Today is World Mental Health Day. It is also Sunday, which means it is time for another Faith & Healing post. And in today’s post, I want to combine the topics. I want to talk about strengthening ourselves on World Mental Health Day as Jesus taught us to strengthen ourselves.
Because Jesus talks in the Book of Mark (as well as other places) about how all things are possible through God. Depression threatens to weaken us, to drag us down. Yet through God we are strengthened. I started this series because I wanted to talk about how my faith has helped me in my recovery and I can say from experience that my faith in God and the sense of community that I find through church have strengthened me, even on some of my darkest days.
And when we think about strengthening ourselves, we think about what we can do. For example, strengthening ourselves physically we think of going to the gym, lifting weights, working out on the machines, etc. Yet over and over again in the Bible, we see that those who follow Jesus and Jesus’ teachings are strengthened through what they give up. We see it in Jesus’ disciples, who gave up their worldly possessions and are strengthened spiritually through their time following Jesus.
This morning, my pastor preached on the story of the rich man in the Bible. For those who are unfamiliar with it, a man comes to Jesus and says that he has followed all the teachings. He then asks Jesus how he can be assured a spot in heaven, to which Jesus replies, sell all that you have, give the money to the poor, and follow me. The man leaves dejected for he has many possessions. Yet what is often missed, what I certainly missed until today’s sermon, is that Mark says that Jesus loved this man. In fact, in all of the Book of Mark, this is the only man that Jesus is recorded as loving.
I am not wise enough in the good word to fully speculate about what it was that Jesus loved about this man, though there are certainly theories abound. Yet I do recognize that Jesus was confident, so confident he taught it to all his disciples, that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than it is for a rich man to enter heaven.
This doesn’t mean that money isn’t important. Jesus talked about money often in his teachings because it is important. Indeed, in today’s society it is essential to be able to make a living. Yet, the true point of this lesson, I believe, is that it doesn’t take those riches to enter heaven. Someone who thinks they can fully provide for themselves, can enrich themselves, misses that it is through God that all things are possible.
And so as I reflect on these teachings today, World Mental Health Day, I also reflect on how important it is for me in my recovery to re-affirm my connection in God as something that strengthens me. I do want to re-emphasize that this is my story, my recovery, and God may not have the same role in your recovery. As always these posts aren’t meant to proselytize. Nevertheless, there is likely something out there capable of strengthening you in your recovery and World Mental Health Day is as good a day as any to recognize this and reconnect with what strengthens us.
Thank you all for reading, be well.