Easter + Faith + My Mental Health
In my artwork and on my blog, well... with my life in general, I'm aiming to provide people with experiences to improve their mental health. It's something that I'm passionate about, so at Easter it seems right to talk about the best resource I feel like I have for my own mental health. Please understand that this is incredibly personal; my experience. I'm not asking anyone to agree with me, debate with me, or hail me as an expert. Hopefully, you can do a good job of sifting, and sift through my honest diary-style words to find some new tool for coping, even if our belief systems are very different. This is my own experience of the positive way my beliefs affect my mental health.
Thinking about Easter makes me think about Jesus specifically, not just God in general, the way I usually think of this force/person. I don't think I'll ever fully grasp what Jesus did in stopping all the bad things I've done and that I do, from creating distance between me and a perfect God. Somehow what he did on the cross, (which maybe made more sense in that culture and that context?) folded the universe, closed an immense gap, and brought God and I face to face, allowing me to communicate directly with him. A million questions to ask him, and a million light years, eternity, whatever, to sort out the answers. The point is the relationship. The awareness that I exist in his consciousness. It astounds me, it baffles me, and yet at the core of by being, I feel a quiet strong surge, "It's true." All of my life's experiences of him, (and even people's false representations of him) are like a single drop of the ocean.
This is the God I come to for help. With all the things I'm conscious of doing to stay mentally healthy, sometimes they don't get done. When dark clouds that seemed far off are suddenly raining down on me, I ask God for a way out. The familiar light appears on the dark path. When I was a teenager I remember feeling really sad and asking God what I should do. Some small happy "coincidence" would present itself like a rope lowered into the pit I was in. I could grab hold of it, I could choose to be helped by it, and I would feel lifted out. To this day when circumstances seem to create a perfect storm for me to have poor mental health, (anxiety) I remember that God's waiting to save me, and my simple, "Help me", thought is answered by some event, some change to my circumstances, or just an instantaneous change in my brain. What an amazing thing to have access to.
The gifts I have, I give freely, without anyone needing to convert, change their mind, or even give thought to what they believe in order to enjoy them, but this is where they come from. This is where my hope and trust comes from. This is where I find my comfort and my rest.