In a matter of days, I get to pitch my business to the community.
As I reflect on the last two years of my life, I’m blown away by how redemptive God is.
I moved to Phoenix with fresh eyes. I told everyone that this was my game changer. This was how God was going to change my life for the better.
There was only one problem: I was in active psychosis.
Active psychosis is kind of like living in a very vivid dream. Everything seems so alive but it’s dead to the touch. You can’t connect with other people. Everything’s spinning and slowing down at the same time. You can’t wake up because you don’t realize you’re dreaming.
I still remember the phone call I got from the pastor. He was cold. Every encounter I had with the man still sends shivers down my back.
You’d think they had won. You’d think my world would have fallen apart but it didn’t. I flourished. I wrote for a magazine, got promoted, shot a commercial, acted in a play, survived a suicide attempt, got diagnosed, found a great church, made friends.
I thrived in spite of my illness.
They didn’t win. Not even a little.
Along the way, I started meeting others with stories similar to mine. They were ostracized by the church, kicked out, rejected. Many wouldn’t step foot in a church after what they had been through.
So why had I stayed? Why hadn’t I walked away?
If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time, you know I love the church. Sunday is my favorite day of the week. I love the preaching, the music, the people. I love that I can walk into church and be convicted and encouraged.
What I don’t love is how pastors are responding to mental illness. We have a crisis on our hands and pastors are grappling through the darkness, struggling to properly address mental illness.
And people are dying because of it.
We’re literally losing lives because churches are kicking people out or avoiding the problem.
I almost died because I was removed from the church.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. – Ephesians 6:12
I don’t know how the church has hurt you but I know that ultimately, the enemy is the devil, not your brothers and sisters in Christ.
This is why I haven’t walked away. Because our fight is not against the church, not even the church I was removed from. The fight is against the evil in this world. Because what those pastors did when they forced me out was evil. But they’re not evil. They need training and knowledge. They need someone who loves them enough to work through the mess they’re in.
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. – Genesis 50:20
I’ve read enough articles and blogs to know that most of us are in agreement that the conversation on mental illness in the church is not going well. It’s time we do something about it.
If you don’t like how the conversation is going, change the dialogue.