Do you think Christians should be mindful of mental health? Personally, I believe we should! In the middle of a global pandemic I can’t think of a better topic than MENTAL HEALTH! Also, May just so happens to be Mental Health Awareness month!
Discussing mental health is becoming more acceptable, however, in Christian circles there may still be some stigma. Isn’t this just some new age, self fulfillment stuff? Let me answer that real quick: NO!
I want to start by saying that discussing mental health is not only for those with mental illnesses. Just like we (are supposed to) go to the doctor once a year for a check up, we need to be checking up on the state of our mental health. Jesus told us to love God with all of our heart, our soul, and with all our mind (Matthew 22:37).
God wants to take care of our mind, just as much as He takes care of our spirit.
Our mind made the list, so I figure we better make sure it’s functioning to the best of its ability. This area is also close to my heart. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder (mental illness) many years ago. I’m walking in my healing from that now, but it taught me to be aware and take care of my mental health.
You may be wondering, isn't the way to peak mental health more faith? Shouldn’t I just pray and be okay? In the bible, we encounter a mighty prophet who had God respond by taking care of his mental health in tangible ways, not just faith.
In 1 Kings 19, verses 1 through 8, we see Elijah exhausted, terrified, and asking to die! Elijah feels alone and depressed. He was not in a good head space. When he cried out to God, what happened?
God had Elijah take a nap and then fed him! After two meals and some sleep, God then sent Elijah to find Elisha, who would be with him for the rest of his life. God’s reply shows us two important things about maintaining our mental health: 1) Take care of yourself physically and 2) Have someone you can talk to.
Take care of yourself physically
Elijah was hungry and tired! You can have all the faith in the world, but if you aren’t feeding your body well and getting rest, you aren’t good to anyone. God met Elijah’s tangible need that would boost his mood.
The same goes for us. We need to be mindful of how our bodies are doing. Are we eating right? Are we getting enough sleep? Do not underestimate the power of a good nap!
Taking care of yourself physically can look like:
Exercise (you don't need to be an athlete, going for a walk will do)
Getting a full night's sleep
Taking social media and news breaks
Tell someone what’s going on
Elijah kept it real! He didn’t pretend everything was okay. God knows anyway, so why try to hide what’s going on inside? So the first being we should tell our issues to is God. He cares!
Next, there are some things that require community. When we feel so low that we can’t go on, talking to a safe person is important. A friend, family member, therapist (yes you may need therapy), or a pastor can help you walk through difficult seasons.
We do not see Elijah return to that dark and lonely place again. Perhaps having a constant friend to remind him of his purpose, to be a listener, made all the difference. This doesn’t mean friends will keep the bad thoughts away, but they can help you stay the course of proper mental health.
Let Faith & Life Collide
How are you taking care of your mental health? God wants to take care of our mind, just as much as He takes care of our spirit. This means we need to set certain things in place to make sure our minds are as healthy as they can be. If you don’t already, you’re in luck!
I’ve created a downloadable Mental Health Self-Care Checklist. It is a list of things to make sure you are doing in order to care for your mental health. Click and get your copy now!
Tell me in the comments what you think about Christians and mental health? How do you care for yourself in this area?