By JENNIFER HEGGIE, LPC-S, NCC
Were you ever in church or Sunday School where a teacher or minister said God is always with you? Then weeks—or months or years—later you became very miserable, depressed, hopeless, or troubled at home or school. You may question and wonder where is God now when you need help. You are definitely not alone!
Many people stumble through life, wrestling with depression, loneliness, fear, sorrow, anger and feelings of inadequacy. Some people suffer in silence and isolation and others reach out for help. I was always taught that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle; however, I heard it put a different way—that God sometimes gives us more than we can handle to see if we are going to reach out for help from Him and other godly counsel.
God provides the standard by which ALL counseling must be judged. The most complete and trustworthy record of God’s standard is His perfect Word, the Bible. All truth is God’s truth. The Bible contains all of the basic principles for personal development and problem solving. For example, the Bible commands us in Philippians 4:6-7, “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”.
The anti-anxiety principle and the remedy for anxiety are both clear in scripture; however, we can also gain a greater appreciation for the promises of God, and a better understanding of how to apply God’s promises through others. We can learn from watching others that keeping busy helps us to avoid focusing on our anxiety and to learn what situations trigger our anxiety. We can also talk to a trusted person to help us understand the anxiety and seek godly counsel to get honest feedback and encouragement.
The Bible is full of wisdom that helps us deal with our inner turmoil, interpersonal problems, and social difficulties. The Bible offers solutions for spiritual, emotional, and mental growth by which any Christian can find fulfillment as a child of God.
Solomon explains in Proverbs 3:21-26, the results of using godly wisdom, “My child, don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment. Hang on to them, or they will refresh your soul. They are like jewels on a necklace. They keep you safe on your way, and your feet will not stumble. You can go to bed without fear; you will lie down and sleep soundly. You need not be afraid of sudden disaster or the destruction that comes upon the wicked, for the Lord is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap”.
May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five (20%) Americans will be affected by a mental health condition in their lifetime.
Maya Angelou said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.”
To help deal with a mental illness or just life’s daily challenges, in addition to speaking with godly counselors, here are some helpful things to do:
- Attend a Bible study
- Go to church
- Seek fellowship with others
- Be accountable to others
- Bake a gratitude list
- Keep a journal
- Get a good’s night sleep
- Eat healthy meals and snacks
- Use your strengths
- Do something with family and friends
- Get outside in the sunshine and smile!
Jennifer Heggie has 10 years clinical experience working with addictions, eating disorders, self-inquiry, depression, anxiety, self-esteem, body-image issues with clients of all ages. 601.949.1949.