How “free” do you truly want to be? I want to live fully, deeply, and completely in every ounce of freedom that my life can hold. As we live our lives today, freedom requires us to choose it and freedom can also play a pivotal role in our mental health and wellness, specifically as we build a healthy and restful life during a pandemic by protecting ourselves as women of color.
Grab a cup of tea. Sip and savor as we dive into the conversation!
The writer and theologian C.S. Lewis said that “Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” I believe this is one stunning picture of what freedom can be. Sometimes we get stuck because the pain hurts so bad, whether it be emotional, physical, or relational. But if we stay in those places, we’ll never be released to move with freedom into our next chapters.
Freedom is lived in the going forward, not the turning around and heading backward. Freedom is motion in a new and more life-sustaining direction. Freedom is a gift from God that is available to each one of us. And to get there, we must be women who choose to want to go there and build lives of grace and ease.
Did you know that globally, more than 300 million people suffer from depression, and 260 million suffer from anxiety disorders? And many people live with both conditions? A study by the World Health Organization found that such disorders cost the global economy $1 trillion in lost productivity each year. It is a problem that is not going away and probably increasing. 
Worry and anxiety problems can be random and unpredictable. And the effects on our mental health and wellness are devastating and life-altering. There’s nothing worse than feeling as if you are going crazy while your loved ones are watching and feeling frustrated and helpless. But just as these feelings and statistics are real, so is recovery.
The Apostle Paul gives one of the best solutions: A restful dependency on God. I want you to emotionally get honest—“naked and not ashamed.” Think about what is making you anxious. Call it out and speak it by name. Often, things we keep in the dark also keep us in powerless places. Bring that anxiety and worry into the light so that God, the Father of Lights, can bring you healing.
Another important solution is to support your rest in God with awareness about what you need and practical resources that can help you, especially as a woman of color. July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. The website for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention shares that the organization is working to help elevate voices, listen and better understand, and support the unique needs and range of experiences of underrepresented racial and ethnic groups.
As a health organization, the AFSP is dedicated to addressing the mental health and suicide prevention needs among minority populations to improve access to culturally informed, evidenced-based quality mental health care. They are committed to speaking out about the inequities across many aspects of society, especially related to access to healthcare for underrepresented communities and seeing those disparities stop.
It is essential to care for your mental health and for women of color, to remember that there are significant stressors and collective trauma that our communities carry. These things have a direct correlation to racial fatigue and even exhaustion that touches us physically, emotionally, relationally, and mentally. Be aware of the full breadth of who you are and what you experience and absorb in your daily life, especially in pandemic times. Even when we don’t realize it or we don’t try to do so, we pick up and carry heavy loads.
More importantly, we were designed to freely live and lead WELL from a place of rest.
Want to learn the secret to doing so in 31 days? Click here and grab a copy of my 31-day devotional: Rest and Build: A 31-Day Journey to Restore Your Soul and Design a Life that Matters.