Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2016 Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry
Learning to bask in the God’s felt presence, like resting in the warmth of the sun after a long winter, will change our negativity to a more hopeful outlook. This is a promise worth exploring, and not a trite platitude. I will try to explain the difference.
What I am NOT saying:
Reading the Bible and praying more will cure or prevent mental illness.
Major depression and other mental disorders are directly linked to spiritual lack.
Not having ‘enough’ faith is why we suffer.
Negativity is automatically fixed by having devotions in the mornings or by going to church.
What I AM saying:
TAWG (Time Alone With God) heals our souls in numerous ways. TAWG, as stated previously in this series, is not simply a matter of praying a few more minutes per day, or reading longer passages in the Bible at lunchtime. TAWG is quality and quantity time devoted to a relationship with God. It is a discipline, yes, but is not regimented to a formula. It is not a chore.
TAWG is talking to God (prayer) and listening to his message to us. This message is primarily heard through reading and understanding the Bible. Reading is easy. If you find it difficult to understand, invest in a modernized language version. At this time if my life, I am reading the Recovery Bible. It is God’s Word in an easy-to-comprehend vocabulary (New Living Translation). It features comments in the sidebars about applying verses and stories to addiction recovery issues. Strongly based on the Twelve Steps, it is an inspiring encouragement. Previous to receiving this Bible for Christmas three years ago, I read the English Standard Version, widely accepted as the closest translation to original manuscripts.
As we get more acquainted with God through his Son Jesus Christ, we witness him becoming less and more a mystery at the same time. We learn to recognize his kindness, love, power and awe-inspiring, make-me-speechless, can-hardly-breathe, words-are-not-enough enormity. As we personally come to know more of who he actually is (and not only the rhetoric of the social commentators or even other believers), our faith grows, hope grows, and so does out peace.
That is a promise! I am not the only one making this guarantee. Psalm 19 reads, “The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart.“*
Our inward negativity will dwindle. For me, it took major depression to get to therapy and be open to the fact I needed to change in fundamental ways. Our inward change and how we think will not occur in a “zap”. Wise counsel is important, even vital to seeing ourself differently.
If we struggle with a mental illness, medication may be part of our therapy. Basking in God’s presence and receiving psychological help are not mutually exclusive. God chose that path to teach me how to live.
We can become adept at building others up. This relationship with God will break strongholds, release spiritual gifts, and bring us peace and calm. Our demeanor and speech will change. We will view difficult people differently. Fears will fade, and how we face mental and physical challenges will testify to our blossoming strength.
Devoting ourself to TAWG each day, gives us a taste of all that’s been described here. Our love for God will grow because it is his kindness that draws us to him. We will notice when we miss one day. Everyone around us will notice too.
It’s a journey worth any price. Find a specific place (Mine is a chair in the bedroom; I keep a cross on it to serve as a reminder); a set time, and just begin.
He will meet you there.
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NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.
– picture from Kozzi.com
*Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.