UN/Broken - Day 2

THE MYTHS OF FAITH & MENTAL HEALTH Myth #2 - Everyone else has it all together

As I exited the church I worked for one Saturday,  I saw a woman sitting at the back of the  sanctuary. She looked like something was  weighing on her, so I stopped, introduced  myself, and asked her if everything was okay. She said, “Yeah, I don’t think I can return to this  church.” Worried that someone had said or  done something to her that led her to that  conclusion, I kindly asked, “Why, what’s wrong?”.  She said, “Everyone here seems to have it all  together, and I don’t.”

We had a good conversation where I told her,  “Oh, everyone here must just be good at hiding  the wrong things.” I said, “Even the best-dressed  people still have holes in their socks.”  
We often like to give off the appearance to  others that we’ve got our act together, that  everything is going great, and that we are  masters at this thing called life. Maybe it’s fear,  envy, jealousy, but for whatever reason, we’re  quicker to hide our scars than show them off or  share them with others.  

For several months, I tried to hide my diagnosis  from the people I worked with. I was afraid I’d  lose my job and the respect of others. After all, if  I can barely hold my life together how can I help  anyone else do that with theirs? Then, one day,  God sent me an angel. A student approached  me right before I was responsible for a chapel  program and asked if everything was okay. I  said yes, but that was a lie. I was fighting off a  panic attack and had just gotten off the phone  with my wife where I begged her to say it was  ok for me to leave work and come home.  
Thankfully, I stayed because, after the service,  that same student returned to me and said, “Are  you sure you’re OK? Because I don’t believe you  when you say that you are.” Tears welled up in  my eyes as this angel saw past my veneer and  into my heart. All I could say was, “It’s been a  tough week.” When I got home that day, I told  my wife that we had to start sharing my secret  with others.  

That’s when I learned that our secrets keep us  sick. Until we can start to share them, we won’t  be able to begin healing. And you know what I  found when I finally did share my secret? I  found church. I found a room full of people who  didn’t judge me for my struggle but were willing  to come alongside me in my pain. I found a  room full of people who dared to share what  was going on with them when I found the  courage to share what was happening with me.

I found a group of broken people willing to  support each other as we reach out for God  together. This is what I think it means to “be  church.”
  1. Where do you feel most comfortable being  yourself? 
  2. Is there a secret you’ve been holding that  feels as if it’s weighing you down? 
  3. Do you have anyone in your life that you  could share that secret with? If so, who  and when? If not, what are some ideas for  how you could find that kind of community?

By Pastor Paddy McCoy

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