There have been many articles/blogs written about mental illness, but not many about how to take better care of our mental well being. Our minds, just like our bodies, need to be cared for, on a daily basis. With our bodies, it’s a lot about what we are eating, are we being physically active and are we taking our vitamins. With the mind, it is a bit different. The mind cannot be ‘seen’, therefore many of us can go on ‘pretending’ as if we are fine, when really we are struggling with depression and anxiety, on a daily basis.
We live in a world and a society where pressure is so real, where suspicion and fear run rampant and where we can’t trust most people, as far as we can throw them. I have struggled with depressing thoughts and times of anxiety, worry and stress. This has made me physically sick, in the past, and affected my health, badly.
How do we go about dealing with mental illness?
Many people are told to ‘pray it away’, especially by those in the church. To ‘get more faith’, to trust God more or to just ‘get over it’. I have been on the receiving end and dishing out end of statements like these, sad to admit. Yet through my journey with Jesus, I have come to realize through the simplicity of the good news (the gospel) learning who I really am, through the word, and growing in my authority, that even mental illness (which may include wrong ways or patterns of thinking about myself/others and even about God) can be beaten. It reminds me of that scripture in James 4:7 (NKJV) that says, Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
If we submit our minds to God and His thoughts, and resist the enemy’s negative thoughts toward us, those negative thoughts will have to flee from our minds! What does it mean to be depressed or suffer from anxiety? A lot of what we call depression is using our imagination for the negative, to imagine the worse-case-scenario. Speculative thinking never helped anyone. It means that we allow our emotions and negative thoughts to run rampant, we give them permission to take control of us, by yielding to them, as if they are the truth. However, it is not the truth. The bible says that you shall know the truth and it shall make you free. (John 8:32 NKJV) Which in reverse means that if you believe a lie, it will imprison you.
Mental illness is a prison that can try to trap us, yet that is not what God desires for your and my life.
He loves you and has good plans for your future. The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, yet Jesus came to bring us life and life more abundantly. (John 10:10 NKJV) How can we grow to be healthier, mentally?
Here are some practical suggestions of things that really helped me:
- Getting into the truth (the word of God more)
- Spending time with mature friends, who were able to love me and point me to the truth
- Not reading/watching/listening to anything that would cause me to become sad/depressed
- Developing check stations, for when I could feel I was focusing too much on the negatives in my life
- Resting more
- Reading uplifting and encouraging books
- Being discipled by a more mature believer
- Try learning something new/challenge yourself more
- Get out of your routine
We were never called for a life of being a lone ranger.
Allow the right people to speak into your life. Go easy on yourself, even if it is baby steps. God’s grace is enough and sufficient for whatever you are going through. Allow Him to minister to you, to your mind, and yield to Him, to the Holy Spirit.
Related Post: According to Your Faith, it Will Be Done.
Even Paul, encourages us in his writings, to give up being anxious and allow the peace of God to minister to us, by changing our thoughts to good things/positive things, about ourselves, about God and about others.
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the centre of your life.
So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honourable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always.
The healing will come, the peace and joy will be restored.
Hold on dear friend and turn to Jesus. Depression or anxiety is a signal that something is wrong, so to ignore it would not be wise. However, when we get to a place of realizing that we have authority over our minds and we can choose to walk in joy and peace, we should be experiencing more of the abundant life that Jesus came to bring us.
There is no condemnation for any of us, if we are still learning and growing in this area. I believe our lives here on earth will be a journey of learning to grow in this, especially when the emotional situations/outside circumstances get very challenging. Yet, Holy Spirit wants to guide us in our reactions to this and in how we respond.
Even Jesus reassures us that even though we will experience struggles, we can still walk in peace.
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
I love you and I am thinking of all those affected by mental illness today. If this is you, please reach out and get help from someone who loves/cares for you. You can also leave a comment and I will be happy to respond and encourage you.