I haven’t written about my faith a lot lately for a variety of reasons, but I just wanted to say something real quick to those in the Christian community. Your anxiety, your depression, your mental illness IS NOT A SIN.
It’s not a “sin.” In any way. At all.
It’s not giving into weakness. It’s not “not trusting God enough.” It’s not “not reading scripture enough” or “not praying enough” or “not enduring enough.” It is an illness. Like any other illness, and it is not a sin.
The reason I’m writing this is because I recently came across a blog post by another Christian who stated that anxiety can “sometimes be a sin.” This is not the first time I’ve read something like that, and definitely not the last, unfortunately.
I may sound a little bit angry and that’s because I am a lot bit angry. I could go on and on and on about this, but I won’t. I’ll just go on a little bit longer.
Even if you do believe that the “average” person “not trusting God enough” or worrying about “normal” everyday life is sinful (which, spoiler alert, I don’t believe), it is still harmful to say those things because anyone can read your words – even those with serious anxiety disorders or other mental health disorders. And anyone can take those words to heart.
This isn’t about trust. This isn’t about faith. It’s about your physical brain. It’s about illness.
So, in case someone has made you feel like you are “failing God” or just “not trusting Him enough” because of your mental illness – please remember those things aren’t true. Those with diabetes or cancer or paralysis or a cold or literally anything else are not failing God, and neither are you.
And if you don’t really know how to react when someone with a mental illness confides in you, here are some alternatives to “You just need to trust God more!”
You can say: “I’m so sorry you’re feeling that way. I’m here for you.” Or you can say, “I would love to pray for you, is that okay?” Or you can say nothing at all and just offer silent comfort. Sometimes nothing is better than something.