Can God Heal You From Mental Illness?

Can God Heal You From Mental Illness?

Can God heal you from mental illness? Yes! Of course He can!

That’s the short answer. But the real-life answer is often much more complicated, more painful, more excruciating.

When Rick and Kay Warren (Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, CA) lost their son to suicide last year after a long battle with mental illness, it brought a new light to what some in the Christian church would rather not think about. Christians struggle with mental illness just like those who are not Christians.

That reality is nothing new. Those who know God have always had their share of emotional troubles. Job wished that he might never have been born. (Job 3:11) Charles Spurgeon, the great 19th century London preacher, struggled with depression. Abraham Lincoln would today have likely been diagnosed with depression also.

So if emotional or mental illness is your burden, you are in good company.

Too many Christians believe prayer and Bible study alone can overcome serious mental illness. But if that’s the case, would anyone seriously contend that Charles Spurgeon was spiritually deficient?

Psychologists, preachers, psychiatrists, medical doctors, and those struggling with mental illness themselves all have their own ideas about causes and cures, about how much the one suffering is responsible for his or her own illness, and what roll God plays, if any, in recovery.

God’s Answer

When it comes to mental illness, like with most other problems we humans face, God’s answer is almost always, “All of the above.”

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5 Actions to Take With Almost Any Problem

5 Actions to Take With Almost Any Problem

If it wasn’t one thing it was another. Hot flashes. No sleep. Blood tests showing problems. Both kids recently married, and now having an empty next. Over-the-top work stress. Marriage having some challenges. The very professional woman broke down in tears, hoping for some help from me as her doctor.

Is Linda’s problem medical? Her physical symptoms are very real, and there is a very possible biochemical reason for some of them. There are some medication options that may help. But no pill will fix the stress at her job, or fill her empty nest. And if she was not under this level of stress, the physical symptoms would be much less of an issue.

I explained to Linda how inter-connected a women is in her body, mind, and soul. And we talked through these action steps that I’ll share with you.

When faced with almost any problem, here’s what to do.

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Your God May Damage Your Mental Health

Your God May Damage Your Mental Health

Or to put it more academically correctly, your view of God as either benevolent or vindictive is correlated with your risk of psychiatric symptoms. At least that’s what recent research published in the Journal of Religion and Health seems to indicate.

How mental health and religion affect each other has been a matter of debate for many years. Some have argued that strong religious beliefs increase one’s risk for anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorders, or even delusions and hallucinations. Some great Christian leaders including Martin Luther, John Wesley, and Charles Spurgeon struggled with severe anxiety or depression. And then there are the caricatures of Christian believers in popular media who claim religious reasons for illegal or violent acts, or clearly display signs of mental illness.

On the other hand many believe their faith in God has helped them weather times of extreme stress, and provides an emotional/mental stability they would not have otherwise.

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Doctor, Doctor: Your Physical Health

Doctor, Doctor: Your Physical Health

You don’t feel good, so you snap at your spouse. You’re tired, so you make a quick unwise decision you later regret. You wake up with a headache, so you try to sleep in, and skip your morning quiet time.

Our physical health impacts every other area of our lives. If you are in shape, at a healthy weight, with good nutrition, and well rested, you are a comparatively formidable force against any obstacle in your way. You will have the mental energy to be creative and efficient at work, be fully present for your spouse and children, problem-solve well in a crisis, and have the spiritual energy to grow in your relationship with God.

On the other hand, if you are sick and tired, overweight, full of junk food, and never exercise, you have no reserve to handle even the “normal” stuff life throws at you. With no energy to draw on your work productivity will decrease, your personal relationships will be contentious, your mind will function more slowly in a crisis, and you won’t have any strength left for spiritual growth.

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What is Your Body Telling You?

What is Your Body Telling You?

Our physical body takes a hit when we experience stress. Even if that stress is not especially negative or traumatic, our body takes the wear.

And if the stress involves danger or trauma, or continues over a significant period of time, our body may just “shut down” in some way.

It has been estimated that 75% or more of the time a patient visits a primary care physician the true reason is stress, psychological difficulty, or something related. In other words, most of the time the problem did not BEGIN with a physical problem or body dysfunction.

That doesn’t mean the physical symptoms aren’t real. It means that our entire being is connected together, and what affects one part affects all the others as well.

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