Mental Health and the Spirit
We have looked at 2 of the sessions from the Mental Health and the Believer seminar in January: Mental Health Stigma and Medication and Mental Health and Emotions. In this post I will present the questions from the session on Mental Health and the Spirit. The session emphasized the fact that we have a very real spiritual enemy as well as being indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
There is need for discernment to know whether a thought is our own or whether it is being impressed upon us by the Holy Spirit or by an evil spirit. Good mental health is dependent on clear and healthy thoughts as our thinking greatly influences our emotions and choices.
The enemy of our souls specializes in deception and lies so our ability to identify and reject his thoughts are a very important element in our pursuit of mental health. Following are the three discussion questions for this session. I will again comment on each of them and look forward to having you share your thoughts as well.
How can we help others identify the lies of Satan that they are believing regarding their worth?
First of all we must be close enough to them that they will feel free to share with us how they really feel. Feelings reveal a lot about a person’s thoughts. We should be very careful not to communicate judgment toward feelings nor treat feelings as the problem. Emotions are the “symptoms” not the “disease”.
When they share how they feel it allows us to gently probe for the reason why they feel that way. It is important for them to verbalize the lie that they believe so good questions are often more helpful than statements.
To be helpful we must also be honestly engaged in the battle for our own mind. A person truly in tune with his own battle will find it much easier to help others in a non-judgmental way.
What do you think are the lies that most people suffering from a mental illness will have to intentionally reject?
Following is a short list of some of the lies I have believed in the past and am still tempted to believe when things get difficult.
- I am all alone.
- No one knows or cares how I feel.
- I have nothing to contribute.
- Things will never get better.
- God doesn’t care.
- I’d be better off dead.
- No use trying because nothing will improve.
What other spiritual support is needed by those who are suffering from a mental illness?
Prayer is absolutely vital for protection from Satan’s deception. He will always take advantage of any weakness he finds. Blurred thinking gives him an opportunity to influence our thinking and through wrong thinking influence our emotions and choices. We need to engage our spiritual enemy through the spiritual exercise of prayer. We need to pray one for another.
Fellowship is another spiritual support that is much needed. We were created to function in harmony with others as well as in harmony with God. We need the spiritual support of our brothers and sisters being the channels through whom the sufficient and “manifold grace of God” flows into our lives. It is God’s grace and He remains the Giver but He has chosen for much of His grace to flow through human instruments.
It is my prayer that the consideration of these questions and comments will be used of the Lord to help us better understand and support each other in our local fellowship. These questions were meant to start a discussion so your response is invited.
If you are struggling with mental illness and feel you have nowhere to turn you can email me at this private, confidential email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editorial Note: If you would like to listen to the audio from the seminar please go to the seminar audio page.