Mental Health

Worshipping Through Mental Illness

God is Our Greatest Encourager | Libero Magazine 2
Worship is a huge part of what it is to be a Christian -- it is lifting our eyes, praising God for who He is, and expressing our love to Him. When we’re struggling, it can be harder to worship for lots of reasons.

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Editor's Note: We are a non-religious magazine. However, we acknowledge that spirituality is an important part for some. Our Faith column is a place for anyone to discuss how faith positively affects their mental health and how to improve the conversation around mental health within faith communities.

Worship is a huge part of what it is to be a Christian — it is lifting our eyes, praising God for who He is, and expressing our love to Him. When we’re struggling mental illness, it can be harder to worship for lots of reasons. We can feel disconnected, angry, lost, afraid, ashamed, disappointed, and hopeless.

God’s goodness is completely independent of our circumstances.

So we always have reasons to worship.

We can have faith in His character knowing every ray of light, every good moment, every beautiful aspect of our lives is poured from Him.

In the message version of James 1:17, it talks about these gifts as “rivers of light cascading down from the Father of light.”

There is no lack in His love for us wherever we are; it cascades.

We are constantly soaked in His goodness, even when our walls and fears prevent us from feeling it. However dark things get, we can know God is working behind the scenes, teasing threads of hope into the situation.

He will never give up on us.

In Romans 12:1, we are instructed to “offer our bodies as a living sacrifice” — this is expressed as being the ‘true’ act of worship. Wow. I remember finding this verse incredibly challenging when I was in the depths of my eating disorder.

Firstly, any mention of my physical body in the Bible made me uncomfortable, as it brought such guilt and led to my facing reality. It was much easier to compartmentalise and pretend the body I was destroying daily was completely separate to the ‘internal me.’

Secondly, being a ‘living sacrifice’ involves a lot of surrender.

This is especially hard when you’re clinging to the illness that offers empty promises of security. Letting go is terrifying. The most important thing is knowing we don’t do this in our own strength. Often, my surrender can look like praying to even want to be changed.

Thankfully, we have a helper to guide us: “and the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don’t even know what we should pray for, or how we should pray, but the Holy Spirit prays for us in groanings that cannot be expressed in words.” (Romans 8:26).

Your worship is just that — yours.

God knows our hearts and He wants us to bring ourselves in worship, not the person we feel like we should be. There is a part of God’s heart only you can touch in worship — because He created you as a unique child.

This means it is natural worship will look different for each of us and in each season. It doesn’t have to be dancing in celebration or arms raised high. It can be kneeling facedown, sobbing, or holding out one shaking hand. It can be mouthing the words while you sit there, numb.

God knows what we are capable of in each moment and He just wants us to come to Him, as we are.

We were created to be affected, to be vulnerable, to feel.

God does not want us to be robotic. He designed us in His image — to be passionate, dynamic, and moved by love. Without also feeling the dark, painful end of the spectrum, we would be unable to be those things.

He knows. The darkest, most hopeless, least attractive moment of your life is the one in which Christ died for you in.

Your brokenness is not a surprise to Him. This is the ‘you’ He chooses and wants to be close to. This messy, poorly, desperate ‘you’ is the worshipper he loves to meet with.

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Anna is a UK-based medical student who loves Jesus, strong tea, clear cold sunny weather, tiny humans (especially under 5s), football and singing harmonies at every opportunity. She has been recovering from anorexia, depression, anxiety and self-injury since 2011 and is passionate about the freedom that recovery can bring.

SITE DISCLAIMER: The opinions and information shared in this article or any other Content on our site may not represent that of Libero Network Society. We hold no liability for any harm that may incur from reading content on our site. Please always consult your own medical professionals before making any changes to your medication, activities, or recovery process. Libero does not provide emergency support. If you are in crisis, please call 1-800-784-2433 or another helpline or 911.