Peace of Mind 01: Depression, Anxiety, & Community

Welcome to the start of our four week series on mental health and the Church. It’s time to take out the teaching notes and your Bibles. We’ve got so much to learn. And so much growing to do. Today’s conversation is entitled: Depression, Anxiety, & Community In Matthew’s Gospel, the author reflects on Jesus’ ministry by quoting a prophecy from Isaiah, written over 700 years before Jesus was born… Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not quarrel or cry out; He will not raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory. And in his name the nations will put their hope.-
– The Apostle Matthew And just a few verses earlier, Matthew records these words of Jesus… Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
– Jesus – Well hi friends I’m so
glad we are doing this series and I’m really happy that you are here and to be a part of it. Across all of our sites, I
think this is going to be really healthy for us as a community. I do wanna start today’s message in the most unusual of ways. And that is with an
announcement about my face. What in the world am I talking about? If you zoom in for the close up, I have some swelling around my eyes, and I just didn’t want to be a distraction I wanna name it now in case you’re looking at
me some point and saying, “Did he get in a fight?” No I didn’t, it’s actually just my addiction to Botox is
really out of control. (audience laughs) It’s a odd thing just this
last week I got an infection. I’m now on antibiotics, I’m not contagious, everything’s good. But it started on the top of my head and it’s started to drain
forward down my face so I had a swollen forehead for a while I looked like a Klingon. And then finally it was
down around my eyebrows the swelling looked like Frankenstein. And then it just flattened out my face, I was creature from the Black Lagoon. Then it shifted to one side and was starting to sag I
went straight to Quasimodo. Now it’s slowly dissipating
so this is me looking good. We may have a picture of
how I looked at one point. (audience gasps) What? I know, I know I’m still that sexy. It’s amazing, I understand. But now it’s finally draining I’m just probably gonna puff up and end up looking like a
garden gnome, it’s lovely but I just wanted to mention that in case you’re wondering what is going on there. All is well, and I’m feeling fine. Let me just by way of
introduction say that this is an opportunity for us to be the best versions of
ourselves as a community. Now we know what we
are and what we aren’t. We are a church, we are not a hospital or
psychiatric institution. I am a pastor, I’m not a doctor. And we are brothers and
sisters, we’re family, we’re not clients or therapists. But having said that, it doesn’t mean that the
topic of mental health is something that we just offload and say well that’s not our purview,
that’s not our area. Neither do we try and pretend that we’re something we’re not. But what we say is, as a church, one of the things we should be experts in is on how to love like Jesus. And so this is a
opportunity for us to become the most loving version of
ourselves that we can be and that we’ll have an
impact on the kind of welcome and embrace that we can offer one another when we struggle with
issues of mental health. This is us being ourselves. We’re gonna learn from Scripture. And we’re going to also take time every week of this series
to or not every week, most weeks to just hear from someone else, have brief interviews,
mostly just to model that this is something
we wanna talk about. And we’re doing that again
today in a few minutes. But one of the things I do
wanna also make mention of is that coinciding with this series is our Peacemakers Campaign
and that is once a year, we take time to raise funds
for different compassion work that’s happening outside
of The Meeting House. Especially through MCC,
Mennonite Central Committee, which is the compassion
arm of our denomination. And we are encouraging you to, as we talk about becoming our best selves, to also get involved
with what it means to be a blessing to others
outside of The Meeting House in a variety of ways we
are working through MCC with a peace building with some of the most vulnerable people around the world and here in
Canada, with indigenous peoples and you’ll hear more about
it in the weeks to come but we encourage you to get involved in whatever opportunities are
talked about at your site. All right, the Apostle Peter, let’s jump straight to Peter, says this, and in a few moments I’m gonna get you to open your bibles to Matthew. But the Apostle Peter says this, “Now that you have purified yourselves “by obeying the truth “so that you have sincere
love for each other” Now that’s true about who you are already, that’s just a setup for the command. “Love one another deeply, from the heart.” I love this, you’ve committed to the truth and so you already have a
sincere love for one another so what’s my command? Love more, love deeper,
love better from the heart. So every community of love,
as Peter writes to the church in his century, every community of love doesn’t get to a point
of saying all right, we’re doing the love thing,
let’s move onto something else. But rather we’re doing the love thing how can we do the love thing better? How can we love deeper, the
