Is It Okay To Have Jesus And A Therapist Too?

You can have Jesus and a therapist too: Demystifying mental health in the church
Some Christians experience a narrative from fellow believers that suggests seeking Mental Health support from health care professionals indicates a lack of faith or rejection of God’s healing power. 

This blog clearly argues that it’s okay to love Jesus and seek professional therapy.  In fact, seeking professional help for mental health difficulties can be a real act of faith.  Yes, it can be challenging to make contact with a therapist when you sense one of two believers might be closed minded or judgmental about this important form of support.  However, if you have any sense that you are struggling with your mental health and wellbeing, it’s time to shake off any sense of shame and find assurance that Your God does, indeed want you to live a fullness of life:

“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10.  NIV)

Jesus is on the Side of Anyone in Need.
Time and time again, the Gospels show Jesus to be a sensitive and loving presence, concerned for the mental wellbeing of those in need.  Jesus was the ultimate pastoral leader who loved the hurting and broken like no other.  He encouraged those in pain to find peace: “come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28.  NIV).  In the Beatitudes, Jesus tells us: “blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4. NIV).  And in his encounter with the woman at the well in John 4, Jesus responds with a non-judgemental interest in the woman, and her life experiences.

For these reasons, it is entirely appropriate to combine faith in Jesus with professional therapy.  Therapy can move us towards the fullness of life God intends us to lead.  Therapy can release us from burdens that are not ours to carry, and therapy provides a safe space for us to explore more of what it means to be us.  An “us” that God has created, knows us by name and loves us with an eternal love.  Sometimes we need the support of a supportive and empathic therapist to remind us of this truth, to remind us that we are truly lovable and worthy. 

Stewardship:  Caring for the Wonder that is God’s Creation.
Indeed, when we think about the Biblical concept of stewardship, it’s hard to understand why some believers are reluctant to embrace therapeutic help.  Stewardship reminds us that, as humans, we have been given responsibility for caring for the world and the creatures within the world.  That includes us as human creatures!  We are used to the Biblical verses of 1 Corinthians 6:19 suggesting that we care for our own physical health:
“Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you” (NIV).

Indeed, our mental health is a key part of our wellbeing and functioning. Our mind is contained within our body.  It’s not true that our mind and body are separate.  Our mental and emotional health impacts our body.  For anyone who has experienced severe depression, you’ll know how hard it can be to simply take a shower or even brush your teeth.  Your mental difficulty causes real physical issues.  And anxiety so often leads to compulsive skin picking, nervous physical responses and somatic unease. 

Sadly, suicide was the twelth leading cause of death overall in the United States, claiming the lives of over 44,834 people in 2020.  These sobering statistics are a reminder that mental health truly impacts physical health.  We cannot consider one as distinct from the other.  God designed us to be holistic beings:  with body, soul and mind all connected.  Caring for our body means caring for our mind.  No-Christian would encourage another believer to leave a broken leg untreated, or to ignore worrying physical symptoms.  Mental health is simply an aspect of our wider health and wellbeing.

Therapy Removes Barriers to the Gospel
The many Christian Therapists out there know that their training and professional experience can equip people to live the fullness of life God intends for them.  Of course, when we are in despair, hurting and experiencing mental agony its very hard to really hear and hold onto Gospel truths.  We can think of mental difficulties as a barrier to the gospel.  Christians think nothing of removing the barriers of poverty, geographical isolation and lack of access to the Gospel.  Mental health struggles should be treated as a barrier to the gospel and dealt with accordingly:  with professional and informed support. 

It is an act of charity and love to support any believer in their quest for better health and wellbeing.  Achieving the peace of mind that allows a person to really believe and hold onto the truth that they are loved by an Everlasting Father allows for the Gospel to be embraced in ways that are life transforming.

So, if you are considering making those tentative steps to accessing therapy, you need not hide your faith, or consider that your faith prevents you from this valuable form of support. Download the Christian Therapist On Demand app and get started today. It is entirely possible to love Jesus and a have a therapist too.  Therapy plus Jesus is a powerful commitment to spiritual, metal, physical and emotional wellbeing. 

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