It’s rare for me to read about my hometown in a ministry book. Actually, it’s only happened once. It was this weekend.
I’ve been reading a book about church discipleship. While I’ve read plenty of those, this is the first that centers on emotional health. I suspect there will be more in years to come. More churches are deciding to give greater consideration to emotional and mental health. I’m grateful for that, but it also means we’ve allowed a lot of pain to go by before now.
Of course, you don’t have a church without people. And to have a healthy church, you need healthy people. Why would we ever think emotional health wasn’t an important part of maturing in Christ?
In Chapter 7 of the book I’m reading, the Galveston Seawall makes an appearance. Did you know people talked about building one before the great storm of 1900? The sentiment against the idea was that it was unnecessary. There was no need. No hurricane would ever hit the third richest city in the country.
But one did.
Many others have followed.
The point of the chapter was to guard against such pride. Like some experts before the 1900 storm, some of us expect we’ll never experience weakness or brokenness. Such hubris can’t see its need for Christ. The irony is it’s even possible to portray a faith so rooted in Jesus you could never fall. Never know powerlessness or vulnerability. Jesus himself may have had those feelings. Other biblical figures, too. But not the one who thinks storms always miss them.
Such vanity only leaves us all the more susceptible. We suffer as a result. Our churches do, too.
Focusing on emotional health is a form of healing and maturing. It’s necessary to better understanding who we are and what keeps us from loving God and others more fully.
It didn’t take long for my city to decide to rebuild. And rebuild they did! Addressing mental health as a piece of discipleship allows us to let God rebuild, to heal us in ways we don’t realize we need.