Apostle Peter would say. And that is going to
be our focus for today. The Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13, he talks about love and says “Love is patient and kind. “It does not dishonour others. “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” Love is not sentiment,
it’s not sentimentality, it’s not emotional
disposition, it’s not romance. Those can all have their place but love is more robust than that from a ‘Jesusy’ perspective. And it’s a deep and rich
commitment to one another. Now you have in your
notes a number of stats about mental health in Canada. So I won’t walk through all of them except to draw your attention
to the very last stat that’s listed there in the introduction of your sermon notes. That last stat I find fascinating. It says this, “27% of Canadians said
they would be fearful “of being around someone “who suffers from serious mental illness.” And we think that, I appreciate the honesty
of the reporting in this, that while mental illness
can be so misunderstood that when something is unknown and hides in the shadows
of our own engagement and is misunderstood,
that it can engender fear. And part of the privilege
of being a church is that we get involved
in each other’s lives and we push back against the fear, we become a community of people
who get together regularly to intentionally work counterintuitively to push back against fear and prejudice, and bigotry, and the
things that might cause us to judge one another from a distance and say I need to press
in, rather than lean away. I’m gonna lean in, I’m gonna lead forward. This is what the church should be and it’s what we want to encourage our community of love to do,
to love deeper and more richly. We had an Ears to Hear event recently. Our Ears to Hear events are
just kinda open mic events where we give an opportunity for voices who are not
often heard in the church to be able to speak and at
our recent Ears to Hear event on mental illness we
had over 200 people come and we just opened up the
mic, and it was beautiful. I felt like I was standing on Holy ground as I listened to person after person just share from their own
experience of mental illness and part of what that does, it doesn’t give us all
the answers it just, it makes it right to just be open to say this is a community where
we don’t have to hide. And one of the people who spoke at this, her name is Joanne Goodwin, and she is involved at one of our sites and I’ve also gotten to know her recently through a Bible 101 course that we ran out of our house and she was a participant in that. And so she’s kinda my new friend, she’s been in church for a while has struggled with depression,
and she’s also funny. If it’s funny it flies in our family so she’s my new friend and
we just wanna invite her out to just talk a little bit and to model what it is to be real about your mental illness. So why don’t you welcome
like any special guest, Joanne Goodwin. (applause) Thanks for doing this Joanne. One of the other things
I’ll say is we had chairs, nice plush chairs all ready to sit down, relax, have a conversation, and Joanne elected to stand.
– I like to stand. – She’s been doing
public speaking for years she says, “I’m more comfortable
standing than sitting” – But when you sit down
you get an extra roll. I don’t need that.
(audience laughs) I don’t need that.
– Right. I’m right with you my sister, okay so. (audience laughs) Yeah so if any of you were wondering how come you didn’t get her a seat? This is why, so let’s talk about you. Now you have a history in the church you do speaking in churches and you’ve grown up in the church. – Yup, I have. – But you’ve also wrestled
with mental illness. – I have, and that’s
not easy in the church. Especially I was raised in
a very charismatic church. So they just want you to
be happy all the time. – Yeah. – Happy, happy, happy, happy. And you know that’s very hard to hear when you’re suicidal and you
don’t know what it means. We used to sing a you know, (sings) The day of the Lord is my strength You got it.
– Yeah. – And that’s Scripture. It’s true I didn’t understand
it but it is Scripture. But then some idiot, oh
I shouldn’t say that. (audience laughs) That’s bad, that’s not Christ-like. – Oh (Bruxy laughs) – A really strange person.
– I’m praying for your sanctification, don’t worry it’ll come. – Added a verse that was,
the verse was stupid. – Yeah. (sings) If you want joy you can jump for- I don’t wanna jump for joy, I was morbidly obese and suicidal I don’t wanna jump for joy. (Bruxy laughs) But I didn’t know what to do with that. Why do other people seem to get happy? – Yeah. – In the kinda church I
was raised in they’d say, “Stand up and tell us your story.” And somebody would get up and say, “All my life I was miserable, “I didn’t know where I was going “and then I found Jesus “and now I’m so happy” and everyone would go “amen, amen!” Unless you’re in a Baptist
church they would nod. (audience laughs) and then somebody else would
say, “Drugs and alcohol “and then I came to Jesus and
now I’m free and I’m happy.” I didn’t give my story because it stunk. Mine would have been all my life – Yeah. – I was miserable I wanted to die and then I found Jesus, still wanna die. Nobody says Amen to that.
– That doesn’t go over. Well this is the interesting thing about we have a tradition in church of what we could testimonies. – Yeah.
