As a counselor, I have noticed that my clients with a belief in God tend to see results more quickly in treatment for mental health problems than those who do not have faith in God. This is not an anomaly; there are research articles out there concerning patients with faith having better survival outcomes in terminal diagnoses than their unbelieving counterparts.
Why is this? What is it about trusting in God that tends to help us heal faster than those who do not believe in someone or something higher than themselves? I would encourage you to do the research for yourself, regardless of which side of the topic you land on.
However, since I see people with faith experiencing healing to a greater and quicker degree than those who do not, I want to explore how we can effectively manage or even overcome mental health problems with God’s help. Please note that I believe God created helpers for specific issues.
For example, a good doctor has been endowed by God to do what they do effectively, whether or not they give God the credit for it. There is no life-producing goodness apart from God, since He is the very essence of good.
When clients are experiencing any sort of mental, emotional, spiritual healing while working with me, I believe that God is the root cause for it, even if they don’t personally give Him the credit for it. I would not be doing what I am privileged and blessed to do, without God ordaining it to be so.
I believe that God is for people and He wants them to turn to Him for healing, whether it be physical, emotional, financial, relational, etc. The Bible tells us that “God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in our time of need.” (Psalm 46:1)
In this article, we will take a look at what the Bible offers us for many different conditions we will face during our time here on earth. First, let us see what having faith in God can do for us while we are in the midst of difficulty. When we are relying on God for help, we have access to the following hope:
God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. – 2 Corinthians 9:8
God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. – Ephesians 3:20
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord His God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them the Lord, Who remains faithful forever. – Psalm 146:5-6
Depression is a concern for the majority of individuals who enter treatment. Depression can accompany any other number of concerns, such as chemical dependency, anxiety, marital discord, compulsive disorders, and so on. Occasionally, depression is a sign of a biological imbalance, and we need to work with a psychiatrist or doctor to help us restore balance.
Sometimes (and most often) depression will be circumstantial and not biological. When looking to the Bible for guidance on the topic of depression, we can see that a number of things may cause depression within us.
For example, concealing sin may lead to depression, guilt that has not been dealt with properly could lead to depression, hardships, circumstances that are beyond our control, and even being surrounded by abusive people (external forces) may produce depression within us. Here is the comfort the Word of God provides us with during such times:
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God. – Psalm 42:5-6
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
We do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an internal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
When unconfessed sin is the issue that is depressing us and weighing us down, we can find relief when we open up to God and allow Him to forgive us from all unrighteousness, even if others here on earth do not forgive us God’s forgiveness is what matters the most.
When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer – Psalm 32:3-4
God is faithful to allow us to become uncomfortable when we take too long to repent of that which separates us from Him.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, I will confess my transgressions to the Lord and you forgave the guilt of my sin – Psalm 32:5
After confessing his sins, David was able to find joy again:
Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit… Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous, sing all you who are upright in heart! – Psalm 32:1-2, 11
The majority of Americans are afflicted with anxiety. Anxiety is not the same as fear; fear is based on a real and objective threat to our safety or well-being, and fear is a God-given response that allows us to react accordingly so that we can preserve our lives or the lives of others. Anxiety is a perceived threat to our safety or well-being; it does not have to be realistic and it may not be objectively observed by others.
When we worry, we are really saying that we do not trust that God has His best in store for us. We are assuming a responsibility that we were never created to assume. Jesus has the following to say concerning worry:
“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 important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them…and why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Do no worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:25-34
What are we to do in times of stress and concern? The Lord instructs us to do the following instead:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s might hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:6-7
If you are struggling with anxiety, God can give peace for your soul if you will take your focus off of your circumstances and shift your gaze towards Him. Because peace resides in Christ, do a survey over the following areas to see how you’re doing, and adjust accordingly.
Trust in the Lord and do good. – Psalm 37:3
Delight yourself in the Lord. – Psalm 37:4
Commit your way to the Lord. – Psalm 37:5
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him. – Psalm 37:7
Sometimes our source of anxiety may come from external sources such as other people who are negative or critical towards us, or we could be comparing ourselves and our lives to that of others, and that will cause anxiety within us as well. Here’s what the living Word says about those topics:
An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up. – Proverbs 12:25
A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. – Proverbs 14:30
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. – Proverbs 17:22
As seen above, it matters who we surround ourselves with, so if you tend to be around verbally abusive or critical people, you may want to consider adding some distance between yourself and those persons.
Becoming dependent upon anything other than God as our source of comfort may prove to be to our detriment. I have never met someone who is dependent on drugs or alcohol that liked themselves or worked with their God-given emotions, instead of trying to work against them.
Depression, chemical dependency, and low self-worth always go hand-in-hand. All of our emotions are useful and purposeful, so if we try to numb the negative emotions, we will also numb our ability to fully experience the positive emotions.
This creates a cycle of shame that may be very difficult to break. God loves us and wants us to live a life of freedom, not bondage and He has the following to say about using alcohol or drugs to distract us from reality:
Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise. – Proverbs 20:1
Be very careful, then, how you live not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. – Ephesians 5:15-18
Listen, my son, and be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on food. – Proverbs 23:19-20
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body. – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Whatever it is that you’re facing, God can provide you with peace and deep-rooted joy while you work through it with Him. If you’re struggling with finding peace and healing from the things of this world, please reach out to a Seattle Christian Counselor today so that we can walk alongside you in this journey.
God has designated certain people throughout different areas of life to encourage, challenge, and uplift us as we walk through the various seasons and trials of life. We would love the opportunity to do just that.
I will leave you with some comfort from the King of Kings and Lord of Lords as written in His Word
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” – Psalms 91:1-2
We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:18
What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:31-39
“Admiring the View”, Courtesy of Paola Chaaya, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Man Covering His Eyes”, Courtesy of Ayo Ogunseinde, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Clara G”, Courtesy of Daniel Monteiro, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Alone in the Wilderness”, Courtesy of David Marcu, Unsplash.com, CC0 License