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Mental health is a weighty topic in the church. Many Christians read scriptures like "cast all your cares upon the Lord" or "do not be anxious about anything" or "perfect love casts out all fear" and they assume that mental health issues are not welcome in the heart of a true believer. If you have absolute faith, then there's no room for anxiety, depression, panic, or fear. The result of that is that many Christians hide their weaknesses and suffer silently. 

I, myself, suffered from anxiety through most of 2020. When I finally became brave enough to approach a medical professional with my symptoms, she explained that the brain is built to survive, and when it feels threatened, it develops patterns to protect the body. In my life, that translated to "mother bear protecting her children" which, in reality, just meant my brain developed an all-consuming cyclical pattern of worrying a lot about controlling things I couldn't realistically control. And I took it to the church... I took it to my prayer warriors... I gave it to God... I declared my healing... Every time the physical symptoms of panic would set in I would start quoting my scriptures and singing my faith-filled songs and worshiping the God who really is in control. My heart honestly believed God is in control, but my body and my mind refused to cooperate. That's when I sought help.

You must remember that the bible also says "Iron sharpens iron" and "pray for one another" and "comfort yourselves together and edify one another". When a member of the body is in need, we must rally around one another, building faith and minding the gap until those needs are met. Ecclesiastes 4:10-12 says "For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken."

It's time for the church to stop ignoring mental health. If a member of the body fell and broke her arm, we would pray for quick and complete healing but we would also send her to the doctor to have her arm set in a cast. Mental health is no different. If someone comes to us broken, we will lift them up with prayer and fasting, but we also need to have the wisdom to investigate resources that can "set the break" until the healing begins. 

Life is tough, and some days it is just too much to handle... but the truth is, you can handle it if you can focus your heart and mind on God's Word and begin living His promises. If you or someone you know is dealing with issues such as anxiety or depression, we encourage you to seek spiritual guidance and the help of a medical professional. Your life is precious and being able to enjoy your family, maintain your responsibilities, and encourage others is such a blessing. Don't give up. Don't give in. Don't feel like you're alone. We can get through this together.

Bible Scripture: Romans 8:18 KJV - For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Faith ApplicationCommit to praying every day this week and fasting one day a week. Pray when you want. Remember, you may not pray an hour a day but don't let an hour go by without communicating with God. On your fast day, fast whatever you feel, but let it be a sacrifice; let it be from the heart. Fast something that has become an idol in your life and takes up your time and your energy in place of moments with God. 

Prayer Focus: Lord, I come to you this week broken, scared, and overwhelmed. The enemy is whispering lies into my life and I feel defeated. I need you to reawaken my faith and I need to feel Your peace within me. I need Your voice to drown out the enemy. I declare complete healing over my life. Direct me to the paths and the resources that can help me recover from the damaging patterns that I have developed in my mind and body. Lord, allow me to accept the help that You provide. Help me to open up about my struggles and develop networks of faith and prayer. Lead me to those who can speak faith into my life. Reveal Your goodness to me so that I may be a testimony to others.

Family Activity: For the month of March we will be discussing how different areas of life influence our mental health. Statistics are more staggering than ever. Many times words like anxiety and depression are used loosely and the significance of their debilitating effects can become blurred. But occasionally (more often than you might think) we may come in contact with someone who really needs help making sense of their overwhelming situation. For that purpose, educate yourself on the signs and symptoms of common mental illnesses and spark conversations in the home that can diagnose the well-being of each family member. Prepare yourself to be the prayer warrior and faith builder that someone may desperately need! Here is a great article on mental health. This guide will guide you in talking to teens and children. If you feel that someone is in need of help, but you just don't have the words... read this! Finally, if you're struggling... watch the video below. This test will be your greatest testimony if you allow God to work in your life!