– Where someone they’re almost like
testimonials for a product. – Yeah. – That my life was this way before and now it’s this way after. And we always have to
show the pure progression from something that’s dismal and dark to something that’s beautiful and light, and show the contrast. And so people’s testimonies
when they talk about darkness, suffering, pain, depression,
whatever it may be that would always be very past tense. It’s modeled to give
hope, on the one hand. – Yeah.
– To give hope, But on the other hand it can
allow the rest of us to feel like what’s wrong with me? Because I’m still in the
middle of that struggle. And that was your experience.
– Yup. And I read a article recently, I thought these two sentences
could never go together. I love Jesus with all my
heart, and I’m suicidal. I didn’t think they could go together. But they do.
– Yeah. – Often they do.
– Yeah. – And that’s the sad thing and I didn’t know what
to do with all of mine, I didn’t know if, I thought
I’m just a bad Christian. – So you kept it private. You figured there is
something wrong with you. Which only adds
– Guilt. – Guilt on top of the depression. – Yeah, I just wasn’t spiritual enough. – And then you finally got diagnosed? – Well I had a couple good
plans, for how to take my life. So at the time I was 40,
I’m 67 now but when I – Which you do well by the way. – Yeah no I don’t. (Bruxy laughs) but that’s what you’re
supposed to say so that’s good. – Okay, all right good yeah. – So I was going through an
especially bad time and I was walking across the road
to go to the drugstore to buy what I thought would
be enough drugs to kill me. And I remember thinking maybe
something’s wrong with me. I know it’s not rocket
science but I didn’t know and I remember thinking, and this is the terms I thought
it in, maybe I’m mental. Whatever that means. So I snuck off to a psychiatrist. And after about eight sessions he said to me, “Well
Joanne people like you “with major mood disorders” and I stopped and I said, “Mood disorder? “I got a mood disorder?” I never heard of it. (in accent) “I got a mood disorder?” (audience laughs) I’m not even Italian I don’t
know why I’m talking like this. I got a mood disorder. And he said, “Major”. I said a “Major mood disorder.” I said, “So I’m nuts.” he said, “No, you have
a physiologically based “bio-chemical imbalance and
it requires medication.” I’m in the church, and I
said, “Oh no, no, no, no! “I couldn’t do medication.” I said, “First of all I’m German. “We are strong like bulls. “From good German Mennonite stock. “We are strong.” We used to laugh at
people who took aspirin. We did, we said, “Wimps”. (audience laughs) And plus I was a pastor’s wife. And we don’t do drugs to feel good. I’m sure Nina does but you know she lives- (audience laughs) she lives with you Bruxy,
and you’re (mumbles) – Yeah. (laughs) – I’m kidding, I honestly–
– I’m losing control here. – I have no idea. – I have no idea I think
Nina is probably just fine. That was a joke, but anyway What he said to me, this is the truth. He said to me, I said, “I can’t take
it, I’m not taking meds, “I’m not gonna go over at my family’s, “not gonna go over at my church.” And he said, “One of the side effects “is you could lose weight.” and I said, “I’ll try it.” (audience laughs) And that was honestly the
only reason, that I took it because I thought I’m not
gonna take one little pill and all of this pain is gonna go away, that’s just stupid, but
hey if I could lose weight, well you know what, I
didn’t lose any weight, but I found a level of, I’m gonna call it normal, balanced, that I
had never known before. And after a while I
thought, “Why am I ashamed?” I wouldn’t be ashamed if
I had some other sickness. I kinda felt like I’d see
people who were like me. And I kinda felt like, have
I got something for you. – Yeah. – And then I started thinking I don’t have to be ashamed of being ill. – Yeah. – So I started talking about it. – Well isn’t it interesting
that in the church rather than help you be whole, the church became part of your seclusion, your shame, the hiding,
– Yeah. – Which is the exact opposite
– Yeah. of what a healthy church should be. – Yeah and I did it to myself. Because I didn’t know what was wrong. I thought I guess I am bad, I’m not focused on Christ enough and because the Bible says, “Thou will keep him in perfect peace.” That’s the old language, “Whose mind is stayed on Me.” So as long as you’re focused
on Christ you should be, but you tell a person who’s
clinically depressed to focus, you can’t focus on anything. – That’s part of the problem. – Yeah exactly. – Yeah
– So – So now you have, I mean
this highlights the fact that we are spirits, our souls, our minds, are mediated through a brain,
which is an organ of the body, which can actually be ill, can misfire.
