Are you feeling weighed down emotionally, mentally, or spiritually? Have you been struggling with feelings of depression, loneliness, grief, insecurity, or anxiety? Or are there heartaches and failures you may have tried to ignore, but are now too heavy to bear? It may be time to let yourself heal inwardly, and get spiritual and emotional refreshment. With a fresh year ahead, it is a great time to focus on renewing your mind and soul.
Christians are not exempt from depression, anxiety, and other psychological conditions. Sadly, although numerous studies have shown that rates of depression and anxiety among Christians are about the same as among non-Christians, the subject has remained largely unnoticed among evangelical and mainline Protestant circles. Many hold on to unrealistic expectations, or are too ashamed to admit what they are going through. Stigma and social pressure continue to hinder so many believers from finding the help and restoration they sorely need.
If you are going through intense emotional or mental struggles, know that you are certainly not alone. People from all walks of life have battled these giants all throughout history. In the Bible, many heroes of the faith also went through these turbulent periods in their lives. King David was particularly honest about his many feelings of despair, loneliness, and fear throughout the Psalms. When Job suffered the tremendous heartaches of losing his children, possessions, and even his health, he uttered, "And now my life ebbs away; days of suffering grip me. Night pierces my bones; my gnawing pains never rest." (Job 30:16-17)
Jesus Christ Himself experienced grief and anguish before the Crucifixion, so He knows what you are going through. He has a special invitation to His children: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) God knows you cannot bear these feelings alone. He wants to heal your spirit and restore your soul.
If you have been going through intense emotional and mental ailments for an extended period of time, it is wise to consult with a medical professional. Some causes of depression and mental ailments are hormonal in nature, or are direct or indirect results of other physical disorders. A licensed professional can assist in figuring out the underlying cause and guide you towards the proper path to healing.
Many who go through psychological struggles distance themselves from family members, friends, or even spiritual advisers. However, we are designed by God to be social beings. Aside from the help you can get from the Lord and from medical professionals, valuable assistance and companionship may also come from your trusted circle. Maybe you even have relatives or peers who are going through similar situations, and you can benefit from the mutual understanding. Don’t got at it alone! Proverbs 17:17 reminds us, "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity."
Different forms of physical activity have been scientifically shown to help with depression and anxiety. Instead of sitting at home and wallowing in your feelings, get up and get active. Take a walk, hike, run, bike around the neighborhood, join a sports club, swim, or take your dog to the park. Even tasks such as cleaning the garage, taking up small repair tasks around home, or gardening can help refocus your mind and lift your spirits. Moderate physical activity releases endorphins and other brain chemicals in the body that improve your mood and help with your overall sense of well-being. Consult your physician about an exercise program that can improve your overall health.
These are just some basic steps you can take towards taking back control of your mind and emotions. It is time to start healing, and God is ready for you to cast your cares on Him. Will you let Him take over today and guide you to complete restoration?
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