“The church was throwing me away… with Lecrae
In this video, Lecrae talks about his wrestle church hurt, how that led to a state of clinical depression and the healing that came after that.
View this video with Lecrae and other Healing Out Loud videos in this YouTube Playlist.
I need help. I don’t know what the heck is going on with me, but I need help. This is not going to work…
“I need help.” – Lecrae
I was not raised in the church. My grandmother was a devout Christian. She had gotten saved in her forties. And so, she was on fire. And so, whenever I would stay with my grandmother, church was just a normal part of life. But with my mom, my mom was definitely church hurt. So church was not a thing for us because she was like, mm, I’m a little bit hurt by that. So it wasn’t a consistent thing for us.
I think church hurt, for me, really began early in my career, probably around 2011, 2012.
I was the golden child up until then. It was kind of like, I could do no wrong. I had put out all these albums and everybody loved everything I was doing. And then I did this song called, Background, which was a big song, it was the biggest song I had done up until the time. (“Background” by Lecrae,)
I faced a lot of critique from the church when I put that out, because it did not explicitly mention God or Jesus.
It was just talking about how I could play the background and let You take the lead. And so, that was the first time I heard a lot of pushback and it just kept snowballing from there.
I come from a broken family. I didn’t grow up with my father, I already had abandonment issues.
And then I came to the church with this mindset of, here, take all of me. This is my new family, and we’re going to be happy together, forever. And I just thought I had this perfect new world. And for me to feel that, “oh, I’m about to be thrown away again…” That anxiety of that fear was really hard for me because it attacked a sense of my worth and my identity and resurrected those fears of being abandoned again.
Trying to handle the hurt on your own
When those things came to the surface, initially I tried to stuff them. I was ignoring them and pretending like they didn’t hurt me, sticks and stones may break my bones, type of mindset. But really what I was doing was just piling on more trauma that would eventually explode, but I didn’t know it at the time.
For me, it exploded when I found myself having to find coping mechanisms for stress.
Let’s go out for a night of drinking. Let’s drink heavier, let’s drink heavier. I can’t sleep now. Let’s take some pills to go to sleep.
And then, now I need pills all the time to go to sleep. I was trying to manage it, but it really was too hard to handle in and of myself. I was trying to lean into God, but at the same time I kind of felt distant from God. So my relationship with God really was not that strong at this time and I was just trying to handle it in my own strength and my own power and just like, “Oh, I’m going to stop.” But then I would stop for a little while and then run right back to doing something.
Where it all came to a head
And I think it all came to a head after a night of binge drinking and I woke up in a clinical depression.
And that was different than what I felt before. Before I kind of felt this low mood, like, “woe is me.” But a clinical depression is like where you don’t feel anything. It’s just like, it’s so overwhelming you would rather not be here than to deal with that.
It was very hard to isolate as an artist, which probably made my mental health deteriorate more because I did not give myself the opportunity to heal. I kept pretending I was okay, putting on a face and kept going out and smiling and shaking hands. And I remember working on music, having crying spells, just emotionally all over the place. I had done such a good job of masking it and hiding it that nobody was aware of what I was battling.
The first person I remember talking to was my pastor. He advised me to invite a couple more friends into this conversation. I was afraid I’d be judged and be looked at like I was crazy or something along those lines, but really, they just wanted to walk with me and be there.
I had to learn that God was with me the whole time. Because I was upset, I experienced church hurt.
And a lot of times when you experience church hurt, you blame God for what the people have done. Right? It’s really a people issue, not a God issue.
Leaning into God in hard times
So, I took a lot of that and put it on God and God was there the whole time, wanting to walk with me. All throughout the Bible, there’s storms and there’s deserts, and the storms and the deserts are pictures of a world that’s volatile.
And so suffering’s going to come. Sometimes you bring it on yourself, sometimes other people bring it on you, and sometimes it’s just a result of a broken world. But God is not surprised by any of it. And God is not unable to deal with any of it.
I’m reminded of Psalm 121:5, where it says, “God is the shade at your right hand.”
“The LORD watches over you— the LORD is your shade at your right hand;”Psalm 121:5 New International Version
And if someone’s in the desert, they’re struggling, they’re hot, they’re thirsty, they don’t know if God’s going to come through or where he’s going to come through. And God is reminding them, “I’m the shade at your right hand.”
It may be difficult to trust him and to really lean into him, but that’s what he wants.
He wants to be your hope. He wants to be the place of trust. He’s just asking us to give him that opportunity. So if you’re struggling, just give God that opportunity. And let him use the people that want to help you, that’s how he’s going to operate.
He’s going to work through his people and work through your friends, your pastor, your therapist, a psychiatrist. He’s going to work through those people to help you. So let him do it.
Ready to find healing?
If you wrestle with anxiety, past paid, grief, addiction, broken relationships… you are not alone. The struggle is real… but so is help and healing.