Why the Church Doesn’t Take Me Seriously.
Over the years I’ve been directly and indirectly rejected and shunned from several people in the church, and here’s why.
Mental disorders have been overlooked in the church for far too long. This idea that being Christian means you have to love yourself and that you have to keep your temple pure, has become redundant to those of us who struggle with mental disorders. I have several reasons as to why the church in general rejects people of my type, especially those of us with personality disorders, and why they refuse to face the music of reality that some of us truly cannot help the way we feel, think, react, and behave. Here are some of my thoughts as to why:
I do not have to prove my relationship with God to ANYONE! This is a realization I came to just a few days ago actually. I was in the middle of a therapy session, and had a mental breakthrough. I realized that I was unhappy with the way people in the church were treating me, and I felt as though people always thought I was slipping through the cracks. I felt as though people thought that I wasn’t taking church seriously, when I would miss meetings or services because of my chronic anxiety attacks or from the frequent voices I hear sometimes. I felt as thought people thought that I ‘wasn’t Christian enough”, and that I was too edgy and shady in some aspects. The truth is, none of their opinions matter; like at all. Their opinions cannot get me into Heaven or Hell. Their judgment cannot keep me from seeing God’s face and entering into His glory. Their judgments of me are merely invalid, unnecessary, and un-welcomed in my spiritual walk with God. There is nothing wrong with holding someone accountable for an actual sin, but assuming that someone is hiding something or sinning in private is nobody’s business. It is that person’s job to repent and make things right with God. We need to stop being the ‘Holiness Police’ and worry about our own righteousness. I strongly believe in calling each other out, when we KNOW someone is putting themselves in danger, but just being judgmental towards someone is not the Holy Spirit and is definitely not welcome into the Kingdom of God. The truth is, I am extremely edgy and rebellious when it comes to my art. I question everything that has to do with religion. My creativity isn’t anyone’s business, hence why I keep my ideas to myself. Religion has been exposing itself over time, and I think some of these ‘Christians’ need to worry about their own skeletons in the closet, before judging anyone else’s standing in God’s eyes. Check out Luke 6:42 while you’re there.
I’m mentally and emotionally unstable everyday, and that’s fine. This can mean a lot of things at the same time. I put on a different personality everyday, and for me that is very tiring. I morph from personality to personality throughout the day, to please people and to keep people from rejecting me. I fight my intrapersonal thoughts everyday, and it is very hard for me to maintain my interpersonal relationships with people. Although I am not currently on medication, I resort to non-pharmaceutical legal ways to reduce my anxiety that a lot of people may not agree with. Which doesn’t matter, because it’s 100% legal, and it works for me, and it’s not damaging my body in any way. Me making these efforts to improve my mental health is a way of me trying to please God, so that I can fulfill my purpose. I believe that I have Borderline Personality Disorder for a reason. I am at my creative peak whenever I am emotionally unstable. I have my greatest creative breakthroughs, and some of my greatest poetry have come from times where I was in mental crisis. Although it is very risky, I know that I don’t just have BPD for no reason. 1 in 10 people who have my mental disorder, end up committing suicide. I developed this mental disorder for a reason, and instead of laying around crying about it on social media, I work hard everyday to produce art, content, poetry, quotes, visuals, articles, all while receiving an education away from home in college. If that isn’t a testimony, I don’t know what is.
Suicidal thoughts and actions are an everyday struggle for me. This is such a serious topic for me, because people who haven’t thought about or tried to kill themselves, don’t understand what it’s like to think about it everyday. Other Christians think that people who are suicidal or harm themselves don’t value their temple, they’re not really disciples, and that they need Jesus. Reality check: We all need Jesus, and having suicidal thoughts doesn’t take you away from God; it brings you closer to Him. When God brings you out of the dark moment, it makes you 100x more grateful for his mercy than you were before you sank that low. Mental disorders are just like cancer. They’re a disease that can potentially get worse and worse, and eventually end in death which equals suicide. Would you tell a cancer patient that they’re not taking their discipleship with Christ seriously, because they’re suffering from cancer? Then you definitely should never ever turn away someone who has a mental illness, because you will never ever know what is going on in their head. I want to encourage everyone with mental disorders, that people cannot define your relationship with God. It’s none of their business. I want to encourage you like I was encouraged by someone’s testimony last Sunday about how they were judged in the church because of their mental illness.
I cannot regulate my emotions. I know how people are supposed to treat each other in the church. Everyone is supposed to be super sweet and super encouraging to everyone, and be open to talking and spending quality time with one another. That isn’t it for me. If I could explain to you how extreme my mood swings are to people, they would run away from me. I like to use this analogy, but it’s super inaccurate and silly. I tell people to imagine yourself PMSing, multiply it by 10, and try to live every single day. You can’t can you? So STOP judging me and the other millions of people living with these challenges. Walking to class everyday is a major accomplishment for me. Everyday I feel the hot sweaty glares and stares looking at me as I walk on a campus I really don’t fit into. I’m a weirdo, a nerd, a gamer, a derp, a disciple, a creative, a writer, a poet, a published Author, and an entrepreneur. I definitely do not fit in on campus. The last place I want to be judged is in the church; believe me.
Just because you are a Christian, does not mean you are a therapist. I’m going to say it again, because this has been my biggest issue since my diagnosis. Just because you are a Christian, does not mean you are a therapist. I do not need any advice, recommendations, or any type of weird remedy that you think I need in my life. I see a therapist 1–2 times a week, and trust me, we talk about everything. You are not my therapist… Unless he’s reading this… The same goes for everybody, not just people in the church. This article might seem extremely monotonous, but I have been so overwhelmed by judgment, that I felt the need to start this conversation. Mental health talk does not exist in the churches like it should. This is why a lot of people are leaving. Judging someone because they turned to cheap street drugs, instead of an expensive therapist they cannot afford to pay for, doesn’t help anything. Why not instead pay for an appointment or two for them? Or mentor them? Or get them into a program where they can turn that deadly habit into a life-changing habit. Pastors, priests, and leaders like to say that people with mental disorders are possessed by demons. I would just like to say that might be the biggest miseducation in the history of time, and I now understand why everyone in college is forced to take basic psychology classes.
I have very controversial thoughts about life and religion very often. No one wants to be controversial when it comes to religion, so I’m going to do it. Being controversial is way more different than being blasphemous. You can question things without disrespecting God and his word and/or claiming to be God. A lot of my controversial thoughts and actions have been alarming to a few select people I know within the church. For those of you who don’t know, I don’t believe in tradition and I definitely don’t believe in man-made religion. I believe the Bible for what it says, and I also believe in holding each other accountable according to it. I have no religion; I exist to love, please God, and become more and more like Jesus everyday.
I’m a different person everyday. A personality disorder is exactly what is sounds like; it’s an emotional disorder. It effects every aspect of my life, and I have to work and push myself a lot hard than other people because of this. Life isn’t fair and you can either complain about it or outwork everyone around you. Outside of church, I am a very busy and productive business woman. I like to network within my campus, and I’m so excited to be working with so many talented people my Senior year! Throughout the course of this article I have changed personalities just about 3 times. I went from frustration and rage, to calm. It works just like that; constantly, all day long. I’m hoping that this article will change hearts, and stop the harsh judgment within the church. If not, people will continue to walk away from churches, and the world will become an even more lost and wicked place. The change starts within ourselves, and we have to hold ourselves accountable for the way we treat others. I hope that I’ve opened a few eyes, and maybe even ticked a few people off, but I know that this topic needs to come from people who are actually mentally ill. We are the only ones who understand what it’s like living with these disorders, and the last thing we need is rejection from those inside the church.