Christian Ethics and Issues

Mental Health: A Jesus-Follower’s Core Identity

Photo by ROMAN ODINTSOV on Pexels.com

Intro

Some rambling thoughts this morning about mental health, the pandemic, and coffee shops.

Have you ever been around a bunch of laughing, giggling people when you are really feeling down? Even worse, have you been to a party, or a family function that is intended to be a joyous affair, but you are just not in the mood, and no one notices? That is why I chose the graphic above. We can’t see the egg people behind the happy eggs in front. For all we know they could be really down, but all we see is the happy eggs. I think it is a great picture.

I went to a Christmas party a few years ago and had a bad headache. A couple brought their small kids and let the kids run loose at the party (I guess they forgot their handcuffs and duct tape). No one knew that I had a headache and I didn’t really feel like sharing that information with the host or leaving. I wound up receding into my own little world, texting friends, even though I felt like the top of my head was about to come off. It could have happened anywhere. The party was a great party with great food, an awesome ambience, and it was a lot of fun.

I remember listening to a church broadcast a number of years ago in which the minister told a story about one of the other ministers at his church who had just lost a family member. The grieving minister was scheduled to fly abroad for a conference and thought it was a good idea to attend the conference. Alone, and halfway around the world, he attends a massive church service. No one knows he is grieving. He sits among other people who know each other and ignore him, which is bad enough, but the minister felt like he was invisible.

Except for the past few days, I have enjoyed perhaps the longest stretch of mental health I can remember. I have decided not to post a lot of negative stuff on my blog this time round. That was what I did last time. I would feel down and get on here and post stuff that was nowhere close to being accurate. What I posted may have been an accurate reflection of how I was feeling at that point in time, but not accurate or real. When I feel like that, I have a journal app on my iPad that I can use to vent those kinds of feelings. I am fully aware that there is a community of suffering with mental illness. Having been a part of several 12 Step groups I am also aware that the core identity for far too many people, in my humble opinion, is that of an addict, a person battling depression, or some other mental illness.

The core identity of a Jesus-follower is just that — a Jesus-follower. Sometimes I forget just how much God loves me and how much ought to mean to me. It is so easy to be distracted by the flashing lights and the rejection of other people, real or imagined, that I forget to focus on the love of God. That being said, God created Eve because Adam was lonely. We all live in community and we need our communities for support. Even the most introverted person needs other people at some point, I would argue. I am an introvert. I draw my strength from solitude.

I do not like crowds or crowded places. Next Monday I have a coffee gathering scheduled at a local coffee shop. Even now I am experiencing no little amount of anxiety because I am fearing walking into a coffee shop that is really crowded. After almost a year and a half, Ontario is finally beginning to open up and I am afraid people are just going to go crazy. While I like the summer months, I am looking forward to Labor Day this year because the kids will be going back to school, people will be returning to work in offices, and getting together for coffee in coffee shops will go back to normal crowd levels in coffee shops and restaurants.

Comments

How did you feel as you read this post? What are your thoughts or feelings? Your comments help connect us to the larger blogosphere community, and they help me develop this blog, and also as a writer. Please share your comments. Thank you.

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