There tends to be a stigma when it comes to mental health within Christian circles. Let’s change that.
My name is Katie, I am a wife, mom of 5, a believer in Christ, a full-time children’s ministry staff member, and I go to counseling. For a while, I thought that because I am a believer and I work for a church I shouldn’t need to go to counseling. But I was in a church all-staff meeting when that changed.
We had a mental health focus that day and a few local counselors came in to talk to us about compassion fatigue, burnout, and taking care of our mental health as “helpers.” I realized that I didn’t have to feel the way I did. That it wasn’t normal.
As I listened to the descriptions of burn-out and compassion fatigue I realized that my sarcasm, anger, and general feelings of “blah” were not something that I didn’t have to live with. I wasn’t myself and I didn’t even realize that it wasn’t normal.
The next day I made my first individual counseling appointment. It was the best move I made for my mental health. That was seven months ago and the only regret I have is that I didn’t do it sooner.
The journey through counseling and healing some of the broken parts of me hasn’t been easy. In fact, it has been pretty uncomfortable. It is true that often things get worse before they get better. You have to become undone before you can be put back together correctly.
God has been an ever-present part of this journey. It isn’t separate from him or from my beliefs and going to counseling doesn’t mean that I don’t think God is strong enough to heal me. God is using counseling as a tool to advance his work in my life and in my family.
So what do I focus on and how do I practically take care of my mental health as a parent? I’m so glad you asked!
Prayer and Seeking
This is a must for Christian parents who want to care for their mental health. In God’s word it says that apart form Christ we can do nothing. This is true of all parts of our lives including mental health.
Taking care of this aspect of your life needs the creator of your mind, body, soul, and spirit. It takes rightly seeing yourself through God’s lens so you can actively change the way you have been thinking and acting.
Ask God for wisdom on this journey and what the next steps should be for you.
I am a HUGE advocate for believers getting biblical counseling from professionals. Honestly, it has been a major game changer for me and I believe that it will trickle down to my family to break tons of generational trauma.
Not only that, but it has been so helpful for me to see what is really going on and to be given the tools to change direction.
I do have to give this disclosure though, it isn’t and easy or quick fix. This has been one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life and I have done hard things.
When you enter into counseling you are playing the long game, so get ready to build stamina and run your race well.
And speaking of running, this has played a really important part of my mental health journey. I started running about the time I started counseling and I can’t tell you the difference it has made.
Counseling and running have paired together nicely as I have literally and figuratively started running my race well. Running has offered me a time of quiet and deep prayer with the father, something I don’t get much as a mom of 5.
I’m not saying that if you start counseling that you also need to run, I am simply offering this up as something that has helped me stay the course and get my head right, so to speak.
Any type A’s out there? I know you are reading this subheading and wondering what I’m selling over here. You might even think I’m off my rocker that you won’t benefit at all from rest. But here is the truth, rest is essential to life.
God made us to need rest. It is a time of remembering that He is God and we are not. That we can’t do it all. My mental health suffered the most when I tried to carry everything on my own. When I started accepting my limits and offering up my weakness, God started meeting me right where I was.
He gave me his strength so I could get back up after a rest and continue the hard work of healing and being a disciple who makes disciples.
No matter where you are on your mental health journey. Whether you know something needs to change but are afraid to take the next step or if you have been walking this road for a while, God is with you and we are praying for you and cheering you on.
Are you looking for a community or someone to grab coffee with who is in a similar life season? We’d love to connect with you and get to know you better! Below you will find a few people that can’t wait to meet you, shoot us an email so we can make a plan!
Tyler OJ Campus
Teresa Ator: email@example.com
Bethanie Tayler: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tyler UB Campus
Max Heller: email@example.com
Molly Pontius: firstname.lastname@example.org
Debra Kirby: email@example.com