Biblical habits for better mental health
May 24, 2020
Most of us are familiar with that smell that occasionally comes out of our refrigerator. We may catch a whiff of it but choose to ignore it until one day we realize we can’t ignore it anymore—it’s time to locate and discard what we know should have been discarded eons ago. The lockdowns of the last several weeks have forced many of us to finally clean out the refrigerator of our minds and deal with psychological burdens that have been hidden behind all kinds of “busy” snacks. And, it turns out, many of us are struggling.
It’s no secret that mental health has been a challenge for many for a long time. We’ve ignored it because it is often unseen and our competitive “can do” societies have expected and trained us to put on happy, content and brave faces. Christians, interestingly, seem especially susceptible to this problem. Although the Bible is full of characters who struggled with self-doubt, loneliness, hopelessness, anger, grief, bitterness, discouragement, depression, despair and so on, Christians often hide the fact that they are facing these challenges. Many wrongly reason that being “more than conqueror” means being perpetually composed and having mental health challenges somehow makes them less Christian. As a result, they do not seek psychological, spiritual or medical help.
Thankfully, the Bible provides a considerable toolkit to aid us in the battle for sound minds. The question is whether we will use it. Here are just 10 tools:
- Focus on the positive.
“… Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable…” (Phil. 4:8).
- Do not worry.
“…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…” (Matt. 6:25-34)
- Pray about everything.
“… pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” (Phil. 4:6-7, NLT)
- Do not isolate yourself.
“… let us not … [give] up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another…” (Heb. 10:24-25)
- Forgive quickly.
“Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you.” (Col. 3:13, MSG)
- Be grateful.
“… give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:18)
- Don’t let your mind and emotions confuse and deceive you.
“…We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:5)
- Trust God.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight…”(Prov. 3:5-6)
- Stop complaining.
“Do everything without grumbling or arguing …” (Phil. 2:14)
- Do not be afraid.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isa. 41:10)