This year I have heard at least two people speak of their battle with depression and one of the individuals even spoke of feeling suicidal.
I have noticed recently, how precious and needful peace of mind is. I’m not talking about a challenge free life with no concerns, but I’m talking about a sound mind. We all think, we all possess a mind.
Though like the soul, our minds cannot be seen, and yet, our minds can determine the way we behave, the way we perceive and understand, and our everyday decisions. Mental health is a subject seldom discussed in the Church and yet day after day Christians young and old alike are battling with their mental health, whilst sitting quietly in the pews, wearing a smile. People’s mental health can be affected differently, what one person finds difficult, is a passing thought to someone else. For some it is as subtle as low confidence and insecurity, for others it is the overwhelming voice of another, crippling every day thoughts of lies, accusations and taunts. But for all it is intended to hinder and to prevent us from living the life God planned and predestined for us.
Mental challenges can make us feel powerless, but God is powerful, out of control but God is in control, hopeless but CHRIST is our hope.
The prophet Elijah had just experienced an all time high, defeating the prophets of Baal (1 kings 18). Putting their demi-god’s to shame, he was feeling #awesome. But when Jezebel threatened his life, giving him 24 hours to live, fear overwhelmed him and the Bible says he literally “ran for his life”. But Elijah wasn’t just afraid, he was weary and ready to give up.
But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord , take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!”
What? The same prophet that witnessed God’s consuming fire come down from heaven? The same prophet who triumphed against Jezebel’s idolaters in 1 Kings 18:38 -39? Yes, no one is above experiencing discouragement and depression, Elijah even longed for death. At times I see the battle of our minds like the vision in Zechariah 3:1 – 2 and Joshua represents us. Constantly the enemy is opposing us, constantly the angel of God is rebuking him on our behalf.
Elijah was overwhelmed, alone, hungry and deflated. Sometimes it isn’t our physical challenges, but the troubling of our minds that hold us back and discomfort us. As you will see, Elijah’s hunger was not at the root of his sorrow. In the same way a man can have everything he has ever desired in the physical and still fill deeply unfulfilled and burdened within. I am comforted whenever I read scripture that confirms to me that God is actively assigning His angels to lift me up.
Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.”
“The journey is too great for you”, sometimes it feels this way. It grieves my heart when I hear that people are being afflicted mentally to the point of considering suicide. Whatever your challenge or trial, remember that what you are going through doesn’t define who you are. God made no mistakes when He created you.
How can we overcome today? I think we can follow Elijah’s example.
1. It isn’t your fault. Often times we are alone in our troubled thoughts, which makes it easy to blame ourselves. At times what we are going through seems unfair and undeserved. Contrary to what the enemy wants you to believe, coming up against these challenges doesn’t mean you’ve offended God, or that you are being punished.
And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” So he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.”
2. Quiet time. Elijah went to a quiet place, often times we fear that the quiet will bring it’s own challenges, especially when it comes to the mind. But if you have a relationship with Christ or desire it, and seek His presence, then he will honour your invitation and meet you in that quiet place, where like Elijah we can be transparent before God.
Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord .” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.
I cannot stress this enough. It is so important to keep up all communication with God and positive people around us, books, sermons, YouTube videos; do not allow the only voice you are hearing to be the enemy’s. God is always speaking, we must quieten our fears and our complaints enough to hear Him in every situation. We must bring our anxieties and internal protests before Him and surrender them at His feet, in order to gain His help. God is ready to help you if you will let Him.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
Please remember it’s not your fault, things can and will get better, and speaking to someone trustworthy, God-fearing and accountable will help.
*disclaimer: Please note the content of this post doesn’t rule out seeking support from professionals*
Peace & Love ❤