– Yeah, yeah. – You’ve mentioned that
even up until recent times you’ve had a hard time helping
people even see that within the church in some circles
– Yeah because the stigma. They’re afraid. They’re afraid to take meds. It’s still out there. You know in 2013, they did a survey amongst
evangelical pastors, and still 53% thought
that clinical depression could be cured with
Bible study and prayer. That shocked me. – Yeah – Because I thought it’s
getting talked about now it’s not what it used to be. – Clinical depression, something
that’s wrong with an organ in your body, just Bible
study and prayer would be, – Its not just disappointment. – Tell us about that story
you told me about the Pastor – About a year and a half
ago, my meds stopped working. I found new ones and I’m fine. But they stopped working and I was sinking into
that black hole again. And I mentioned to a
pastor friend of mine, I said, “I’m not well right
now, I’m not doing well.” And he said to me, ” Are you
spending time in the Word?” “Are you meditating?” You know what? The spirit of slap (audience laughs) came over me. But what I did do was I said to him, “You didn’t ask me that when
I had cancer two years ago.” – Interesting. That’s never the first thing if somebody tells you they have cancer, you don’t say oh are
you reading your Bible? Because the implication
is, clearly if I had been, I wouldn’t be feeling like that. – Yeah, yeah. – I felt bad. – Yeah, mental illness
is attached with a kinda personal failure, spiritual failure – Yeah.
– Yeah. – It’s good to know you and to know that you’re free from that. – Yeah. – And I appreciate you sharing just so others can get a glimpse of it. Anything else you wanna share? – Well, I was gonna mention
I’m in therapy right now. And my counselor could probably do a lot for your Botox addiction. (audience laughs) If you want just call me – Get off the stage. (Bruxy laughs) I love you. (audience cheers) – Do you love Joanne as much as I do? – [audience] Yeah. – Yeah, and today’s message is called Depression, Anxiety and Community. She’s covering the depression. I’m gonna cover the anxiety. Again, just a model that this is something we can talk about plainly. That anxiety is something
I’ve suffered with for much of my adult life
and in various degrees. Because I’m a highly skewed introvert, and a mild, agoraphobic afraid of open spaces
and groups of people. (Bruxy laughs)
(audience laughs) And because I’m also dyslexic
so I have reading issues and because God has put me in
a job where I read all week and stand in front of crowds
to teach on the weekend, because of that sense
of disconnect sometimes, just occasionally anxiety will
build up until it explodes. And it may happen only once a year or so. But I’ll find myself curled up in a ball on the floor crying. And I can’t even say why can’t
even sometimes there’s not a particular even a triggering
event that I can point to directly it’s over the
last couple of years. It’s happened once in a staff meeting. And I just, but here’s
the beautiful thing is to be a part of a team
of brothers and sisters, here I am at work and I get
to just say hold on a second. I just wanna cry. “Oh what did we said” was
nothing, I have no idea and but just to be able
to share that plainly and say this is just
something that happens. Another time I was
visiting one of our sites and then when I got
there it overwhelmed me. I actually did crumble up on
the floor and start crying was the oddest thing, I’m sure to say, “oh, our pastors visiting”
“hello-ah”, then I was just down. (audience laughs) But it happens very rarely
but it’s an odd thing. But I just have known early on that if I pretend to be someone I’m not, I will be complicit in my own. Well, cutting myself off from life and the life that God has
for us through one another. And so my joy has been not only
to be part of a staff team, where I can be honest about who I am, but to be part of a church body where I can be honest where I am and just talk plainly about these things to just suck the drama out of it. Say this is actually
just part of being human. And that’s what I hope
part of this series does. Is just diminish the
drama, diminish the drama so that we can be plain in
our humanity with one another. That’s gonna help us love better. Open up your Bibles with
me to Matthew chapter 12. Matthew chapter 12. That’s where we’re headed. And if you don’t have your own
Bible, look on with someone or grab a visitor Bible, or use your phone and our Meeting House
website has notes on it if you wanna go completely digital. But we’re at Matthew chapter 12. We’re gonna start with verse 15. Matthew 12 verse 15. Part of what we do as a
church, if you’re new with us, part of what we do is we
study the life of Jesus throughout all of Scripture, because we think all of Scripture is somehow pointing to Jesus, and is gonna help us
understand Jesus better. So we read all the scripture, and we get our eyes fixed on Jesus and we try and learn lessons from Jesus that we can apply to our lives. But when I say apply to our lives, we don’t just mean we’re
gonna go as single individuals away from here and try
and apply it individually. Apply to our lives together. We’re gonna turn our
chairs to face one another. We’re gonna get involved
