Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2016 Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry
Mental health is…
The joy of getting exactly what you wanted at Christmas?
Excitement over a new job?
Absence of stress?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)*, only about 17% of adults in America are in a state of optimal mental health. Ah! The secret is out!
Oh wait, we already knew something was not quite right with the human race, did we not? Even Peanuts** characters tried to suggest what “happiness is…”. Lucy thought she could just toss advice around and solve anyone’s psychiatric problems (for 5 cents nonetheless!)
My therapist (who is not a Peanuts character and charges more than 5 cents, by the way) mentioned recently that we are not taught as children how to think, nor how to control our thoughts. Usually these lessons come painfully through the school of hard knocks.
The CDC website goes on to describe mental health:
Mental health is a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to contribute to the community.
Grasping well-being through faith is not something we are all that skilled at doing on our own. That is because faith is nothing if we do not have dependence on God. For those of us who believe God is sovereign, wants to interact with us, and is accessible to us, time alone with God (TAWG) is foundational to that healthy dependency.
Born-again Christians (those of us who trust our eternal salvation to Jesus Christ) everywhere, try to practice TAWG. We tend to grow kinder, more humble, and more forgiving, to have more backbone, and strength through trials if we spend quality and quantity time with God. It is said that if we miss one day of this discipline, God notices. When we miss two days, we notice it ourself. Miss three days of TAWG, and everyone around us notices!
A sense of well-being is more robust when are not lonely. It is more tangible when we feel grounded and safe. It makes sense then, that I and many others find solace in TAWG. It is also in these private moments that I am reminded to use the coping skills and thinking strategies that help me to manage my major depression.
TAWG is not only one-way prayer; it is a conversation. It is reading the Bible in search of knowing God, becoming knowledgable of his message to us, repenting and changing, learning to know God’s voice, and obeying what he says.
Moses spent 40 days on the mountain with God. When he came down, everyone knew who he had been with. His face was shining. Ask yourself, are you the type of person that people would notice a difference if you skipped TAWG for a few days? Would you notice?
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NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.