It was nearing the end of 2015. I had gotten laid off from my 8-year gig as a Financial Specialist at a prominent manufacturing company in my area. I was living on my own after a fallout with a good friend/roommate. And even though these were life changing events, I was pretty excited about the future. You see, even though most people had been devastated when they were let go from the company I worked for (they had several layoffs), I knew it was God releasing me. And even though the loss of that friend truly broke my heart, I already had experience with God mending my broken heart. And so, I eagerly dove into this new season having no idea what was around the corner, but anticipating it nonetheless.
Before the lay off, I was experiencing an unusually greater level of intimacy with God (now in hindsight I realize that was a sign, since He normally manifested in great ways before a spiritual storm). I would wake up every morning during that time and could sense His leading in all things concerning me. He would teach me what clothes to wear, how to do my hair, what things I should eat! It was like that scripture was magnified where it says, “He is acquainted with all of our ways”! (Psalm 139:3)
But then, suddenly, I started waking up, no longer being swaddled by His love. Instead, my heart felt as if a cold hand of fear was gripping it in its palm. This was the result of fearful and anxious thoughts, that began swirling around in my brain about my next job move.
You see, I have this history in my career of being in these periods of what I call, “The Stand Still”. If you’ve followed this blog for any significant period of time, then you know, and maybe you can even relate! I have experienced “The Stand Still” even when I’ve had a job title, but the work would be so slow that the title would be meaningless (at least in my eyes). And if you know anything about me, you know I hate slow! I’m a mover and a shaker by nature, and love to be on the move. But now that I’m a little older (let’s not talk about age here tho, lol) I have more understanding that during these “down seasons”, God is cultivating humility and character in me and pruning me for the fruit that is to come.
I found myself in another of those “down seasons” after the lay off, and struggled with where I was going to work next. All of a sudden, I became afraid to make the next move. All of a sudden, I became afraid to make the wrong move. I had these thoughts in my mind that said, “What if I am outside of God’s will if I apply to this job? What if I am outside of the will of God if I apply to that job? What if, what if, what if…”
Have you been there? Do you struggle with excessive, compulsive thoughts that have no rhyme, reason or even logic to them? I definitely did. And I had no idea that these anxiety driven thoughts would just be the beginning of me learning how to heal my mind.
In this post, I want to do a series where we discuss our mental health. Particularly, and unfortunately, in the church, there has been a lot of silence on the matter of mental health issues. But there are resources available, and I want to share with you some of the things that have helped me and are still helping me overcome anxiety/depression/suicidal thoughts/eating disorders etc…
So stay tuned… and feel free to share your thoughts/comments below. Have you dealt with any mental health disorders? If so, what aided you in your healing? What are your experiences with discussing this topic in places of faith? Do you feel like mental health is still a taboo subject in religious circles?
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Prevention lifeline at: 800-273-8255.