I was watching my kids swim in the pool. The two boys were swimming very close to each other.
I heard one of them yell, “Stop trying to take me under!” The other boy yelled back, “I’m not trying to take you under. I’m trying to stay above!”
Being a person who works with struggling people regularly and having been a struggling person myself, I was struck with the metaphor.
When people are struggling to stay afloat, whether physically or mentally, they are grasping for anything solid enough to hold them up. To those of us who are struggling to stay afloat ourselves, it can be mistaken as manipulation rather than survival.
Does that mean we let them pull us under? Absolutely not. It means we get ourselves back on solid ground, throw them a
life preserver, call for a lifeguard, and remain compassionate.
Only you know how much help you are capable of. Maybe you already have a life preserver in the water that you could scoot over and share. Maybe you ARE the lifeguard and need to pull this person out of the water. Perhaps this person needs further help, and you must do CPR until the EMT’s arrive to take them to the hospital.
There are many roles in helping someone who is struggling, and we can each play different roles at different points in our lives. We all have different skills and capabilities. Sometimes we are walking through hard things ourselves and
can’t do much for others for a season. Other times we might be doing great and have the ability to share more of ourselves. During another season, we might be the ones drowning and in need of this amazing God-given support system.
No, I didn’t leave God out of the equation. God has been here all along. God sent the lifeguards and the EMT’s. He put a calling on these peoples’ lives long before you were the one in need of help. He strategically placed the life preservers where they would be needed before anyone knew if they would ever be used. Just like you wouldn’t turn away a lifeguard while drowning, don’t turn away resources to help you with your mental health. These resources may come in the form of friends, doctors, counselors, other helpers and professionals, medications, rehab, and many other things.
Also, don’t turn away the opportunity to be a resource for someone when you are able. 1 John 3:17 says, “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” Don’t be the person standing at the edge of the pool yelling, “I’ll pray for you!” before walking away. Absolutely, pray, but let’s also be the hands and feet of Jesus. He frequently calls us to do more.
Are we listening?
Megan grew up in rural Wisconsin, where she was always known as the quiet girl with a book in her hands. Now Megan is working on her lifelong dream of becoming the author of her very own book.
Out of her own struggle with trauma and mental health, she created the Jordan Crossings blog to empower those who are healing from trauma and educate Christians on how to minister to those who are hurting.
Megan is a member of Proverbs 31 Compel Training, has a bachelor’s degree in psychology with an emphasis in crisis counseling, and is currently working on her master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling.
She also serves in recovery ministry at her local church. Megan is, first and foremost, a child of God. She’s married to a firefighter, has two biological children, and is currently on the path to adopting her two foster children.
To watch for updates on her future book and to read more about mental health from a Christian perspective, you can follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and her website.