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Mental Health

Stop Using The Bible to Invalidate Others’ Feelings

I grew up Christian, and one of the things most ingrained in my brain is the idea to “not worry, just trust God.” As a child, this was easy because it was simplified, as most things in the bible are. I didn’t worry as a child as much as I do now.

Today, I’m less Christian. Though I still identify with Christianity, it’s more that I’m Christian-ish. I also worry more. I worry a lot. However, my lack of participation in the church or relationship with God is not the reason I worry more. Maybe it’s just the stress of life, maybe it’s the realities of growing up, or maybe it’s anxiety, but it’s my reality.

Recently, I have seen far too many tweets about just trusting in God, just stop worrying, just whatever. And each time, it feels as though I’m back in Sunday school. And each time, I wonder why it’s not as simple as it used to be. Though the tweets annoyed me, I was able to ignore them for the most part.

It wasn’t until I saw one that said something along the lines of “where in the bible does God say to have anxiety? Choose not to worry, the bible doesn’t want you to” and that's precisely when I lost it. The invalidation of feelings and the very real realities of those with anxiety was too much. It was too blatant. 

I was mad, to say the least. Saying to trust in God is one thing. It demonstrates hope and sometimes that’s all people need in order to keep going. Arguably, hope is the reason people turn to religion despite its inconsistencies and ambiguity. So it makes sense that this mentality would translate into the idea of choosing to hope over choosing to worry.

But this particular tweet wasn’t hope-- no, it’s a direct attack on those who have anxiety, saying that because the bible doesn’t say “be anxious,” then you just shouldn’t be. It’s THAT simple. Just stop being anxious. 

The worst part is that this mentality isn’t one that is simply believed by those with certain religious beliefs. Many people believe that anxiety and other forms of mental illness are things that can just be gotten rid of with the right mindset. And in cases like this, the bible is used as a backing for this kind of believing, which reiterates the toxic idea that mental health can just be wished away. 

This creates an opportunity for those who trust in the bible and trust in God to believe this, since they believe everything else the bible says. It also allows them to push this idea onto others, and to invalidate how they’re feeling. This, in turn, creates the opportunity for these people to further suppress feelings and possible real mental health problems within themselves, and ignore the feelings and experiences of others.

So yes, I’m Chrsitian-ish, and seeing things like these push me further and further away from Christianity. And  honestly, it creates more worry within me. I worry about the people who really think this way, despite the bible telling me not to.

Molly is currently a junior at Hamline University who is studying English, Professional Writing and Communications.
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