in each other’s lives. We do that at the Meeting House primarily through home church, and
we’re going to help each other work this out in relationship. And so as we look at this passage, here’s what we’re gonna do. Two things, we’re gonna try
and understand Jesus better and then we’re going to immediately say, Well, how can that apply to
my life, our lives together? So let’s look at this
passage Matthew chapter 12, starting with verse 15. Well actually just the verse
before that, in verse 14, it says that the Pharisees, the religious leaders, at that
time wanted to kill Jesus, the Greek word literally means to destroy. They wanted to destroy Jesus. He was becoming a threat
to their religious system, and they wanted him erased and
they wanted him to disappear. And that is the narrative of the Gospels. It was the religious establishment, that in conjunction with political power, worked to orchestrate the
crucifixion of Christ. And by the way, sometimes the
Church has misunderstood this as somehow this is Jews against Jesus, is Judaism against Jesus,
of course Jesus is Jewish, all of his disciples are Jewish. This is not about one group of people. The problem with the
Jewish religious leaders is not that they were Jewish
is that they were religious, they were legalistic. They were power hungry. And Jesus was a threat to this. And so they want him destroyed. Now Jesus becomes aware of
this you see in verse 15, “Aware of this” verse 15 begins, “Jesus
withdrew from that place.” But even when he withdrew,
people followed him, “A large crowd followed him and
he healed all who were ill.” He healed all who are ill. In the context of the
series, we can think, well, that’s an encouraging verse. For some people that’s
encouraging, Jesus heals. On the other hand, it can be discouraging, say well, he hasn’t healed me. So is there something wrong with me? A part of our theology of healing too is something to understand is that healing in the Bible comes in waves whenever there’s fresh revelation when God is saying trust my messenger, healings or miracles usually accompany. Like at the time of Moses, there was a wave of
miracles accompanying Moses. And then certain prophets
like Elijah and Elisha, waves of miracles. But then there’s hundreds of years where there’s no miracles in the Bible. And then Jesus comes and
there’s waves of miracles and the apostles who are being
filled with the Holy Spirit to write scripture for
us, they had what’s called the signs of the apostles
waves of miracles. But if we follow church history, it’s right after that
in the next generation, where they died down again. So what do we do with that? We celebrate the fact
because sometimes people say, how come miracles don’t happen today, like they did in Bible days. But that’s part of our theology is that surrounding the
ministry of Jesus, in this case, and his apostles, we expect the validation
of a new wave of miracles. And we don’t expect that
to the same degree today. But it doesn’t mean that we stop praying that we don’t that God doesn’t heal. It means that we ask and then we trust. I found that sometimes people
are even too self concerned to even pray for someone’s healing because they’re afraid if
the person is not healed, that might reflect badly on my prayer. And so we can pray for healing,
we can pray for miracles, but then we also trust
that in God’s hands. That we don’t walk around
with that same immediate, authoritative everyone is fully healed the way Jesus had and that
is part of what we believe. So pressure’s off no guilt, no shame because God hasn’t answered
your prayer the way you want, or you have not been healed
the way everyone was healed in the ministry of Jesus. Things are different now by design. But we can still pray for healing and sometimes the answer to
our prayer will be one another and each other’s lives. God delights to bring
healing and wholeness through partnership with his people, not just independently and miraculously. A healthy community that brings wholeness is its own kinda miracle. So here, we do find that Jesus
heals people, heals everybody And in verse 16, it says, “He warned them not to
tell others about him.” Well, now that’s interesting. Sometimes Jesus will say go and show yourself to the
priest, go and let others know. Other times he says, okay,
now don’t tell everyone. And there’s a couple of reasons why. In fact, theologians
have given this a name, it’s called the Messianic Secret. And that is, the
Messianic Secret refers to a number of different things. But one of them the way it’s used today, is that Jesus was stewarding
his own fame you could call it, his own well knownness,
his own reputation. Too much too soon and a
couple of things could happen. If word got out, of course, everyone who comes to him is healed, he could get stalled in his ministry and just become a full time healer and not be able to press forward at all. Also, those kinds of crowds
when the Pharisees hate him, they would realize, oh, oh,
he’s getting too popular. We need to accelerate our
plans to have him killed and Jesus could be killed too soon. Because remember, Jesus
didn’t just come to die. He also came to live. He came to teach, he came
to show us how to live. And so Jesus decided three years would be about the right amount of
