Like so many things in life, mental health concerns often take a multi-faceted approach in order to find healing. On my journey out of depression and anxiety, I’ve taken different avenues in order to arrive at a place of stability. At times, I needed medication, supplements, or counseling and there was always room for improving my diet and environment in order to facilitate change.
For me, faith has also been an integral part of the journey to mental health. Relying on, tending to, and seeking respite in matters of faith during our pain and struggles puts us in the same league as some of the bible’s greatest characters.
“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?” King David (Psalm 42:11)
“I have had enough Lord, he said. Take my life, I am not better than my ancestors.” Elijah (1 Kings 19:4)
“Now O Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than live.” Jonah (Jonah 4:3)
“Terrors overwhelm me … my life ebbs away, days of suffering grip me. Night pierces my bones, my gnawing pains never rest.” Job (Job 30:15-17)
“In her deep anguish, Hannah prayed to the Lord and wept with many tears.” Hannah (1 Samuel 1:10)
Mental Struggles Are As Old As Time
Reading through their stories reminds us that even though several thousand years have passed, humanity’s mental health struggles have not. Even though the decades have come and gone, many of the difficult situations that we face today have not disappeared with time. David was being taunted by his enemies. Elijah was afraid for his life and running from his abuser. Jonah was struggling with the success of his enemies. Job was physically afflicted with poor health and grieving the loss of his entire family and his belongings. Hannah was grieving over her infertility.
They sound like my friends. They sound like me. Each one of these ancient characters turned to their faith, to their God, in the middle of their despair. We can too. In the next few weeks, we’ll take a look at seven biblical promises for restoration on our journey to peace and healing.
He Hears Your Cry; Wait Patiently
“I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in Him.” Psalm 40:1-3
In March of 2012, CNN reported on the dramatic rescue of an Atlanta man who became entrenched in mud on a construction site. The red clay slime was about four feet deep and acted like quicksand. Walking along, he unwittingly wandered into the mire which wrapped itself around his body and sucked him in. The more he struggled, the more entrenched he became. He fought to keep his face above ground as the sludge covered his mouth and nose and threatened to suffocate him. Unable to cry out, he finally summoned help by waving one arm in the air. By the time his rescuers found him, nearly four hours had passed and he was barely distinguishable from his shallow grave. Hypothermia had set in, he was weak and exhausted and hanging onto life by a thread.
Poor Mental Health Can Feel Suffocating
Depression and anxiety can feel a lot like this. Suffocating, exhausting, and all-encompassing, it can suck us in and cover us from head to toe in its filth until we feel barely distinguishable from our circumstances. The further we sink in our mental health, the harder it is to get a grip, to find solid ground, and to get our feet underneath us. Maybe, for the whole experience, you have been crying out to God without noticing an answer. Maybe, you have come to the end of yourself and concluded that there is nothing left to do except lie there, weakly lifting your arm above your body, and hoping like crazy that God notices you are drowning.
They Cried Out to the Lord and He Saved Them From All of Their Troubles
Repeatedly throughout Scripture, for a myriad of reasons, we see this same story played out again and again. The Israelites, King David, Asa, and even Jesus, “cried out to the Lord” and, as we follow their stories, we see that He saved them from all of their troubles.
In Psalm 40:1, King David says “I waited patiently for the Lord.” In Hebrew, it literally says “in waiting, I waited.” Benson says that it means that David “waited or hoped diligently and earnestly, patiently and perseveringly, until God should be pleased to help him.”
Help Is On the Way
Over the years, I have taken so much comfort from Daniel 10:11-13. Daniel had prayed to God and asked for wisdom and understanding regarding the future of his people. And then he waited. No answers came. Daniel mourned for three weeks while he anticipated God’s response but heaven was silent. Finally, in a glorious vision, he received his answer. “The second that you prayed, God heard you and I (the angel) was dispatched to help you right away, but I was delayed by an evil entity. A battle was waged in the heavens so that I could get to you and now I’m here to answer your prayer.”
Don’t Give Up
If you feel like your mental health is drowning in the muck and mire of depression, don’t give up. In waiting, wait. Wait diligently, earnestly, patiently, and perseveringly. Cry out; wave your arm. Hang in there. Hold on. Quit fighting and rest in Him. Despite how you feel, He has heard your cry and your rescue is coming. It may have been delayed but it is on its way. Before you know it, you won’t just be standing on the solid rock, you’ll be dancing on it. Joy will come in the morning.
For most people, minor lifestyle changes will make a big difference. However, there are times when the problem runs deeper, and you need professional help. If you’ve tried to figure this out on your own, or you feel like you’re lost in a maze of information and aren’t sure which path to take, don’t give up hope.
We have a range of different approaches that will help you figure out the root cause of your dysfunction and stop the cycle of sickness so you can feel better now. Book your free 30-minute Breakthrough Strategy Session today.