By Gabriell Larson
Mental health can be difficult to maintain. As Christians, often we struggle to understand why God allows roadblocks related to mental health to appear in our life. It can make completing our daily tasks and managing our busy schedules difficult.
Life has a way of negatively spiraling to a point where we are overwhelmed by mental health symptoms, living day in and day out consumed by our own demons. That place can be scary, fear provoking, anxiety driven, and depressing. Yet, God gave us emotion, not to incapacitate and isolate, but to create connection. Our feelings and emotions can be a guide to living a healthier and happier lifestyle as we rein in those unpredictable and undesirable events that we have no control over.
I love having the opportunity to share what helps me improve my mental health and how I combat negative symptoms. God sends us signs that it’s time to slow down, quiet our minds, and work on ourselves while He takes on the role of laboring on our behalf. I have found that being aware of God’s signs is something that often leads me to comfort in my daily life. It helps give purpose to the more difficult days that I endure.
Signs from God look different for each of us, yet He is always communicating. We each experience difficult situations from time to time, such as an unsettling breakup, persistent frustration, lack of daily understanding and peace, inability to relax by yourself, estranged relationships with friends or family, ongoing mental and physical exhaustion, or constantly pondering your purpose.
I think we can agree that these events are less than enjoyable and often fail to get any better with consistent avoidance. It is important to understand that God is working through every event, the pleasant and the difficult. Some events are going to be uncomfortable and maybe even painful. Some events are even the cause for flaring up mental health symptoms, making the entire situation more stressful and something you’d rather run away from. However, God is using every situation for good, to draw you closer to Him.
I want to challenge you to pay attention not only to the things in your life that are bursting with goodness, but also to the events and patterns in your life that are bursting with difficulty. Challenge yourself to look at those situations and see God in them, making them more manageable for you and your mental health. Reflect on what God is telling you to do when these events occur. Is He telling you to slow down, wait to respond, walk away, or something else? If you haven’t been listening already, now is a good time to start. Open your ears to how God is communicating with you even through the patterns and moments of unpleasurable experiences.
I know that our mental health can often feel shaky and uncertain and make us second guess ourselves. But God is not any of those things. God is trustworthy and certain and never leaves us guessing. Take that truth with you as you combat your mental health symptoms in the most challenging of life's situations. I am a Mental Health Practitioner; however, this is not expert medical advice. This is what I feel to be true and something I try to reflect on as a way to manage my own lifestyle.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis please call 911 or visit https://www.mentalhealth.gov/get-help/immediate-help or https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline for information.
You are never alone. People love you. God loves you.
Originally published in Gritty Faith Volume 15 by Gabrielle Larson.