time to disciple his disciples to train them and teach them so he could pass the torch to the church. But if too much happened
too soon too early in his messianic life, it would lead to his death too quickly. Sure, he would have died for us, but he wouldn’t have had
the chance to live for us. And so Jesus stewards this
information about himself. So in this case, he says, don’t
just go and spread the word that I’m here to heal everybody. There’s more Jesus had to
do with his time on Earth. Now this is to fulfill so now in verse 17, the author of this gospel,
Matthew, or one of his disciples is starting to reflect on all of this. And he says, “This is was
to fulfill what was spoken “through the prophet Isaiah.” 700 years earlier, Isaiah had
written this about the Messiah who would one day come, it’s a prophecy. And Matthew goes, oh,
this reminds me of that. And now let’s read that prophecy. He’s quoting from Isaiah chapter 42. And he writes, “Here is my
servant whom I have chosen, “the one I love, in whom I delight. “I will put” remember, it’s a prophecy
about the future, “I will put my spirit on him, “and he will proclaim
justice to the nations.” So the first thing we learn
about this coming Messiah Jesus is that his message will be about justice. Justice is a word that
means putting things right, righteousness it’s about putting things
into right relationship. And he’s gonna be proclaiming that. So whenever we work for justice when we want relationships to be right, both at the Meeting House and beyond like with our Peacemakers campaign, we are moving in the flow
of the Messiah, of Jesus. He’s going to be, Jesus is just, he’s gonna work for the good of all. And then in verse 19, “He
will not quarrel or cry out, “no one will hear his
voice in the streets.” Literally, Isaiah 42 says he’s not gonna raise his voice in the streets,
he’s not gonna quarrel, cry out or go around shouting. So Jesus is not, the
Messiah is not someone who draws attention to himself, just to draw attention to himself. He is not going to use
flash, shock and awe, just to get attention. He’s not gonna be someone
who screams and shouts and who uses even a
verbal form of aggression to try and draw you closer. It’s actually he contrasts this now is gonna be his gentleness
that gets people to lean in, take another step. As we read on he says, “Not
only he will not quarrel or cry out, no one will hear
his voice in the streets.” Look at verse 20. I love this line, by the way, verse 20, “a bruised reed he will not
break and a smoldering wick, “he will not snuff out “till he has brought justice
there it is again to victory.” A bruised reed he will not break and a smoldering He
will will not snuff out. The prophet’s mind goes to this imagery of very vulnerable things that
without a second thought you could easily dismiss
or break or extinguish. A bruise reed, you’re walking along and there’s a read
that’s just half broken, or it’s a little bent, and it would just be easy to just take it and snap it off and keep walking. What is that he’s saying, Jesus will be so gentle. He will even a reed that
have no particular value he’s not just gonna,
you’re not gonna break it or wick a smoldering wick a little flame just about to go out. And it seems tempting to just go (imitates putting out a wick) he’s gonna no, no, he’s
not going to do that he’s gonna believe that
there’s a hope for more, even from the flame that can’t keep lit and it’s just struggling. He has such a gentleness and compassion. He cares about the broken. Jesus is gentle, Jesus
is gentle, not only just and this is something we
will recognize him by. Remember what we said we’re doing? We’re looking at Jesus and saying how can we be more ‘Jesusy’? How can we be a people who say bruised reeds and smoldering wicks, this is a community of those. And we want to encourage
healing and wholeness in gentle ways. And then it goes on and says
“In his name, the nations will put their hope” the nations moves out into
the world in his name, the nations will put their hope Literally Isaiah says in his teaching, the nations will put their hope in his teaching it’s
the Hebrew word Torah, in his law, or his teaching in his Torah, the nations will put their hope. This is gonna spread and the teaching what Jesus was able to teach during his life, not only his death is something
that is gonna bring hope. And it raises this beautiful
issue of hope to me, because I love that it uses the word hope because hope is such an honest concept. Because hope says I
believe it can get better, but it’s not better now. Hope doesn’t make sense
that things aren’t bad now. And yet, it believes
that there’s possibility for something more. The Apostle Paul says in Romans 8:24. He says, “For in this hope we are saved. “But hope that is seen is not hope at all. “Who hopes for what they already have?” I like it, he’s just
pointing out remember, this hope idea is so honest
because you only have hope, if things aren’t right now. And so it opens the door if we’re going to be a community of hope that means we’re going to be a community that’s honest about how
things are right now. Later on in the same book, the Apostle Paul says, “Be joyful in hope, “patient in affliction
