Where is God in my Mental Illness?
Where is God in my mental illness?
by Jillian Jones, Blessed Be Boutique
Charles Spurgeon once said “The mind can descend far lower than the body, for in it there are bottomless pits. The fleas can bear only a certain number of wounds and no more, but the soul can bleed in ten thousand ways, and die over and over again each hour.”
Struggling with mental health is living in a war zone. You are constantly in a battle with your own mind. And yet mental health continues to be stigmatized and some people just do not take it seriously. But here at Blessed Be Boutique we do. We take seriously the questions that arise when you have mental health issues.
A common and understandable question when struggling with mental health is “Where is God in my mental illness?” Where is God while I struggle to survive? Where is God while I fight this battle that sometimes seems unwinnable? Where is God while I hurt?
These are common questions, not just with mental illness, but with all kinds of struggles and hurts and evil in our world. There’s even a word for it. It’s called theodicy. It’s the study of why bad things happen to God’s people if God is truly a good God.
There is no easy answer to our questions. There is no magical answer that will make everything okay. But there are some things we need to remember while we struggle with mental illness.
Your mental illness is never too much for God
We have an unmeasurably big God. Nothing is bigger than God. Nothing is too big for God to handle. Your mental illness is never too much for God.
I saw a post on Tumblr by anniespositivity that said, “You are a complex being with a story, emotions, thoughts, fears, interests, values, ideas, etc. Do not listen to anyone who tells you that you are too much - it simply means that there is more to love about you. You contain an entire universe inside of you.” You are never too hard for God to deal with.
God is big enough to handle our sadness and anger. My favorite book of the Bible is Psalms because the writers are so raw and real with their struggles. They deal with anger and pain and sadness and joy. And every psalm ends with thanking God. We don’t have to hide our negative feelings from God. He knows our pain. He knows our suffering. He knows what we’re going through better than we do. And we can be thankful, even as we struggle with mental illness, because we are not alone; God is with us.
You are not alone
1 in 5 adults in the US experiences mental illness. And that’s just people who are diagnosed. How many more are living life undiagnosed, yet struggling to get by because of mental illness? You are not the only one going through this. Not only do you have friends and family who love you and are there for you (even if it doesn’t feel like it), you have an impossibly big God on your side. God is with us in our suffering.
The Holy Spirit is called our comforter. God is always inside us in the Holy Spirit, feeling our pain and giving us the strength to go on.
- 2nd Corinthians 4:8-10 “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.”
- Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”
- Philippians 4:6-7 “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
God is often called Emmanuel, which means “God with us.” God is with us whatever we do, wherever we go. That includes our suffering and struggling through mental illness. When Jesus came down to earth as a human, he experienced what suffering was. Hebrews 2:18 says “Since He Himself has gone through suffering and testing, He is able to help us when we are being tested.”
God will forever be with us in our struggle with mental illness. Revelations 21:3-4 says “Look, God’s home is now among His people. He will live with them, and they will be His people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
Which brings us to our next point.
Your suffering is not forever
Trust me I know that suffering with mental illness can feel never ending, like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. But the Bible says there is an end in sight. As followers of Jesus, we have the hope that life does not last forever. We know the end of the story when Jesus comes back and reigns on the new heaven and earth for all of eternity. Everything we experience now is only temporary. The body we have now is only temporary.
In the eschaton (the final event in the divine plan), God will end suffering. Romans 8:18 says “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” No matter how much we struggle with our mental health, what waits for us at the end of God’s plan is an infinite amount better than we can imagine.
Your mental illness is not your fault
It’s bologna to think that if you just “get Jesus,” pray harder, have more faith, try harder, that you’ll be all better. Let me tell you something; no one tries harder than the haunted. No one prays harder than people at rock bottom. Just because Jesus healed some, doesn’t mean that people who aren’t healed don’t love Jesus enough, or that they somehow deserve it because if they just did X, Y, or Z, they’d be fine.
Mental illness is a combination of chemical imbalances and responses to trauma. Neither of which are your fault.
But that doesn’t mean God caused your mental illness either. God does not cause our suffering or enjoy it. But we can take comfort in the fact that God can take our suffering and turn it into something beautiful. God allows suffering into the lives of those who are His to help them grow closer to Him.
Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.”
We already said how God is with us, and comforts us in our pain, and one of the ways He can turn our pain into something beautiful is by using our pain to help others who are in similar pain. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”
God comforts us so that we can comfort others. He grants us mercy so that we can be merciful to others. He stands with us and protects us, so that we can stand and protect others who are suffering. He will never leave us alone in our suffering, so that we will never leave others alone in their suffering.
We can help
Mental illness can feel impossible to get through, but there are many coping mechanisms that can help. One of those coping mechanisms is journaling. Because we at Blessed Be Boutique know how serious mental illness is, and because we care for you, we have a printable download of journaling pages that can help you in your journey from mental illness to holistic wellness.
Keeping a written record of your thoughts, feelings, events of the day, and your plans, are believed to improve your psychological well-being as well as your physical health. Journaling can help reduce stress and calm anxiety by keeping track of anxiety-inducing triggers. Different trackers, logs and routines can give you a greater personal insight about your stressors, problems and coping mechanisms.
While our Mental Health Journal starts with blank calendars, charts and logs, it can open up a whole world of opportunity for you. It’s not just about feeling good after getting those negative thoughts out of your system. It’s more about the discovery of the truths in your life and making a plan that you can use to help address those truths. Journaling is all about you, and what you make of it.
Download it for FREE today: