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MENTAL HEALTH AND THE WORD BY YVETTE MCALPINE


The majority of us are familiar with the term "mental health". Yet, it can be a very touchy subject, particularly among Christians. Why? As Christians, we believe that we should be perfect, and when we aren't, it is seen as a sign of our lack of faith, which makes us feel bad. Realizing that you're not alone and that having a mental condition has nothing to do with your worth as a person, or Christian, is crucial. The Bible speaks extensively about our emotions, thoughts, souls, and hearts, even though it doesn't directly address mental health.


So what precisely is mental illness? It might be a physical problem brought on by chemical imbalances in the brain or another problem brought on by trauma or other trying circumstances in life. Anxiety and depression are the two most prevalent mental health conditions. There are also other problems, including personality disorders and eating disorders. You are not alone in these circumstances because anyone can experience mental illness, regardless of who they are or how steadfast their faith is.


When we struggle with anxiety, we are living in the future. In contrast, when we struggle with depression, we are living in the past, according to Bob Phillips.

In other words, thinking about potential future events makes us anxious, while dwelling on the negative aspects of the past makes us depressed.


The loss of a loved one, a job loss, work stress, family obligations, lack of sleep, etc., are just a few of the many factors that can contribute to depression and anxiety. These emotions can be debilitating and make us want to give up. They interfere with our ability to think clearly and take decisive action. It deprives us of joy and prevents us from really experiencing life.


Although not a psychological manual, the Bible discusses mental health and offers an understanding of our conflicts, bad relationships, and improper attitudes and behaviours. Because so many heroes of the faith grappled with mental health concerns, the Bible must be the first place we turn to.


Even though Jeremiah deeply loved God, he struggled with anxiety. Naomi experienced distress. She was forced to go to another nation, where her husband and sons died. Yet God provided her with Ruth, who served and assisted her in God's redemptive plan, which altered her perspective of God. After losing everything he possessed, Job developed physical symptoms related to his trauma. Still, God intervened, showed His sovereignty, and healed Job precisely when he saw Him. Gideon's confidence was destroyed by his recurrent disappointments. God gave Elijah the strength to continue and guided him through a redemptive process by directing him to rest, eat, and exercise, even though he experienced severe depression and had suicidal thoughts (1 Kings 19:5-8).


None of them could face it alone, and they required a meeting with God and His healing. The main lesson to be learned from this is that the Bible does not condemn those struggling with mental illness because they are in the company of heroes. Instead, God will encounter and uniquely deal with you. Therefore, prayerfully look for and study the Bible so He can guide you. The instant you receive a revelation from God, He has a special redemptive purpose for you. Don't resist this insight; be prepared for it. Listen for God's whisper so that you can experience His kindness, intimacy, and closeness. God will never abandon you and will always be by your side.


Remember that even if you are struggling with a mental illness, God can assist you in overcoming all challenges. In any circumstance, He is your strength. Yet you also have a choice: will you let your problems and unhappy thoughts control you, or will you give them to God? Thus, as the Bible instructs, renew your mind daily and dwell on God's blessings.

God wants us to offer Him all of our problems, cares, and concerns, according to 1 Peter 5:6-7. According to Philippians 4:6-7, God will give you courage.


You can always rely on God because He is trustworthy.


Having said that, taking medication for your condition doesn't imply that you lack faith because it may allow you to encounter God more clearly.


Some tools and tips:


1. Consult with medical professionals, therapists, and counsellors. They can provide you

with the care you require.

2. As the Bible advises, surround yourself with positive thoughts (Philippians 4:8).

3. Study, recite, and meditate on the Bible.

4. Keep your eyes fixed on God's promises – Psalm 30:5, Romans 8:28, and 1 Peter 5:10.

5. Regardless of what you are going through, continue to obey God's word.

Cling fast to Christ's cross because you haven't blown it.

6. Stay active.

7. Continue living your life.

8. Avoid wallowing in it.

9. Exercise.

10. Leave your house.

11. Sit in the sun.

12. Accept the things you cannot change.

13. Assist those who are less fortunate.

14. Read through the Psalms.


May the Lord lead you through your struggles and grant you understanding, as He supports you on your journey.


With love in Christ

Yvette Mc Alpine

https://www.thrivecounselling.co.za/


Women of Reverence welcomes Yvette Mc Alpine as a guest contributor for this month.


Hi, I am Yvette Mc Alpine and I have been married for 26 years. We have two daughters ages 23 and 20. After navigating my fair share of life obstacles and challenges, I have developed a passion for those who find themselves in a similar place.

In 2021 I received my BA (Health Sciences and Social Services) in Psychological Counselling and I completed my Honours Degree in Psychology in 2022. I am currently completing my practical hours as an Intern Counsellor at The Wellbeing Institute. I have also been a Life Coach since 2017.

I am a people's person who has a desire to see people change for the better. I want to help them reach their full potential and see them grow, change and move forward.

I strive to help people break through the obstacles that seem to be holding them back in life. Life's too short to be unhappy, unsure, or unfulfilled. I am here to help my clients achieve a more positive outlook on life, and provide them with all the tools necessary to get them there. Let me help you learn and develop better ways to handle the issues that are standing in your way.

I would love to help you on your journey to reach your full potential.


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