Spiritual Impact – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 2021
Mental illnesses are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character, or poor upbringing. Any part of the body to include the brain, can become sick or diseased. Mental illness can affect all aspects of a person’s life, including how you live, work, raise children, and relate to the world around you. Mental illness impacts the brain and how we process information.
There are several categories of mental illness, and the degree to which a person is impacted will vary. Untreated mental illnesses can affect us both naturally and spiritually. Naturally, untreated mental illness can negatively impact:
- Our families (time/commitment/stress/money/home disruptions/lead to abuse)
- The individual (may be unable to work, have a family, engage in society and or school. Live with shame and or low self-esteem)
- Legal system (jail is becoming the largest holder of the mentally ill, courts tied up with nuisance cases)
- Health (people with a mental illness die on average 25 years earlier due to untreated medical conditions, injury, suicide.
But there is a spiritual impact as well. Man has a spirit, soul, and body. Anything that impacts one area can affect the other areas of our lives. Spiritually the symptoms of an untreated mental illness can:
- Leave us tired
- Lead to a loss of hope and faith
- Our spirits become susceptible to anything. We have no spiritual defense. Negative coping behaviors that we used to engage in we find ourselves practicing again.
- We can become burned out
- Life becomes hard as we do not have the spiritual strength we once had. We withdraw and don’t feel like doing anything
- Untreated mental illness can decrease our resistance and lead to ongoing stress.
- Untreated mental illnesses can impact how we relate to others in the Body of Christ. We start to become irritable, angry. We take advantage of others and begin to operate in pride.
- We stop praying, reading the Bible, and trusting Jesus Christ
In the Bible, we see Moses and Elijah, both great men who had a season of depression. In the natural, we can study the lives of Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, and even Mother Theresa to see examples of depression and or burnout. In a quote from Mother Theresa, she states, “I am told God loves me and yet the reality of darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul.” Mother Theresa, a woman whose life touched many, got to a point in her life when she said, “nothing touches her soul”. An untreated mental illness, a period of untreated sadness, ongoing burnout can lead to spiritual burn out.
But there is help.
In the natural, there are medications, counseling/therapy to include Christian counseling or pastoral counseling. But when an untreated mental illness has touched your spirit, you need more than medications, counseling, or a pastor. You need the healing power of Jesus Christ to restore you.
If something negative is allowed to get into your spirit and stay there, it can destroy you. How does something get into our souls? By words. Negative or anti-christ words (words contrary to God’s Word) that we begin to meditate on weaken us. When we are weak spiritually, it is harder to resist those words that tell you that it is over, words that cause you to question your faith and walk with God.
Not everyone with a mental illness is weak spiritually because they have learned to cope with what they are going through. But some people are. When you have been experiencing the same negative thoughts/feelings repeatedly, it is easy to lose hope. It is one thing to believe God for one month, one year, but it is another thing to believe him for years.
Long-term stress tires you out physically and spiritually.
What to do?
- Get help (mental or spiritual)
- Come back to Jesus
- Don’t neglect to spend time with him (one on one)
- Do things you enjoy
- Make changes in your schedule
- Get a DVD player and just let the wordplay even if you don’t listen to it
- Remind your self of the things the Lord said to you before
- Challenge your thoughts with the Word of God. Just because you think/feel something does not mean that it is true
- Be content in the season that He has for you. If you pray and nothing appears to be changing, it could be for a reason
- Talk to people. Engage in life. Do not isolate (there may be times isolation is good, but this should not be an ongoing practice)