In honor of #mentalhealthawareness month, let me be the first to help you understand that as a Believer you are not subject to the labels of a mental health diagnosis or struggle. It is estimated that over 40 million adults in the U.S. are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. If you think that’s bad, it is also estimated that over 280 million people worldwide have depression!
Those are just 2 categories of many listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual V (DSM-5) and the numbers are getting worse everyday. As an active mental health professional, I can tell you that the rates among children and adults are growing rapidly and contribute strongly to the rising rates of suicide we are seeing in this generation. This may seem like a scary situation. The most concerning part from my perspective as a Believer and mental health professional is that most treating physicians, doctors, therapists, advocates, and so on will tell you that your faith is an important practice to develop consistency in your struggles but they don’t actually believe that your faith in God will heal you completely, especially those who struggle with severe psychotic disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorders.
Despite critics who think science is greater than faith, I will reaffirm for you that the LORD God can and will heal you. There is a level that your faith may need to grow to and spiritual things that you may need to get more clarity on, but you can be healed of ANYTHING, despite what the experts say. In the Bible there are many examples of faith making people well (Matthew 9:22, Mark 5:34, Luke 17:19, Luke 18:42, Matthew 8:13, Matthew 15:28). It was their faith in Jesus Christ that healed them. In the same way, your faith can heal you. It’s not limited to physical ailments. It includes spiritual torment and mental disturbances as well. You just have to grow your faith in such a big yet caring God.
Our spiritual well-being is crucial to our mental well-being. The more you grow spiritually, the stronger you become mentally. There is a direct correlation between spiritual and mental development. As a Believer, we are told in 2 Corinthians 10:5 to “demolish arguments and every pretention that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ”. These are instructions, not just words to read. We are to actionably do what God says to do in His Word. It is meant to give us life when we do what God’s instructions say. Have you demolished arguments? Demolished pretensions? Taken captive your thoughts? Have you sought Holy Spirit for the meaning of these words?
Church, we’ve got work to do to get our lives in alignment with God’s Word. We must be willing to read it, study it, and apply it to our lives. There is no reason that mental health should be crippling Believers, causing them to isolate, avoid others, hate themselves, etc. We have a God who loves and adores us and He wants you to intentionally take the time to learn for yourself. Your mental health and that of your loved ones is dependent upon your faith and consequential choices. Am I proposing that people quit seeing their therapists or psychiatrists and line up at the church doors? No, but there is wisdom in godly counsel. What I’m encouraging you to do is to make sure that your relationship with God is not neglected during this time and to ensure that the mental health practitioner you are seeing has a firm belief in the power of our faith for your healing. You are not confined to a bottle of medicines your whole life. You can do this and we can help you overcome your struggles in the name of Jesus Christ.
If you’re looking for a tool that will help you feed yourself on God’s Word each day, checkout my 365-day devotional and let me know how you’re doing with it. In the meantime, you should also write down your top 5 scriptural promises from God that will encourage you to keeping moving forward in your faith and claim the promises of healing. Jeremiah 17:14 was one of mines, maybe it can be for you too! Here are a few other suggestions to get you started: Isaiah 55:11-12, Psalm 103:1-5, Psalm 91:10, Isaiah 53:4-5, John 10:10, etc.