Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Be Transformed by the Renewing of Your Mind

By Dr. Cliff Robertson

         Topics of mental health, including depression, anxiety, psychosis, grief, PTSD and suicide are everywhere in the news today. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the total age-adjusted suicide rate in the United States increased by 35.2% from 1999 to 2018. According to the CDC, during the pandemic, there were reports of increases in mental health struggles due to circumstantial stress. We expected that would have a causal effect on suicide as well, but it didn’t. According to the CDC, the suicide rate went down by 3% and stayed down during the past several years.

         What can account for that? I believe there are several factors that certainly contributed to this:

         • People were at home more. While there was stress over the situation, there was a shared burden. Families were talking about their fears and hopes. The Bible talks a lot about family. Exodus 20:12 promises us the blessing of long life when we honor our father and mother.

         • When we are with those we love, there is strength. Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” I think this pandemic qualifies as a time of adversity.

         • This time together created an opportunity for family restoration. When people begin to talk, they begin to see the problems, recognize their part, seek forgiveness and offer forgiveness. This brings healing where before there was only hurting. Colossians 3:13 tells us to, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

         • People were able to access mental health services for the first time in a way that worked for them. In our busy lives, we are always on the run. I believe that with the opening of telehealth, those who were unable to get mental health services previously, now could. Mental health often gets placed on the back burner when there are other issues. During the pandemic, there was the time but there wasn’t the opportunity. Telehealth came in and filled that need for many for the first time. This reminds me of the words of Christ: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you” (Matt. 7:7).

         People were asking, and it was given. Some in the faith community say, “If you have enough faith, you won’t need counseling… have mental health problems like depression… need medication… etc.” The truth is that the Bible speaks a lot about mental health and it never says that a person won’t need help.

         I love what Christian Comedian Chonda Pierce said,   “I get through my days with Jesus, counseling and my prescriptions.” A lady responded to her, “If you had a little more faith and trusted Jesus more, you wouldn’t need those prescriptions.” Chonda’s response was perfect, “I will put down my prescriptions (that a Christian doctor prescribed for me) when you drive home tonight without your glasses or stop taking your blood pressure medication and insulin.”

         I believe God works in us and through us in a variety of ways. We live in a broken world and people are hurting more than ever. God uses all means necessary to bring healing and restoration to our lives… including doctors.

         Mental health challenges are real, and God calls us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. I believe we can do this with His Word, the Holy Spirit, faith and the people God has equipped to come alongside us to walk through these valleys — family, friends, counselors, pastors and doctors.

         — Dr. Cliff Robertson is an ordained minister, counselor, former church planter/Pastor at The Carpenter’s House (thecarpenters.house), BMA of Texas Church Planter/Missionary (bmat.org), founder of The Warriors Refuge (Veterans Homeless Shelter/Counseling Center & Vocational Training Facility), founder of Waypoint Ministries, writer and photographer. He has a B.S. in Psychology, MEd in Counseling, M.Div. in Creation Apologetics and a ThD in Theology. You can contact him at drcliff@cccmi.us.

File: Faith & Mental Health 1

Graphic: Faith & Mental Heath 1.jpg

Be Transformed by the Renewing of Your Mind

By Dr. Cliff Robertson

         Topics of mental health, including depression, anxiety, psychosis, grief, PTSD and suicide are everywhere in the news today. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the total age-adjusted suicide rate in the United States increased by 35.2% from 1999 to 2018. According to the CDC, during the pandemic, there were reports of increases in mental health struggles due to circumstantial stress. We expected that would have a causal effect on suicide as well, but it didn’t. According to the CDC, the suicide rate went down by 3% and stayed down during the past several years.

         What can account for that? I believe there are several factors that certainly contributed to this:

         • People were at home more. While there was stress over the situation, there was a shared burden. Families were talking about their fears and hopes. The Bible talks a lot about family. Exodus 20:12 promises us the blessing of long life when we honor our father and mother.

         • When we are with those we love, there is strength. Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” I think this pandemic qualifies as a time of adversity.

         • This time together created an opportunity for family restoration. When people begin to talk, they begin to see the problems, recognize their part, seek forgiveness and offer forgiveness. This brings healing where before there was only hurting. Colossians 3:13 tells us to, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

         • People were able to access mental health services for the first time in a way that worked for them. In our busy lives, we are always on the run. I believe that with the opening of telehealth, those who were unable to get mental health services previously, now could. Mental health often gets placed on the back burner when there are other issues. During the pandemic, there was the time but there wasn’t the opportunity. Telehealth came in and filled that need for many for the first time. This reminds me of the words of Christ: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you” (Matt. 7:7).

         People were asking, and it was given. Some in the faith community say, “If you have enough faith, you won’t need counseling… have mental health problems like depression… need medication… etc.” The truth is that the Bible speaks a lot about mental health and it never says that a person won’t need help.

         I love what Christian Comedian Chonda Pierce said,   “I get through my days with Jesus, counseling and my prescriptions.” A lady responded to her, “If you had a little more faith and trusted Jesus more, you wouldn’t need those prescriptions.” Chonda’s response was perfect, “I will put down my prescriptions (that a Christian doctor prescribed for me) when you drive home tonight without your glasses or stop taking your blood pressure medication and insulin.”

         I believe God works in us and through us in a variety of ways. We live in a broken world and people are hurting more than ever. God uses all means necessary to bring healing and restoration to our lives… including doctors.

         Mental health challenges are real, and God calls us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. I believe we can do this with His Word, the Holy Spirit, faith and the people God has equipped to come alongside us to walk through these valleys — family, friends, counselors, pastors and doctors.

         — Dr. Cliff Robertson is an ordained minister, counselor, former church planter/Pastor at The Carpenter’s House (thecarpenters.house), BMA of Texas Church Planter/Missionary (bmat.org), founder of The Warriors Refuge (Veterans Homeless Shelter/Counseling Center & Vocational Training Facility), founder of Waypoint Ministries, writer and photographer. He has a B.S. in Psychology, MEd in Counseling, M.Div. in Creation Apologetics and a ThD in Theology. You can contact him at drcliff@cccmi.us.

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