How’s Your Mental Health? Let’s Talk About It

Who is there to lift you up when things are tough? Who are the people that are there for you when life gets hard? Who do you talk to when God seems too distant to hear your cries?

I truly believe that there is nothing the love of God cannot overcome. But I also know that God has also given us each other. The two greatest commandments Jesus gave to us, are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our mind, and all our soul, and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. It means that this life isn’t supposed to be just me and God and I’m good. It’s important that we are plugged into a community where we can support and lift each other up. But what do you do when you have that community and no one seems capable of understanding your problems? What do you do with the overwhelming and overbearing baggage? What do you do when you want to, when you NEED to seek professional help?

When we’re physically ill, we go and see a doctor. If a friend of ours has cancer, we wouldn’t let them sit on the couch and pray until they’re healed. We’d tell them to go get treated and pray all through the treatment process. Likewise, we need to do the same with our mental health. Depression and anxiety can no longer just be attacks of the enemy that need to be prayed away. It’s time we start taking our mental health more seriously and also encourage those around us to do so as well. God has given us each other to lean on as a community. We’re an interdependent specie and it can’t just be about me and God. There’s a community aspect to it as well.

This is why I love the psyndup platform. It’s a platform to discuss mental health issues and to find help for those issues, in a place where mental health isn’t taken too seriously. It’s not only in Christian circles but also in some cultural circles where the lack of seriousness surrounding mental health is a problem. But no matter what religion or culture is in place, we need to make sure that our mental health is taken as seriously as our physical health.

We also have to remember that there is another side. There’s the side when we come out of the struggle victorious. There’s the side when we’ve dealt with the issue, and are put in a better position to help others because of our experiences. Things may be tough now, and it may seem like there is no way out, but it can, and it does get better.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18   

 

Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Me?

Why didn’t anyone tell me THIS is what it feels like?

I’ve been around church people my whole life. I used to get so mad when my mom would make my younger brother and I go to church with her on Wednesday evenings. I remember how annoyed I was when I went to school the day after the blinky do shoes episode of My Wife and Kids aired, and everyone was talking about it. I was mad I didn’t get to watch it because I was at church. I couldn’t comprehend why people would willingly spend a week night in church. And then there were the night vigils! Those I really couldn’t understand. Whyyyyy would anyone want to be in church on a Friday till 2am? I remember many night vigils when my friends and I went down on our knees, faced our chairs, and pretended we were praying. We were actually taking a nap with our heads buried in our arms.

I remember car rides with my mom always meant worship music was the genre of choice. Sometimes when I was in the car with my mom or dad, I would find them mumbling to themselves. But they always insisted they were praying.

I remember learning the Sunday school mantra – read your bible and pray everyday. I learned all the major bible stories and many praise and worship songs. Even after leaving home, I continued to go to church and hold God in high esteem in my life. By high esteem, I mean calling on God mostly when I needed a crisis manager.

But now that I’ve come into this deep relationship God, I’m so confused why nobody told me THIS is what it feels like! It’s so much more than just going to church late at night, praying in the car and singing songs of worship. They were feeling something! Something deep down on the inside of them that cannot be explained. Something that made it a blessing to go to church at night. They were feeling the unexplainable peace and joy of God. The joy that won’t let any situation hold them captive. They were experiencing the presence of God. A presence that will have you waking up with the biggest smile on your face, simply because you know him.

Most times when we learn about God, we’re told so much about what God can do for us. How God can fix our problems. But there’s something so much deeper than that. THIS feeling. I really can’t explain it, but it is the most amazing, life transforming feeling ever. If someone would’ve told me THIS is what it’s like, I would’ve been here the second I came out of the womb.

I remember looking at people that were obsessed with God and thinking that their lives must be so boring. I wish they told me what they were experiencing! It’s more fun, more fulfilling and more amazing than anything this world has to offer.

Striving to live a life of worship to God in everything we do, rather than turning to God only when we need a crisis manager, leads to a far more fulfilling life. THIS feeling is a part of living a life of worship. THIS unexplainable feeling.

 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth. John 4:24

Learning To Let Go And Let God

You know how people always say we shouldn’t worry and trust God to take care of our worries? I’ve always felt like it was so easy to say, but so much harder to do. But you know what?

