Welcome to the Simple Spiritual Life, learning to let go of things in this life to chase the joyful life God has for us. This site is for those who struggle with anxiety, nervousness, depression, and other forms of mental illness. I hope you find hope, community, and forward momentum in the battle for mental health. This site is also for those struggling with heartache, pain, loss, and grief, or intense emotional anguish of any kind.
I live with anxiety and depression, at times being completely debilitated by mental illness, and have found great hope and progress putting my trust in God’s truth. Through counseling and deep, intense, and painful reflection I have been able to get a tenuous grasp on “stability.” No one’s journey with mental illness is ever over, and every day I battle thoughts, patterns, and people that threaten to pull me down. Some days they do.
As I have battled for health, however, I have found a need to share my story, to share my strength, and to share my weakness. There is a need for me to create a community online for those who struggle with mental illness of many kinds, and to share what helps us find stability, and what throws us back to the ground.
God has pulled me more and more deeply into meditation, contemplation, and mystic experience of his love, grace, and truth. Authors like Thomas Merton, Teresa de Avila, John of the Cross, and contemporary authors writing once again about true and false selves has started me on a journey of discovering the truth God has said, speaking each of us into being in love. God has been showing me lately how the trappings of this world pull us away from knowing Him, and experiencing His great love for us, and through refusing the urges to compete, I am finding new strength and joy.
That is why I have called this site that is dedicated to mental health “The Simple Spiritual Life.” I believe we have complicated everything, including our spiritual lives. We become obsessed with doing, obsessed with knowing, obsessed with seeing, even in following God, and it leaves us dry. Ultimately, this is because God is not found in the doing, but in the being. Which is why we need to simplify, not complicate, our lives. Especially our spiritual lives.
I chased relationships, chased things, chased experiences, and found all of them to be lacking. I blamed my mom, blamed my dad, blamed my friends, and eventually blamed God for a while, and I was still not feeling any better. I couldn’t get out of bed, and it was always someone else’s fault. Eventually, I had to realize that life is not how anyone wants it to be, and that really sucks, but if I keep chasing things, or blaming people, I won’t get anywhere.
It was not until I learned to slow down and enjoy the exact moment I was in that I found peace, stability, and, most importantly, God’s peaceful presence.
There have been other things I have done to find strength through my weakness, but meditation and contemplation have been the two most powerful tools, and have helped me know God even better.
I believe that we have complicated our spiritual lives and our physical lives. Through letting go of things in this life we attach more fully the God, and he gives us the gifts we truly need, peace, salvation, assurance, hope, and joy. We don’t have to be monks, taking vows of poverty, but should learn to be wise and discerning with “why” we want different things. I have found that giving up things that are just “there,” taking up space, bringing us no concrete joy but still using our mental faculties as we consider if this item looks best here or in the dining room, helps in finding freedom.
The Simple Spiritual Life is about simplifying our spiritual and physical lives to find peace and joy, and about working together to get there. Community is the most important aspect of our lives as humans, and being in groups that provide safe spaces to tell our stories is necessary for us to thrive. I want this site to be a safe space for those who struggle with mental illness to share their struggle, their hope, and their strength.
My name is Matthew, I struggle with depression and anxiety, my hope is in being well enough to love a beautiful wife and children, and in creating a family legacy of health and happiness, and my strength is my deep, thoughtful and reflective nature.