October promoted Mental Health Awareness. During last month I was invited to be one of the speakers at an event on this topic. It became a forum where people shared their experiences and relevant organisations spoke, raised awareness of this condition and of the help available. It was a wonderful experience which I was grateful to have been a part of.
Mental Health is an umbrella term that is used to cover a multitude of more specific conditions/diagnosis within it.
Mental health is vast and it is complex, can affect absolutely anyone and is certainly not something that shouldn't be isolated to 1 month for recognition.
Stereotypically Christians/ people of faith can be judged negatively if they admit to experiencing poor mental health. Yet it is written that biblical characters struggled with depression and altered states of mind. (David, Jeremiah, Moses, Elijah, Job, Saul…). However, in all cases God was always with them. Jesus acknowledges the burden of troubles in Matthew 11: 28-30 and advises us to bring them to God.
Matthew 6: 25-34
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
After looking at this scripture I immediately noticed how “do not worry” is repeated THREE times in this small section. These words are not a suggestion but are instruction or even a command!
I think it would be unrealistic to think that we would never have things to be concerned about so I didn’t receive this scripture as something to make me feel awful about being concerned about something. Because there is a difference between having a concern and worrying.
Being concerned often involves being troubled about something, for which you should; take time to pray about; try to come up with the best plan to deal with it in the best way you can; take it to the alter so that God can do what it is you cannot.
Whereas to worry is when that concern is permitted to hang around; expand; get out of control and transform into worrisome fears. It is then through the characteristics of worrying (less sleep, poor diet, less energy, irritable, bad tempered…), that this activity can take control of our thoughts and behaviours to the point that we become consumed by our problem(s) and fears. Ultimately robbing us of our focus and ability to be fruitful members of God’ community so we are no longer seeking Him first, which in turn confiscates our joy and contentment. These altered mental environments can easily lead to anxiety and depression, addictions and suicide. Just like it is stated the devil comes to kill steal and destroy.
I am inspired by this scripture: Throughout this month to be vigilant for the spirit of fear because fear is the enemy’s playground, and I will have to keep reminding myself that I have no business hanging out there.
Share your thoughts on this scripture and share ideas on how you/we can use it to apply it to our daily lives this month.