and faithful in prayer.” Be joyful in hope. Hope is something I would just love to see as a rallying concept for
this series, that we do both. We are not saying well I’m
we’re just being we’re sitting in the honesty of our suffering only. And therefore we are hopeless and dark and pat ourselves on the back
for having achieved that. But neither are we going to
say all is well, life is good buck up little camper and say that church is the place where you have to put on your happy face, which is the exact opposite of what church is supposed to be. Where you have to come
here to fake it to fit in? No, no, it’s just the opposite. And hopefully through home church, we’ll get to practice what it means to really be our authentic selves, engage with other people around us. It takes practice. And we hope that you will
join in that practice. Now I’ve got a few more thoughts to share by way of conclusion, but first, let me throw it open to Q & Eh. We’ll have a an extended Q & Eh our last Sunday in this series. So please, across our
site send in questions. And we’d love to respond to those the last Sunday of the series, but right now, does anyone here at this site have a question? Just shoot up your hand. We’ve got someone with a microphone, who can bring it to you, anyone? It’s mostly them. We’ll have to see you. Okay, I think they’re coming forward here. And do we have a text
question while we’re waiting? Okay, Lauren says, “Bruxy,
if you’re willing to share, “how did you end up in a role “that must be such a
trigger for your anxiety? “And why would God give someone
both a gift for teaching “and a severe anxiety of it? “And thank you for doing it.” Thank you, that’s so great. Is it interesting is
sometimes God calls us or gifts us for particular roles outside of our personality disposition. I’m encouraged, for instance,
by the example of Moses. You remember Moses, God said, I wanna call you to lead Israel. And Moses said, but I’m
scared, I stutter, I can’t I’m supposed to be your
mouthpiece, I can’t even talk and all he had were the
excuses of why he couldn’t why God had made a
mistake by choosing him. And sometimes God will do that. Not always but I mean, sometimes
he just chooses someone in the sweet spot of their giftedness and their personality
construct it all fits together in a beautiful package. But sometimes he calls people in counter distinction to that. Maybe it’s because and God
only knows I’m theorizing but maybe it’s because he knows that if I had myself all put together there’s a seed of pride in
me that could be nourished and teased out that
wouldn’t be healthy for me. And so the fact that I
get to partner with God in ways that also are
regularly aware of my own vulnerability and
weaknesses, is a good thing. We know that with the Apostle Paul, we’ll talk about this later in the series. Apostle Paul had a
particular weakness that was a God approved weakness in his life. And Paul said, take it away, take it away, his thorn in his flesh he called it. We don’t know exactly what it was, but this thorn in his flesh and God says I wanna leave it there. Because it’ll teach you
to rely on my grace. it’ll teach you to rely on my grace. And so in some strange way
I’m this paradoxical person, but many of us are, many of us are in the different
areas where God uses us is going to be even through
our areas of weakness that God wants to use you. Not in spite of but actually
because of your weakness. You’ll be more open to being used by God. At least that has been my experience. So thanks for that question. Okay, yes and then down here. – [Man] A psychologist
friend of mine one said, “No one is physically
healthy 100% of the time, “nor is anyone mentally
healthy 100% of the time.” Would you agree with that? – Yes, In fact, I would
say to some extent, health both physically, mentally,
emotionally, spiritually is more a continuum than a category. More of a continuum than a
category, does that make sense? We’re along a continuum
of health in different rather than just I’m in this
category or that category. So no one is completely mentally unwell God can still meet them and
there’s still signs of health. And no one is completely
mentally healthy all the time. We are always somewhere
along that continuum. Yeah, so in some sense, there’s
no complete us versus them. Now, some of us have our
further long continuum to where we are diagnosable
and there’s medical treatment, there’s psychiatric treatment, there’s specific things to be done. And some of us are not down
that far down the continuum, but we are all struggling with something. We are all struggling with something. Yeah, thank you, thanks for raising that. And as a community of people who are all struggling with something, here’s my complete concluding thought is that I delight in us
and want to invite you to delight with me in us being
a community of the broken, of bruised reeds and smoldering wicks. And of admitting that there’s
something wrong with all of us and some of us might not be mental health might be physical health. And some of us it may be
actually relational breakage or something that’s just
happened in our lives recently that hasn’t gone well and it puts us in a difficult scenario. There’s strange combinations of life that go into making us human. And this is what church
