Being a believer of Jesus Christ and living with Mental Health is an aspect of life in the past never spoken of because of others’ reactions. Over the years, there have been more negative reactions versus positive. Like all aspects of life, we are allowed our opinion and perception of facts as individuals striving to interact with society and culture. I am going to show what I have found in the years of finding balance as a believer living with mental health. Not always succeeding, but for me, that is the beauty of Faith in Christ. Knowing it is okay not to be 100% all the time. God loves the broken be they physical, emotional, or anything you can name. His love and support may not always make sense, and I have had days where I question why? Why I have to live my life with doubts or pain.
Phrases that anger me from other believers. even though I should not because it is these people’s personal opinions not based in fact.
‘You have depression because…’
…you do not pray enough
…you do not believe or have enough faith
…God would not want you to take medication
…you must have sin in your life (side note: Hello! no one is perfect except God)
There are many more that I have heard over the years. In the past, current, and future, it made me question my Faith and Belief in God; sometimes, I wonder why? Before these have a chance to drive me away from reading scripture or listening to a church service, I try to remember that these reactions are the same as when a person without children tries to advise parents on raising children. People financially well off, encouraging people from an economically struggling area how to spend their money or live life. The last example of society’s hypocrisy is the obese dietician talking to a client how to eat right without acknowledging the lack of personal follows through on the professionals’ part even if that is acknowledging a personal medical crisis. We all have life situations that impact our perception of things heard or seen. When living with mental health, we need to find what works for us as an individual and positively contribute to the running of our society. There are several people referenced in the Bible that lived with Mental Health. If God, the author of scripture supports striving to live well with mental or physical health issues, he would not have included them in positive and negative consequences. These can be what we are born with, upbring, choices by others that impact you, and many other examples from this imperfect world. Here is a brief write up about mental illness from a website GotQuesttions.org, https://www.gotquestions.org/mental-illness.html. Some of what I struggle with how I feel or think about what I read. I do enjoy much of the write-up and the fact that scripture verses included so I can research and see if I agree. I hope to go through it in the future, right now, I would like to spend time on something I ran across on Pinterest a while ago.
As believers, can we learn from God’s Word about living well with our Achilles Heel, mental health? We read the words and may have even memorized them over the years, but let’s look at them. Ran across this list of 5 things God’s children should never worry. I like to read this but also struggle because depending on where my mental health is that day, I cannot see this or how I even can live this since I perceive myself as such a failure. I am going to go over one today and continue to number two further in the week.
- Being forsaken Hebrews 13:5
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee or forsake thee. (King James Version)
Okay, great, what the heck does that mean? I always feel like I have forgotten. What does covetousness mean? I am very rarely content. So am I sinning right off the get-go? Does this say I am a failure as a Christian, too, like everything else? These are thoughts that often return to me and will sometimes lead me to question why I should even read the scripture, believe in God, or attend church. God does not ask for perfection to believe. Praise God because I would be a total mess more than I think I already am.
He is willing to listen and accept all of us to live and believe in His Word. What that looks like for one will be different for others on some, at least for me small subjects. Broad subjects should not be flexible, but that is where people see the hypocrisy of the church when they see the division on the large and small biblical topics. A quick example of a minor, inconsequential issue is that I have a friend who read the scripture about being dressed well. She always dressed in culottes or a dress and well dressed even when we go for a walk. For me, I am still in shorts or pants and not always put together. She feels that wearing as she does honor God for me dressing top-notch is not a priority. These are the small subjects that can create arguments among believers and nonbelievers—these arguments in all religions, not just Christianity. Just look at any religious or cultural traditions; many interpretations can drive wedges between friends and families. Back to the scriptural clothing subject, just a brief google showed, there are 44 or more bible verses about clothing for different reasons or examples. Our lives are full of regulations, responsibility, and reward for what we do.
So, when I get to an aspect of scripture that someone has posted online or I read during a Bible Study that agitates me, I research. I am going to break down Hebrews 13:5, see where it fits in Chapter 13, and find the history or context of what God’s word was trying to communicate about this, and any commentary I can find. Let’s move forward on this one.
Being forsaken, defined as existence, the nature or essence of a person, a real or imaginary living creature or entity, especially an intelligent one.
Forsaken is abandoned or deserted.
Being forsaken takes on the meaning of me as a person forgotten to by all. My mental health puts me there, often just standing cooking dinner or at a meeting. How can I believe in God that I cannot help me feel loved and cherished when I do not even feel that from those around me?
For the King James Version of the Bible, there is twelve times the word forsaken used. With it used, that often gives me a sense that it is important not to feel abandoned by God.
Hebrews 13:5 (KJV – King James Version)
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee or forsake thee.
