I have to battle my demons daily. Sometimes they are more powerful. Sometimes they are manageable. I can only manage them through the grace of God. Apart from that, I just don’t have a weapon in my arsenal.
The purpose of this series of posts is to give some ideas on how to tangibly and proactively take action in reaching out to just one mentally ill person in your congregation.
Introduce yourself to them. Just go up, tell them your name, ask theirs and say you are glad they are here.
I cannot speak for all mentally ill people, but my experience is that I do or say things odd or inappropriate. I am socially awkward. I don’t know how to make small talk. Sometimes I share things too openly. As life has gone on, I have been the subject of conversation of people among others, with my pastors, with my former husband. If I was made aware of these things, it made me even more closed off, and really at this point in my life now, I am not able to walk through the doors of a church and into a sanctuary.
I certainly need to know common boundaries. There must be a way to communicate this in a nurturing environment. Right now, it is with my parents. AA has been another good place to be accepted. It has always been regrettable to me that the church was harsher. When I want a soft place to land,my heart’s desire is to land among the Bride of Christ. Ultimately that is what it will be. I think the churches are moving in that direction. My goal is to perhaps offer some tools to help people to effectively minister to to the mentally ill.
So the take away from today is to walk up to a person who seems strange or awkward and hold out your hand and say hello. Welcome.