How I lost my religion and found my faith
Image Credit: Zondervan publisher
'Faith' and 'religion' are two terms that people often use interchangeably, however, in reality, they couldn’t be more different. Rapper, Lecrae, explores this idea in his new book, 'I Am Restored: How I Lost My Religion but Found My Faith'.
If you like hip-hop, Lecrae is probably a name that you’ve probably heard before. He has had an illustrious music career, having won 2 Grammy’s and worked with artists like Ty Dolla $ign, Tori Kelly, and John Legend.
However, this book shows a different side to Lecrae, one that is vulnerable, personal and, ultimately, opens up a very poignant discussion about mental health.
There are many striking topics that Lecrae touches on in this book: faith, doubt, relationships, race, abuse; but the one overarching theme throughout all of these is healing.
Coping mechanisms are just surface-level solutions that will inevitably fail and leave us feeling worse than before.
When we go through something in life that hurts us, there are many ways we try and heal ourselves. We retreat and hide away for fear of being hurt again. Or, we try talking about our pain, only sharing partial truths to protect our ego and cover any of our shortcomings. Or, we ignore it entirely, just pushing on and leaving our pain in the past. All of these coping mechanisms are just surface-level solutions that will inevitably fail and leave us feeling worse than before.
As Lecrae states so eloquently in this book, “the only pathway to healing and freedom is radical transparency to the people who love you the most.”
Healing, means talking, which means admitting that you need help. This is something that is often looked down upon. For a lot of people, admitting that you need help is a sign of weakness, when, in reality, it requires a great deal of strength.
So, where does the church come into this? Well, as Lecrae rightly points out, there is, unfortunately, a lot of stigma associated with mental health within the church. There is a belief that all mental health issues can be solved by simply praying and reading your Bible.
We need to use all the gifts God has given us.
Whilst these things are great, it is damaging to suggest that they should be used in the place of professional counselling and medical help. As the book says, “Why run from something that can regulate parts of your brain in ways that spiritual methods cannot?... We need to use all the gifts God has given us, including the expertise of those who are best equipped to walk with people through mental darkness.”
Something else that Lecrae speaks about is how our relationship with God affects every aspect of our lives. There are many reasons why someone’s mental health may deteriorate, but something this book demonstrates is that, if your relationship with God falls apart, everything else will follow suit.
It is tempting to dismiss God when contemplating ways to mend our mental health. We try to fix things on our own, leaving God out of the equation, but this just sends us down a long path of failure and disappointment, ultimately leading us to the realisation that we can’t do this on our own.
I really believe this book will speak to your situation.
Whether you are someone who already has a relationship with God, or you’ve never said a prayer in your life, I really believe this book will speak to your situation. It offers invaluable life lessons, challenging perspectives and is definitely worth the read.