If you deal with mental illness of any type, you know that feeling of being trapped. Chained. Locked up in your mind.
Which leads to being locked up in other areas of your life.
Your heavenly Father does not intend for you to be a slave to ANYTHING. He has paid the price to ensure your FREEDOM!
Is Mental Illness in the Bible?
And yet, even in the Bible there are stories of those who dealt with anxiety and depression. David. Elijah. Naomi. Job. Jeremiah. I mean, come on, he was known as the “weeping prophet”!
In Psalm 34:18, David writes “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed” and in Psalm 69 he writes, “my eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to act.”
When Naomi returned to Bethlehem she said, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. 21 I went out full, and the Lord has brought me home again empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?”
After having won a triumphant victory over the pagan Baal prophets, Elijah goes on in I Kings 19:4 to wish for his own death!
Imperfect people in an imperfect world facing trials, temptations and tribulations.
Just like me. Just like you.
Now, is where you might expect me to say “with Jesus you can overcome”, and while that is true, our human understanding of overcoming may not look like God’s understanding.
What do you do when “healing” doesn’t come?
Mental Illness is not like a cold, or the flu, or a stomach virus. Often there is no 100% cure. There is medication to manage the symptoms, counseling to manage the emotions and behaviors…but it is not a process that has an end. It is a life-long journey for most.
So where does this “freedom” I mentioned come from? If you cannot be completely healed of this disease, how do you break away from the chains?
Here are 4 things I have found helpful in my journey:
- Worship in the whirlwind. Rather than focusing on the brokenness, focus on Jesus. Play your favorite worship music, sing to Him or simply sit in silence as you reflect inwardly on His goodness and grace.
- Stay in the Word. Reading your Bible is one of the best ways to combat feelings of anxiety, loneliness, and depression. Scripture reminds us of His promises, of His faithfulness. (Revelations 21:4 and Psalm 27:1 are two of my favorites!)
- Remember the battle is the Lord’s. He fights for us. And the fight is not just in the physical…it is spiritual.
- Talk about it. Not just to your counselor. To a trusted friend. To your pastor. To yourself…journal your journey. More people in the church need to hear about others struggling so we can get rid of the stigma around this.
Your FREEDOM is waiting!
God accepts you as you are. Jesus died for you while you were still apart from Him as a sinner. You. Are. LOVED. Your mental illness cannot take that away from you.
And that love is where you will find your freedom. He can handle your pain. Your tears. Your anger. Give it to Him. He will give you rest.
P.S. – Please get help if you are dealing with depression, anxiety and especially suicidal thoughts. (National Hotline 1-800-273-8255)
If you have been diagnosed, please continue your treatments in addition to the tips given here. One is not a substitute for another. Work with your doctors, counselors and your Lord for your best results.