Everyone has a spiritual side to them. It’s the part of us that responds to God. Any illness affects us spiritually. When we are in poor health God seems far away. The part of us that responds to God goes missing for awhile. Prayer is more difficult. Reading the scriptures is a challenge. Being with God’s people in fellowship and worship doesn’t happen.
These things are also true when we suffer from mental illness. Research has shown however, that exercising our spiritual nature has a positive effect on our mental illness. NAMI* writes that spirituality and religion improves and promotes mental health.
For Christians this is an amazing statement. Our faith is seen as a positive. Faith in God helps to improve and maintain mental illnesses such as depression, bi-polar affective disorder and schizophrenia.
This being the case, we have a dilemma. Spiritual disciplines are good for our mental health but it’s a struggle to do them. It’s easy for someone to say, “Hey, you should do this. It’s good for you.” When it is hard, for someone who is depressed, to carry it out.
Here are some ideas for exercising your spiritual muscle. Look at these exercises as tools God can use to better your life.
Prayer is hard for me, depressed or not. I’ve come to believe, my prayers are being heard, no matter how I feel. Just because I feel nothing, doesn’t mean my prayers are ineffective. Faith and feelings are opposites. Faith is not a feeling.
When I’m depressed I find it difficult to internalize prayer. So I speak it out. Try praying out loud or under your breath. Another idea is to write your prayers in a journal.
When you are struggling consider asking people you trust to pray for you. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Another person’s prayer may make a difference in your life.
There are endless ways to get scripture into your life. You could try a devotional, a study or a reading schedule. If you are using a devotional, be sure to read the scripture, not just the devotional. If you are using a study Bible, read the scripture, not just the notes. Pure scripture is the power of God to change your life. If you need suggestions on how to get scripture into your life see Crosswalk.com.
You may have to push yourself to attend church, but being with God’s people in worship and fellowship, will lift your spirits. If you have social anxieties talk with your doctor about this. She can help.
Worshiping alone with God is as easy as turning on a Christian Radio station. My favorite station can be listened to from a computer or phone. Check out klove.com. Another way to worshiping is listening to praise hymns or songs on YouTube. Click one of your favorite songs and let the songs run for a half an hour. Sing to the Lord at the top of your voice. You will be blessed!
A bruised reed He will not break
and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish.
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
It is in times of depression that I need God the most. It is also during these times I feel Him the least. God knows all about this. He understands where we are and still loves us.
My advice to you my fellow sufferer is don’t condemn yourself. Accept the place you’re at. Remind yourself that God accepts you right where you are. If you feel spiritually dead, tell God about this. God is nearer than you think. He is just a prayer away.
May God Bless You. ❤
Disclaimer: I am not a mental health care worker or physician. I have tried to be factually accurate.
© 2019 Lena Rae