I’m finally learning to let go and let God. Things I used to worry about so often don’t even get the time of day in my thoughts anymore. I’m finally learning to take the things that are bothering me to God and leave them at the altar. My whole life I’ve been hearing that’s what I need to do, and I’ve always been like how??? Do you realize how hard it is to just forget about what’s bothering you?

But somehow I’m managing to do so.

How? By spending time with God. All this time I thought I had to will myself to give the burdens on my heart to God. But me learning to leave the burdens at the altar has been happening without me even trying. I’ve furthered my relationship with God by spending time praying and studying the word. I invite God into my daily activities and talk to God throughout the day. I’ve become much less stressed about my life. I don’t have to will myself to take the burdens on my heart to God. God kinda just sneaks them away from me while I stand in awe of Him.

More than just learning to give God my worries, my behavior and my desires are changing too.  My heart’s desires are being filled with His and it’s pretty awesome!

But it’s definitely been a process for me to get to this point. It used to be a chore for me to set aside quiet time to study my bible and pray. I had to force myself to do it. Then over time it became something I looked forward to. Then there came a peace that fell over me during my quiet time. Then I started praying and quoting scripture throughout my day. Then the peace that fell over me in my quiet time started staying with me all day long.

Stress and anxiety are being pushed out. Not because I try to force them out, but because I have become so filled with the things of the Lord, that stress and anxiety no longer have a place to call home in my heart and mind!

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Are You Charged Up?

Do you know something that seems to be really important to us these days? Having a charged phone. We don’t mind being late if it means we get to charge our phone that has 1% life left in it. We don’t mind walking around with a portable charger or shamelessly looking for an outlet at an event to get life back into that phone. And why not? Our phones are the most useful to us when they have battery life in them. Walking around with a dead phone is just carrying around an expensive shell. The actual purpose the phone was created for would be useless if it was always dead.

Taking the time to charge our phone allows us to enjoy it and use it for what it was intended for. In the same manner, we should strive to live out our lives for its intended purpose. How so? By becoming more purposeful about getting charged up in the things of Christ.

If we strive to be as purposeful about spending time in the word and in prayer as we are about charging our phones, we would constantly be filled up with the things of Christ!

Before I was purposeful about spending quiet time with God, I’d usually get charged up in the word from church alone. But what if I could only charge my phone once a week when I went to visit a friend? Yes I get some battery life, but it’s not nearly enough. My phone would be dead most of the time. To maximize the use of my phone, I need my own charger at home. To have a relationship with Christ, we need to have our own quiet time with God on a regular basis. The charging up doesn’t even need to end at quiet time. We can get little boost throughout the day by saying a prayer or a scripture here and there.

We also need to think about developing our relationship with Christ to help other people get to know God. If someone is stranded and they need to use your phone to make a phone call, it’d be nice for your phone to have battery life so they can use it. Or even if someone just wanted to check out your phone to see if they wanted to buy your type of phone, it’d be nice for it to have battery life so they could actually see what it was about.

If we’re filled up with the teachings of Christ and someone wants to know more about God, we want to be able to have something to share with them. Whether it’s how we’re living our lives, answering questions or helping someone in a desperate situation, we should be charged up so we have something to share. If we’re not taking the time to develop a relationship with Christ how are we going to have anything to share about Christ?

If we walked around with a dead phone all the time it would be useless to us and whoever may need it. It’s important we take the time to know Christ for ourselves on a daily basis.

It’s definitely a process though. It’s easy to fall into a habit of charging our phones everyday. It’s a little harder to do the same with spending quiet time with God. It took me a while to get into the habit of setting aside time to pray and read my bible on a regular basis. I still struggle with placing the importance I should on my quiet time.

But when you have a charged phone everyday you see the benefits of keeping it charged. After you get used to having a phone all the time it becomes really weird and frustrating if you don’t have your phone for a long period of time. It can easily have you wondering how you ever survived without a phone.

The same goes for when we spend more time with God. We see how quality time in prayer and the word transforms our lives, and it becomes more of a necessity than an option. I definitely wonder how I ever survived without a personal relationship with God!