God Said No
I’ve been told, as many people with mental illness have, that I should pray about it. People seem to think that if I pray hard enough, my anxiety will disappear. While I don’t disagree that it’s a possibility, I don’t consider prayer to be a treatment for mental illnesses.
Because here’s the thing, we don’t assume that about other conditions. While someone with cancer may pray for God to heal them, the majority of the Christian community isn’t going to tell them they don’t need medical treatment and they just need to pray harder.
I’m not saying God can’t heal. But trusting God CAN heal you and trusting God WILL heal you are two different things. I trust He can heal me. I know He can heal me. I have no doubt in my mind.
I also know it's been at least 15 years and He hasn't healed me.
I trust He can, but I'm not going to sit around helplessly and wait for Him to. At some point, I have to accept that this is the life God has given me, pull myself up, and do something with it.
Trusting that God will heal me implies that I don't trust His plans. It implies that I need Him to take away my anxiety in order to fulfill my purpose in life. And that's just not true.
Again, it's been 15 years. My social anxiety is part of His plan, that much is clear. So by relying on God to heal me, by assuming that He will heal me, I'm saying that I know better than Him. I'm saying that His plan for me cannot include anxiety. I'm saying that I trust Him to heal me, but I don't trust His plan for me.
So I don't pray for healing, and I'd never ask anyone to pray that for me. Instead, I pray for things like the strength to get through the next ten minutes. Or peace in the midst of a high anxiety moment. Or the ability to take a deep breath. I pray that He will work through me, exactly how I am and how He made me.
Others still pray for healing and that's totally fine. Like I said, God can heal. The problem is when prayer is being used as the only source of treatment when there are other options. The problem is a reliance on God to do what you're asking Him to do.
If someone told me everything happens for a reason, I'd have to resist the urge to scream. But, I know everything happens for a reason. It's a terrible thing to say to comfort someone, but it's true. God gave me anxiety. God has not taken it away. God said no when I asked. My anxiety is part of His plan. I trust His plan just as much as I trust His ability to heal.
So I accept that this is the life and the brain I have. I've accepted that God probably isn't going to take it away. And because I've accepted that, I can do something about it and do something with it. I can use my anxiety and my story to reach people I never could otherwise (like this blog). I can live a fully functional life with a disorder I wish I didn't have. Just because God can take it away doesn't mean I need him to.
I trust him. I trust his plan, but I'm not helpless and I'm not relying on a miracle. I'm using what God has given me. I'm trusting Him.
You don't get to pick what God gives you. You can't force God to take away something you don't like. That doesn't mean you don't have choices. God will give you the opportunities, but you have to do something about them. You get to decide how you respond. You get decide to trust Him and use what He's given you, or to hope He'll heal you and wait for a miracle.
God is in control, but that doesn't make you helpless.