Mental health is that is all the rage right now, which is sad because it should have been a priority from the start. So many people are realizing that the habits they have formed or the people they are around or their priorities in life are making their minds inhabitable and toxic. Hence the whole ‘mental health awareness’ movement which I am fully behind. Now this post is not to fight or diminish the importance of mental health – because I am someone who has an intimate knowledge of how importance it is – In fact it is to hopefully expand it. This post is to remind you that your mind is not the only thing that needs a constant check, but the entirety of your soul AND your spirit.
I have had to take stock and release myself from commitments, friendships, courses and even places that threaten my mental health in the last couple of years. Yet it was not until this last year that I really started to check my spirit and as God to remove all things that are toxic to its health. For example I have had to let go of really great friends who are really good people because they were not encouraging my spiritual maturity but instead keeping me in a place of complacency. I have also had to leave so friendships because I had not developed some fruit of the spirit and therefore was the toxic one and preventing the other person from enjoying the blessings of God. I have had to stop doing some classes because they made me question my faith in a season where it was already shaky and planting doubt. I have had to leave social media because my spirit was questioning God and I was getting jealous and envious of other people. My mind could learn to not compare but if I do not deal with the spirit of jealousy that was blooming within, then in two years I would be back at comparing myself with others.
You see, you can fix what is wrong in your mind but still be dead in your spirit. Now I’ve written a lot about depression and anxiety and how to deal with them and I know that the war in the mind seems to be the hardest but I want to point out something else. However much you battlein your mind and win, you will never win the war if you cannot kill off the toxic roots in your spirit. Discontentment will keep being a problem as long as you don’t deal with the ungrateful spirit even if you ‘think gratitude.’ Loneliness may be because you haven’t psyched yourself in your mind to love yourself but it is also an issue with your spirit where you draw your satisfaction and joy from people. The need for fame, validation or applause stems not from your mind obsessing over them but from the emptiness in your spirit. Anxiety is a disease of the mind but it also shows where your spirit puts its trust. If you trust your achievements, your government, your abilities, your relationships, your money or your connections then whenever any of them is even slightly shaken you will get anxious that they will crumble.
Your mind is a part of who you are, but your spirit defines your mind. For you to have the mind of Christ, you had to have died to sin and had your spirit reborn in Christ so that the Holy Spirit resides in you. When you’re feeling sad and lost even though you are achieving success it is as much a spirit issue as it is a mind issue. Focusing purely on your mental health won’t ensure you deal with the issue, you just kill the symptoms. At some point in the future, the symptoms will rear their ugly heads again. That is why issues like depression are often not said to be cured but to be managed and yet as Christians we should be cured because we know how to heal the spirit which is where the disease takes root. You have to focus as much energy in keeping your spirit healthy as you do your mind.
Taking a break seems great and maybe you feel better and stronger but in another four years you start feeling the same again and the cycle goes on through your life. The problem isn’t your mind anymore, it’s your spirit. You don’t have the fruit of patience and humility to stay in a great relationship so you label the person toxic because they don’t feed your rudeness and pride. You stay in ministry until you are run ragged because you can’t recognize the voice of God amongst all the opinions of other believers on how and when you can serve. You’re doing something you love and earning money from it and have the privilege of calling that your career and yet you still feel sad, lost and even discouraged because you haven’t found a way to rule over your emotions and to cultivate gratitude and contentment in your spirit.
Your spirit is where God’s breath lives and therefore His spirit lives when we invite him to. It means that you need to feed it right, check it regularly and listen to it above all else because it is easy to drown it out. Dealing with the problems in your mind is merely the first step; as a christian you should deal with their root, in your spirit. So many times I have been thinking the issue is mental when it is spiritual. When you constantly feel down, can’t seem to see the light and feel attacked then the issue isn’t just ‘thinking positive’ but that your joy and peace is being robbed from you. Your thoughts alone will not cure you but you have to ask God to invade your spirit and teach you how to protect your joy and peace so that they are not dependent on your circumstances.
Spiritual health is important because your spirit lives forever and it will guide how you see things, perceive things, live life and how healthy your mind is. This year has taught me that what is good for my mind is not good for my spirit and sometimes in order to keep my mind healthy, I have to get into the ugly things I am struggling with in my spirit. I’m realizing that taking a break for my mental health is good but taking a break for my spiritual health is even greater; that I can block out everything else and let God search me and show me where I need to improve. When your spirit is weak and lost then you need to not feed your mind but feed your spirit. You are feeling sad because you don’t know where to draw your joy from and don’t know how to protect it. Affirmations will not help you but the word of God that is living and active will pierce through your bone, your marrow, your mind and get to the root of the problem in your spirit.
Your mind is fighting a battle because your spirit did not win the war
Your spirit is who you are and at the end of the day, healing your mind or your body without letting God heal your spirit is like pouring liquid into a vessel with a crack. You are depressed because you don’t know joy in your spirit o so therefore the situations of life drown you. You are fatigued because you don’t know contentment and run yourself ragged trying to constantly be more and do more. You are suicidal because you do not know He who gives life in abundance and can refresh your life in an instant and therefore you crave death to remove you from a life you hate. Taking care of your spirit ensures that your mind is protected by truth and your heart governed my faith so that you never have to face the same struggle over and over but cut it off at the root. So get into the word of God and let Him search you, correct you, nourish you, rebuke you, grow you and renew the right spirit within you.
I just thought I’d share some notes I’ve been gathering from several books and sermons in the past few weeks. This issue is very close to my heart because I feel like as we focus more on mental health, we are forgetting the spirit and thinking that we have the solution instead of looking to God.
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Hey there! I am Makenah, a passionate believer, writer, avid reader, poetess, wannabe globetrotter and amateur programmer. I enjoy dancing, listening to music, reading, cooking, travelling and eating.
I started this blog as a way to share my journey through life; the pitfalls, the strengths, the beauty and passion, the pain, the beautiful places I go and people I meet and most importantly the triumph of grace in life. I do this so that through my sharing my journey, you can learn to embrace yours and trust the process of becoming who God created you to be and stop obsessing over 'making it' and 'being someone' or 'getting there' but realizing that life is a journey to be taken and enjoyed and the things and accomplishments are not a final destination but a pit stop on your way to forever. So sign up and join me, you won't regret it! And feel free to interact with me either via social media or in the comment section
Love and light to you,