This week we packed our two cars full of kids and dogs and clothes and moved across the country. Moving is destabilizing. Most of what you know is stripped away. You have to have your GPS for a trip to the grocery store. The schools are different. Your church is different. Your home is different. Your neighbors are different.
With or without a move, the world is destabilizing right now. Things seem different, in constant flux and change.
This post is adapted from Finding Hope: From Brokenness to Restoration by Heidi Goehmann.
The level of anxiety facing children, parents, schoolteachers and administrators, congregational shepherds and lay leaders, and our public policy makers is enormous—pandemic anxiety for pandemic times! Although the fear of physical, emotional, spiritual, and financial disorder and disease is very real due to this destructive virus, the accompanying anxiety (rumination and worry of what could or might happen to us and our loved ones) is debilitating in and of itself.
My professional association, the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, has as its theme for 2017 “Whole Health Begins with Mental Health . . . Let It Begin with You!” I like this theme because it lifts up the wholeness in which we are created: body, mind, and spirit. It also reminds me that spiritual and emotional health is the foundation for a person’s whole health. Unless we tend to our spiritual and emotional needs, it is not possible to live in a state of health. The body, mind, and spirit are inextricably bound together. The last part of the phrase, “Let it begin with you,” is a good place to start as we seek to serve as advocates for those who suffer with mental illness among us.
I would like to lift up three attitudes and actions that begin with oneself:
In our book Christian Concepts for Care, readers are encouraged to view their church congregation as a source of hope and healing for those with mental health issues, along with their families. A healthy faith community can be a place of acceptance and growth for those who suffer at every age and stage of life.