I appreciate the sentiment that God will not give up on me even when there are times that I am not content with my surroundings. I do find amazing about the Bible whenever I read, and research is that there are so many connecting pieces. That, for me, reinforces that the Bible may not always be easy to read or chronological order, but when so many aspects connect makes it amazing. When one considers how many humans were involved in translating and writing the Bible, but also explains how some of the translations confuse people because the translation takes twists the original Latin, Hebrew, and Greek has not meant to take. Here is the link for the Strong’s Lexicon showing one translation; it is exciting for those that love language. Hebrews 13:5 Strong’s Lexicon
For Hebrews 13:5, 20 Cross References are reinforcing the importance of this verse of not feeling forsaken by God and Christ’s directions for our lives. Cross Reference list is Genesis 31:5, Deuteronomy 4:31, Deuteronomy 31:6, Deuteronomy 31:8, Joshua 1:5, 1 Samuel 10:7, 1 Kings 6:13, 1 Kings 8:57, 1 Chronicles 28:20, Psalm 37:25, Psalm 119:36, Proverbs 23:4, Isaiah 42:16, Matthew 6:19, 2 Corinthians 4:9, Ephesians 5:3, Philippians 4:11, Colossians 3:5, 1 Timothy 3:3, and 1 Timothy 6:6. Other scriptures can accent the meaning of Hebrews 13:5, but these are at least a start to reinforce that God will not forsake even when a situation may feel like He has.
I was flexing between believing that and not just due to my anxiety when I see injustice in the world or my own life. Then I have to reinforce that I cannot paint the world’s or direct contact’s actions with God’s visual brush. In the Bible, God’s Word is for me, and the individual is to live as best I can and strive to when asked why I believe as I answer honestly. This part is not something I succeed in because it takes me forever to research, and what one person’s interpretation of what they hear and read is different from others. My anxiety and depression make me freeze up or ignore the confrontation. Another aspect is striving to make decisions based on the Bible that is my interaction in the world. But even that can make divisions. We see that I do not understand how they come to that decision with all the different associations of change or ethical decisions if they claim to read and follow the Bible. With my anxiety and depression, all I can do is work on myself, vote well, donate, and support, where I can, to care for others as Jesus did when he was here on the earth. One significant personal aspect is to strive not to be a hypocritical Christian because one cannot have a good pet peeve if they mimic that pet peeve. Oh, yeah, I often flub this up and probably reinforce why someone may not believe in God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. That is my accountability in this life and the next and strive to improve daily.
We have seen the amazingness that is the interconnecting versus reinforcing that God is always with me. The fantastic translation in language lexicon and find the correct words in English to communicate the message. Commentaries are another aspect that I research with; there are many styles I use the Matthew Henry version. His analysis can found in a concise or detailed version. For this, I am going to use the concise. Hebrew 13:1-25 Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
Here is Matthew Henry Concise Commentary for Hebrews 13:1-6 The design of Christ in giving himself for us, is, that he may purchase to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works; and true religion is the most durable bond of friendship. Here are earnest exhortations to several Christian duties, especially contentment. The sin opposed to this grace and commitment is covetousness, an over-eager desire for the wealth of this world, and envy of those who have more than us. Having treasures in heaven, we may be content with mean things here. Those who cannot be so, would not be content though God raised their condition. Adam was in paradise, yet not contented; some angels in heaven not contented; but the apostle Paul, though abased and empty, had learned in every state, in any state, content. Christians have reason to be contented with their present lot. This promise contains the sum and substance of all the obligations; I will never, no, never leave thee, no, never forsake thee. In the original, there are no less than five negatives put together, to confirm the promise: the true believer shall have the gracious presence of God with him, in life, at death, and forever. Men can do nothing against God, and God can make all those men do against his people to turn to their kind.
Even on my bad days, I take great comfort in reading this. Yes, on those bad days, God seems so far away and as a specific question why He even bothers with us or what I have wrong to be forsaken. Yes, at least section of the sign shows the amazingness that is yes I may feel forsaken because my mental health has hit a low. That low does not mean that God is not there with me. He is always there for me, even my sense of calm in the middle of a raging mental storm.
The raging mental storm is when I strive to either listen to Bible Verses, Hymns, Contemporary Christian music, or just sit in a place of calm and pray or the bad just stands as I am being screamed at and pray in my mind. It will be interesting to see where the rest of the verses from this sign leads me down the rabbit trail that is Christian living that is as individual as the people who live it. Honestly, my prayer during the pit times so no words at all or a simple one of “Lord guide me to either speak well or stay silent. Zip my lip if what I will say or do will make it worse.”
May this find you well. If too detailed, I am sorry I love research and diving into scripture and the beauty that is God’s Word. Without the study, I would have stopped reading the Bible. If I have offended, I apologize that this was not a good fit for you. For me, a personal aspect that has kept my life at least functioning. Not well all the time, but my lows are less sometimes if I truly take the time to read and immerse myself in learning God’s Word and how I fit in this chaotic and confrontational world we live and interact with
Have a great day.
44 Bible Verses about Dress, https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Dress
Word Forsaken in the King James Version Bible, https://biblehub.net/search.php?q=forsaken
Bible Research from Bible Hub
Matthew Henry Concise Commentary on Bible Hub https://biblehub.com/commentaries/mhc/hebrews/13.htm