Remember there are no dividers between God and mental health. Some patients think they have to chose; either get to go to a psychiatrist or to a pastor. Reminds me of the “seers”, like the Witch of Endor. Go to her to ask for help and you lose God’s presence in your life.
When Saul saw the Philistine army, …terror filled his heart. He inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets. Saul then said to his attendants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her.” 1 Samuel 28:3-25
When I was a little kid, I thought that when I would go do something bad my angel would stay behind. She couldn’t come into that bad space. Like if I went to see a bad movie, my angel would wait for me outside the theater. And with some my patients, maybe they think if they come into my office they have to leave their angel at the door.
Brent asked the question, quietly as if someone would overhear, “Will God help my depression?”
Wow, that’s such a great question.
So God is not a vending machine. But God is in all of “these things”. God is in the space that psychiatry and the “God-topic” occupy. He/She is in all of these things that He provides us; treatments, friends, medications, clean air, stable government, and what not. (I’ll say, “He,” because that’s traditional.) He gives Brent medication and God is a better psychiatrist than I am. He gives patient’s NAMI, (National Alliance on Mental Illness), and psychotherapists, and so many other treatment options.
Brent replied, “I’m glad to hear you talk about this because it gives me hope. And I want to renew my faith in God and start practicing my faith and saying daily prayers to Him. So it’s good to hear you as a psychiatrist here talk about God, and God helping me heal, so that makes me feel good.”
The next question is what type of God do we believe in if it’s not this God? This God who is in this space? This God who isn’t held back? Who isn’t an either-or God? This God is a God who cares about our depression. Why would we even want a God that is otherwise?That wouldn’t be very loving.
Brent replied, “God, who could help us in every way and doesn’t … that’s … I mean, basically God should be one that doesn’t allow violence and suffering and sickness.”
But there is suffering and violence and sickness. So who’s God in all of that?
B, “I don’t know. That’s a question I have.”
That’s the question that we need to struggle with through our suffering. Because it’s one of the purposes of our life, to find out about the love of God. Because God is … I believe that God is love, otherwise I don’t want anything to do with him. We have this job to do, find out individually who God is. Use our suffering as a tool. Such as, while we are suffering, it may be an opportunity in a way to say, “Why am I suffering? Why is there this pain when God is love?” It’s huge, right?
The struggling with our view on God’s character is muddied by comparisons as well. sIt looks like “everybody else is fine,” like God is being a God to them but not to Me. And that’s just mean. So, based on our premise, God is love, this can’t be true.
Brent said, “I know, but that’s how I feel.”
Thinking that it is true, God playing favorites, or God with limited love-supply, is one of those creepy feelings in the relationship. Something sinister. A Bogey loose wreaking havoc on our foundation. And if this foundation is havocked, it is hard to launch. Imagine pole vaulting off of a mound at the beach. This inconsistency with our view of who God is is either about God or about us though. And that’s a stop-drop-and-roll point. A point when we realize there is an inconsistency that we shore up.
Brent replied almost in a relieved voice, maybe a little like getting something off his chest, “It’s probably about me, not God, because He loves us all the same. So it’s probably more about me. Maybe with my sickness I don’t …
I’m not thinking right, you know? And I perceive myself as being worse off than I actually am.”
Me, “Would it be that you have something God doesn’t want, so He doesn’t want you?
B, “Well, I don’t think so. God loves us all. That’s my feeling.”
Me, “Okay, so it’s not that you’re so bad.”
Me, “Is it that God can’t quite get it right? Like, He’s just doing His darnedest but it’s not enough.”
B, “Maybe that’s it.”
That would be pretty lame, God. (I’m speaking directly here.)
Who is God? And if God is that week, again, I’m not really interested.
Using the premise that God is love is more than Truth. It is also a self-care tool. We can use it to clarify distortions about why we are in the condition we are in. We need this premise to keep us from isolating from Love. To launch better. We need this premise to have connection in our lives.
Self-Care tip: Use the premise, God is love, whenever you can.
Question: Where are the places that the bogey is wreaking havoc in your life?