A perfect follow-up to the Illumination Series: Christians and Mental Health. Anxiety and depression impact our thoughts, perceptions, feelings, and behavior. How do we relate these factors to our Christian beliefs?
Let’s begin with basic definitions. Anxiety starts with social phobias, excessive or irrational worry and fear, including fear of humiliation or being negatively judged. Anxiety can give birth to depression, the most common mental health issue. Feelings of sadness, being overwhelmed, guilty, disappointed, poor self-confidence, or a feeling of failure are signs of Depression.
Can you be a Christian and deal with anxiety and depression? Of course! Don’t fall prey to these common misconceptions about faith and mental health:
- I know the Bible tells me not to worry. If I am anxious, I must lack faith.
- I’ll be okay if I just pray good enough, long enough, or hard enough.
- I really feel guilty. I must not be doing what God wants me to do. Is God punishing me for sin? I’m just not a holy person.
First step for mental health
The first step is to change your patterns of thinking, beliefs, and behaviors. For Instance, start with these thoughts:
- Bible verses are for teaching and encouragement. God gave us the Bible to save us and build us up in the faith, not to defeat us. There is no condemnation in Christ. (Romans 8:1)
- Jesus paid the price for your sins. God no longer judges us on performance. Grace is a pure gift from God. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
- Faith is a daily process, sometimes minute by minute. None of us will ever reach perfection while living on this planet. His mercies are new every morning.
In other words, we all have stuff to deal with and God’s love will guide us. He doesn’t expect you to go it alone. He works through people: friends, neighbors, counselors, and pastors. If issues pile up on you or you feel hopeless, please get professional help. National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!Lamentations 3:22-24
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:28