Have you ever wondered why you immediately think of going to see a doctor when you fall ill? Is it because you believe the doctor can not only tell you what is wrong with you but can also provide a solution for your illness? What about when you are stressed or have experienced a traumatic event and can’t seem to function normally? What do you do? Do you just weather the storm, or do you seek help like you would when your physical body is ill?
Why We Neglect Our Mental Health
Could it be that few people seek help for mental health issues because they believe that matters of the mind are self-inflicted? or that the supernatural is the sole source of mental health issues? Perhaps they are sensitive to stigmas attached to seeking mental health services or could it be the belief in the Christendom that accepting a mental health diagnosis shows a lack of faith?
Regardless of the reasons for failing to seek help for mental health issues, the Bible in 3 John 2 states that God wishes that we be in good health and prosper even as our soul prospers; meaning that He wants us to prosper holistically. Of what use is a healthy physical body with an unsettled mind? There is a vast literature on the effect of our minds on our physical bodies. From changes in eating habits to the abuse of substances and even the attempt at physical bodily harm, an unhealthy mind can do much damage, even resulting in death by suicide. But what does the Bible say about our mental health?
Body, Soul, & Spirit
How we feel and how we think affects our ability to live life to the fullest- Has there ever been a time in your life when you felt anxious, depressed, or devoid of zest for life? How was your performance at work? Were you at your peak performance? What about your relationships with friends and loved ones? Were you present for them, giving them your very best? The chances are that your answer to the questions above is no. our mental health affects every area of our life. Proverbs 17;22 says that a joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Science corroborates this verse with evidence of the link between mental illnesses and diseases such as diabetes, heart attack, cancers, and several more. Science also tells us that a cheerful heart improves one’s physical well-being and is even linked to longevity.
Our Mental State is Part of Who We Are
God is aware that it is a vital part of who we are. In proverbs 23:7 we are told that as a man thinks, so he is. If you believe the day is going to be good, chances are that it will. The same goes when you think the day is going to be bad. This is a powerful testament to the influence of the mind on our being. It is for this reason that the devil attacked Eve’s thinking- “did the Lord really say “you must not eat from any tree in the garden (Genesis 3:1, NIV)?” When Eve reasoned otherwise, it influenced her decision to eat from the tree of good and evil, and the rest is history. This is why we are encouraged to think about good things (Philippians 4:8. Proverbs 4:23, 17:22) because what we think influences the way we feel, and how we feel affects and determines our behavior.
God Cares About Our Mental State
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts you. (Isaiah 26:3).” God is concerned about the things/issues that bother you. He is aware of the psychological pain and trauma that you might be facing and does not dismiss it as many people would. God was there when Elijah was suicidal (1 Kings 19), He did not rebuke Elijah for wanting to die, instead, He took care of his needs, both physical need (food) and his psychological need (a successor). God was with David during his highs and lows. David makes mention of the Lord in his psalms of lamentation (Psalm 44, 60, 74, 79…). That is why Jesus took the time to speak to the Samaritan woman at the well. He addressed her need for acknowledgment (John 4). She had suffered rejection from society because of her failed and illegal relationships. She must have felt dejected until she met Jesus. The Bible records that she left Jesus to go tell her people about a man who had told her everything about herself. I am pretty sure she was no longer the same woman who Jesus met at the well.
Mental Illnessses? He Heals Them too
God has the power to heal ALL kinds of illnesses, including those of the mind. Psalm 55:22 says “Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken.”(NIV). Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7. King Saul found relief from his “demons” when David played the harp. God restored King Nebuchadnezzar from a state of insanity. Jesus healed the boy with epilepsy. Do you not think that He can do the same for you?
The Bible is clear about God’s desire for us to prosper physically, spiritually, and mentally. We must begin to take deliberate steps to improve our mental health. It is no longer just okay to focus on our spirit and body; If we truly are going to fulfill God’s calling on our lives, we need to prosper in all three dimensions of our being. So what will it be for you? Are you ready to take hold of your soul and become all God made you be? If you are WELCOME!