If we are honest, we all go through anxiety at different levels in our lives. But then we are also quick to judge and point fingers at others who show their anxiety or whose anxiety is preventing them from performing to expected standards.
Are you silently suffering with the devastating effects of mental health conditions including stress, anxiety, bipolar, depression and many others ? Are you enduring the stigma that is associated with these conditions ?. You don’t have to! If any consolation, you will be glad to know that many people intact 1 in every 6 men suffer from mental health issues. The world is suffering with the effects and the struggles to deal with mental illness conditions. So you are not alone in fact look around you and in a count of 10 people more than 1 person has ones of the conditions.
Unfortunately, stress and other mental health illnesses are subject to stigmatization more than any other illness and hence not openly talked about. In fact, most people suffer the devastating effects and the attached social exclusion and prejudices in silence. This Stigmatization is not new, In fact, it has a long tradition with ancient Greeks, using ‘stigma’ as a brand to mark slaves or criminals, while millennia imprisoned, tortured or killed mental illness sufferers.
The Middle Age, viewed mental illness as punishment from God where sufferers were thought to be possessed by the devil and were burned or thrown in madhouses where they were chained to the walls or their beds. Likewise, the Christian circle struggles to deal with or to address stress and other mental health illnesses. This is probably due to Christianity’s ‘perfect image problem’ that can sometimes lead Christians to view stressed or struggling Christians as weak, failing to trust God or living in secret sin. This unfortunately creates guilt and a feeling of condemnation which leads to isolation.
But what does the bible say about inclusion and support of those who are weak, perhaps not performing as well as we are or should ?. perhaps struggling with effects of mental illnesses or other illnesses that leave them stressed or depressed?. Jesus, set us an example by being the most inclusive being ever. He addressed those undergoing stress, depression, distress and burnout. Jesus knew that the ultimate solution when experiencing the effects of burnout and distress is to find rest, restoration and refreshment of the soul. This could only be found in him. He called out to All, with no exceptions when he declared:
“Come to me, All you who are weary, burnt out and distressed, suffering from stress, anxiety and depression and I will give you rest”. Matthew 11:28” Can we honestly call on all without prejudice especially religious prejudice in the name of faith ? Can we support in love everyone who is less or lacking in our set standards or “normality” ? I really like Jesus, he was completely compassionate on all and just wanted all to be at rest in him, he didn’t care what was wrong or what their performance was..?. He was all inclusive.
Mathew 11:28 can be broken down onto sections to really understand what Jesus was talking about:
“Come to me”, this is an invitation of love, commonly used when calling to a child who is upset or sick and who needs a cuddle, sympathy or mercy. The child usually comes and receives the cuddle, its a healing experience where they can tell all their distress or just rest their weary souls onto the adult shoulders. They usually leave with a smile and feeling much better and restored. Similarly, Jesus is calling to us and our response should be one of expectation because he has promised.
“All” nothing can be more inclusive than this calling “all” anyone and everyone is included in this invitation.
“who are weary”
“I will give you rest”, The promise of Jesus when we answer his call is that he will give us rest, relief, vacation. It is an assured end result to all those who come to him, they receive his rest. No one is excluded, no stigma.