The show today is a flashback to one of the top viewed sessions in our 2021 Church Mental Health Summit with Grace Shim.
To register for the FREE upcoming Church Mental Health Summit go to ChurchMentalHealthSummit.com
WHO IS GRACE SHIM?
Grace is a therapist and Director of Global Advancement with Cornerstone Counseling Foundation which is located in Thailand and provides professional mental health services for Christian global workers and the local Thai community.
Her talk title caught everyone’s attention, it was titled “What We Wish Missionaries Knew about Their Mental Health & Well-Being: Counseling Staff’s Perspective” and it lives up to that name.
Thousands of missionaries have received professional mental health care at Cornerstone Counseling over the last 16 years. And when I spoke with Grace about what she was to present at the summit she had the idea of polling the counselors to see what are the top things that counselors wished missionaries knew about mental health and serving in ministry.
It was a brilliant idea, I loved it!
THE GOAL OF THIS SESSION
Grace’s goal of this session was to increase awareness of common concerns people have so that you know that you are not alone and there is support for you. In this session, you will be encouraged with practical steps towards greater healing and wholeness.
While ministry is a calling and God is faithful, there are still life challenges that can trip us up. Grace offers some incredible strategies to maintain well-being and prevent mental health struggles.
Leaders, whether you are local or in the US or Canada or on a mission this session is for you.
CORNERSTONE COUNSELLING FOUNDATION
Founded in 2004 with a vision to provide mental health care to missionaries and in recent years has expanded to offer clinical and community services.
Missionaries are not a demographic you would think needed mental health help because there is a belief that they seem to be flourishing yet Laura says since the founding of Cornerstone Counselling Foundation, thousands of missionaries have been offered help.
Missionaries are broken and struggling just like anybody in the world however they are also resilient and can learn to be resilient.
They have left their familiar to follow God’s calling yet in this pursuit they tend to receive their own calling.
WHAT COUNSELLORS WISH MISSIONARIES KNEW ABOUT THEIR MENTAL HEALTH AND WELL BEING
1) Your emotional and mental well-being matters and impacts those around you
There is a tendency for missionaries to spiritualize their struggles and often say, “My problems are because I need more faith”, or “I am a new creation in Christ, why focus on the past?”
And why this may be true it often neglects God’s important healing work of wounds of our past and keeps missionaries stuck and ineffective in ministry and relationships.
Yet when we ignore our mental and emotional health it ends up spilling gout in forms like anger and anxiety and people around us may be afraid to let us know therefore you should ensure to ask your team members to share their honest opinion on your behavior so as a missionary you can seek for help.
2) Seek help before it becomes a crisis
The majority of times, the signs may have already shown up yet we tend to ignore them and this makes the healing process harder.
Just like cancer, we always hope to catch it when the warning signs are being shown rather than when it is at stage 4 so reach out before it is often too late.
3) Attend to the grief, loss, and transition
The missionary life has been described as a series of hellos and goodbyes with many different losses scattered out and these don’t seem to be valid.
These losses can be the death of a loved one or departure to a new area and ignoring the loss that one feels due to such events can often lead to depression and anxiety which affect one’s well-being.
Gaining an understanding of your losses allows you to identify where you need counseling so be honest about what you are going through in order to give room for healing.
4) The purpose of the Great Commission can come at the cost of the Greatest Commandment
When the love of ministry success is valued over the love of God and others, it can take a toll on those closest to you.
It is a serious calling to go out and preach the word of God as a missionary and the support offered by donors and churches can lead you to be pressured and your identity is drawn from being a missionary rather than from the love of God.
This identity forces missionaries to take up more responsibilities at the cost of their loved ones like children.
Michelle Phoenix recently published the results of a survey of adult missionary kids in mental health and she stated that missionary kids are experts at protecting their parents from what is threatening their own sense of stability, worth, and safety.
They don’t want to add to their caregiver stress or make them worried and will not easily bring up the distress they are living with so it is up to the adults who love them to create context or practices that allow for full disclosure.
At the heart of it all, missionaries have a choice to avoid or face the hard, the choice to ignore the warning signs that are trying to tell them that things are not okay.
Will they keep framing their struggles as spiritual issues or avoid from time to time evaluating whether the ministry has taken over their love for God and others.
If they feel like they are not alone, Cornerstone and other centers exist to offer support and help missionaries reach greater wholeness.
CONNECT WITH GRACE SHIM
Website: Cornerstone Counseling Foundation
CONNECT WITH HOPE MADE STRONG