It all starts with our minds. Have you ever heard the phrase, “The mind is a battlefield?” I’ve heard this phrase so many times but nowadays, the truth of it has hit me. If we think about it, anything that we do starts as a thought in our mind. Nothing just happens. Our thoughts become words and our words become actions. So if our mind is that powerful and capable, why wouldn’t there be a fight for it? Why wouldn't it take work to keep it healthy?
Sis, our mental health really does play a factor in our relationship with God. How we feel about God connects to our view of God. Personally, my thoughts have been key in how I see myself and how I view God. The biggest battles I face are rooted in my thoughts and feelings. My feelings have told me, “You’re not good enough,” but God reminds me “You are fearfully and wonderfully made.” A huge battle has between how I feel and what God says. For a long time, my feelings have almost sabotaged my relationship with God. But I've gotten sick and tired of my feelings running my life. My move to start therapy last year was my way of saying, "No more."
But with everything I've said so far--Let me start off by saying emotions themselves are not a bad thing. They are not problematic. Let me repeat, our emotions are NOT problematic! God gave us emotions to make sense of the world around us. Our emotions add pleasure, comfort, and richness to events and relationships. They give our life meaning. If we go back to Genesis where God created Adam and Eve, he looked at his creation and called it “good.” God didn’t mutter under his breath, “except for emotions!” No. God looked at everything he had created and declared it all “very good,” including our emotions (Gen. 1:31). Our emotions matter to God. We have to understand this or we will try to hide our feelings from God.
Sis, stifling our emotions is hazardous to our spiritual health. Suppressed feelings don’t just go away. They eventually burst out and seep into every single area of our lives. Pent-up emotions such as fear, anger, etc.. can have literal effects on our body in the form of ulcers and migraines. Emotions are not bad but stifling our emotions is bad.
However, all of that said—I'm learning that there is a place for our emotions. I’ll never forget this quote I heard, “God designed our emotions to be a gauge and not a guide.” Our emotions are meant to report to us, and not dictate our decisions. I read this, “The pattern of your emotions will give you a reading on where your hope is because they are wired into what you believe and value — and how much.” I have found this to be so true. How we feel about God reflects how much we will believe Him.
For me, my biggest hurdle has been believing what I know. The disconnect for me has been believing that God's word to me is actually true. I’ve had to ask myself the tough question of—“Am I just regurgitating the things I know that God has told me or do I really believe what I'm reading?
But here is something that has set me free—To believe God is a choice. Faith is a choice. I have to decide to believe God EVEN WITH how I feel. Sis, the beautiful thing about God is since he created us with our emotions, he understands that we won’t always FEEL like believing him. That is why he calls it faith. Faith is believing something you cannot see yet. And may I add that faith is believing something you may not FEEL yet?
Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day that the Lord has made and we will REJOICE and be glad in it.” I have heard this verse so many times but today, something stood out to me. If we read the rest of Psalm 118, we would see that the author, David was praying to God in the middle of a battle. That is HEAVY stuff. He had every right to FEEL worried, scared, etc…But instead of crumbling—he took the time to say, no matter what I will be glad about today. He decided to have joy. IT WAS A DECISION.
Sis, sometimes our mind can be all over the place. I know mine can. One thing my therapist told me is that life is a string of decisions. You have to decide what you’re going to do and what you’re going to believe. The way to keep our faith in God intact is to truly get to know Him. We will never feel good about a God we can’t trust.
Our mind really is connected to our spiritual life. Why? Our mind holds what we believe. And I’m learning that if it isn’t healthy, it can affect how much God can move in our life. An unhealthy mind can limit God. Our mind is connected to our spirit. What we think is connected to what we believe. I heard this quote by an amazing pastor named Stephanie Ike, “HAVING A HEALTHY MIND IS IMPORTANT. Because when your mind is not healthy, it cannot draw what God has deposited in your spirit.”
So sis, we gotta get our minds right. I came across a suggestion that I love— It’s called a “21 Day mental fast.” (I recommend the message “Help, my mind is a mess” by Stephanie Ike). I’ll be honest, the word “fast” used to make me feel so uncomfortable. It felt like such an overwhelming thing to do but it basically is a time where you take a break from something of your choice to focus on God. This “mental fast” is all about cleaning out any insecurity, doubts, shame, jealousy, comparison, and anything else THAT is TOXIC TO OUR MIND. I highly recommend that you reach out to someone that can help guide this process, a therapist or counselor. The process may not be pretty but it will be worth it!
Take on one thought at a time, one day at a time, sis.
This Sista who is Healing