a murderer from the beginning. He has  always hated the truth because there is no truth  in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his  character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”  John 8:44 NLT

The devil’s lies started in heaven when he was  crafty enough to deceive a third of the angels;  imagine how many that could be if there are  millions of angels. Then those lies are carried to  this earth, where the devil tries to destroy and  distract anything that resembles the image of  his enemy (that’s you and me).
The good news is that when we recognize our  true identity as children of the living God (I John  3: 1) and give our lives over Christ, we are new  creations.   “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ  has become a new person. The old life is gone; a  new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT. 

This doesn’t mean we don’t have flaws, scars,  etc. but it gives us hope that healing can come. As we’ll learn later in the week, there are times  when the thorn in our flesh, like Paul’s thorn in  his (2 Corinthians 12: 8-10), will keep us on our  knees, crying out for God to help us once again. But depending on God is exactly where we each  need to be, for He is the gold that not only  pieces us back together but bonds us to Him  making us even more substantial.

So the myth that some are better than others,  some struggle and others don’t, is just that: a  myth. Paul writes, “We have already shown that  all people, whether Jews or Gentiles, are under  the power of sin.” Romans 3:9 NLT

We’re in this together, even those pretending to  have it all together. The good news is that when  we’re willing to share our struggles and show  our scars, we take the first step toward healing  and freedom.

  1.  What areas of brokenness have you either  experienced healing from or seek healing  from now in the name of Jesus? 
  2. Could our mental, physical, or emotional  scars ever help our journey or others? If so,  how? 
  3. How could we keep God’s truth at the  forefront of our minds instead of letting  the devil’s influence distract us?

By Pastor Paddy McCoy

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