How MercyMe's 'Welcome to the New' Changed My Life as a Christian With Anxiety
Mental illness creates all kinds of challenges for those affected. Although faith is a great comfort, being a Christian with a mental illness comes with its own unique set of challenges. Church members who don’t understand mental illness may tell you if you had more faith, it would go away or all you need is to pray more. Being a Christian with clinical anxiety and a sometimes-dysfunctional conscience has, at times, made me my own worst enemy.
Since long before I realized I had anxiety, I have struggled with a confusing conscience. Whenever I woke up with that vague yet overwhelming sense of unease, I thought it must be because I had done something wrong. I would spend hours trying to figure it out and apologize for everything I could think of. I would second guess myself on even the simplest decisions, such as what to wear. I remember so many days of feeling like God must be mad at me or like I was a disgusting human being. Once I realized I was struggling with my mental health, I felt that if I were a strong enough Christian, I should be able to handle this on my own with no outside help.
Since that time, I have learned so much. I now know that my Jesus does not speak through general senses of guilt — anxiety does. I have learned that His love for me is not based on how I feel that day and I do not have to face my problems alone or “have it all together.” The past few years have been a journey of recognizing and becoming better acquainted with my mental health.
One of most influential helps I have received came in the form of a new CD by my longtime favorite Christian band, MercyMe. Take the time to listen to a few of their lyrics, and I think you’ll understand why.
“Now I know that on my worst days, how You love me simply will not change. It’s never really been about what I do, but what You did. Oh yes it is! This ain’t wishful thinking, it’s just how it is…” from Wishful Thinking
“Bring your tired, and bring your pain. Bring your guilt, and bring your shame. Don’t you know that’s not your name? You will always be much more to Me…”
“Every day I wrestle with the voices that keep telling me I’m not right, but that’s all right, cause I hear a Voice and He calls me redeemed, when others say I’ll never be enough…” from Greater
“You are holy, you are righteous, you are one of the redeemed, set apart, a brand new heart, oh you are free indeed…” from Dear Younger Me
“No matter the bumps, no matter the bruises, no matter the scars, still the truth is… the Cross has made you flawless. No matter the hurt, or how deep the wound is, no matter the pain, still the truth is… the Cross has made you flawless.” from Flawless
And my favorite line of all…
“Take a breath, smile, and say, right here, right now, I’m OK, because the Cross was enough.”
In other words, I don’t have to pay for any sins because Jesus already has. When He looks at me, He sees me as flawless. Even on the days anxiety freezes me, even on the days I can’t handle human interaction, even for the hours when I’m walking in a fog. These songs give me truths I can cling to. They have spoken so much healing into my heart and mind. I don’t know whether the songwriter has experience with mental illness, but I do know his music has helped me to differentiate between my mental and emotional health, and my worth as a child of God. And for that, I am so grateful.
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