should be at its best as a community of the broken. 2 Corinthians 1, the
Apostle Paul says this, “Praise be to the God and
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, “the Father of compassion and the” I love this title, “the God of all comfort, “who comforts us in all our troubles, “so that we can comfort
those in any trouble “with the comfort we
ourselves received from God.” One of the things it
does say then, is that those of us who are going
through particular struggles who are operating out of our weakness can be used by God real time. It says, we can comfort
others with the comfort that we receive, ongoing present tense. Not received it’s not I
went to a bad time once. So now that I’m strong and healthy and all well put together, I
can talk about my bad past, or my difficult struggle. But the comfort that
I’m currently receiving, that I’m currently processing
out of my current weakness is something God says I can
partner with you right now, to help others. So I do wanna say, no pressure, but also no judgment and no shame. Those of you who are
struggling with mental illness, you do not have to consider
yourself on the sidelines, saying, I’m looking forward to
my healing so God can use me so that I can tell my
testimony in the past, about what I went through. God can use you now. Even as a person with mental illness, as a person with a significant weakness that can open you up to
being partnered with God now and sometimes the people
who have it all together are the least open. Now the good news is, if
you are happy and healthy and have an intact ego and
don’t have a care in the world, God can still use you. (audience laughs) It’s possible because miracles happen. (audience laughs) But God primarily seems to want to pass on His encouragement, and His
courage and His compassion and His care through broken people. You don’t have to wait. You don’t have to wait till
you have it all together. Out of your weakness, it
gives you a kinda empathy and a connection with other
people who are hurting. You don’t have to it
doesn’t mean you have to tell your story and spill
your guts in order to make in order to be used, it
means that you are now wired with a kind of empathy
and compassion and courage and understanding and insight that God can use to be
a blessing to others. And so don’t wait, don’t be sidelined. Let me close with this. It’s my prayer for this community. It’s my prayer throughout this series and I’d like to invite
you to join with me. The begin the Apostle Paul,
back in the book of Romans, he prays this, he says, “May the God of hope,” the God of hope, “fill you with all joy and peace “as you trust in him, so that
you may overflow with hope “by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Are you catching this? If it was just may God
give you all joy and peace. If that’s all it said, we might say, oh how come I don’t feel all the joy and all the peace all the time. But joy and peace can be
experienced by the way with someone who is currently suffering. In small measure, you get a
taste, but it’s the God of hope, who will help us overflow with hope. See, there’s that raw honesty, we can get a taste of joy
and a taste the peace. But that’s going to
happen when we have hope and hope is that raw, honest
disposition that says, I believe there’s something better ahead, but right now it hurts,
right now something’s wrong. And when we are in that place of hope, we can be open to the
taste of joy and peace. And this is going to be my
prayer for this community that we become a community of hope. And I’m gonna invite you
just to join me in that as we pray for the rest of this series. Next week, we have someone
with schizophrenia, who we’re gonna be talking with, who in the midst of her
schizophrenia has an ongoing thing I have experience it has been
an amazing blessing to me, people like Joanne, speaking out of her seasons of depression continues to be a significant blessing. I want to pray that we continue to grow as a community of hope. And I think God is doing that here. Let’s pray. Heavenly Father, the Father of hope. I ask that you would continue
by the power of your Spirit to fill us up not just
as single individuals but as a community, with your presence. Give us the freedom to be real family. To be a community of love, of sincere love and a community that
wants to love even deeper. I pray that we would be
delivered from any religiosity that would tempt us to pretend. But without drama, may we
simply be our true selves and have hope as well, for the good things that you
are doing in us and through us. Holy Spirit, we invite you
to teach us, lead us, fill us and to give us hope in Jesus’ name I pray. And all God’s people said – [audience] Amen – Amen.

2 thoughts on “Peace of Mind 01: Depression, Anxiety, & Community

  • I could have stayed in Church for hours – Joanne you were so inspirational and your sense of humour is fabulous, and of course we are beyond Blessed to have Sir Bruxy as our teaching Pastor !

  • Joanne is simply a breath of fresh air. I have my own mental health issues and so thank you guys for this series. This is truly a subject to be brought into the light. Blessings to all.

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