Regarding Mental Health Check-Ups….
Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba…and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers. And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat…Arise and eat for the journey is too great for you.” (I Kings 19:3-5,7, ESV)
How’s your mental health? Feeling a little down lately? Feeling depressed a lot, lately? Feeling hopeless or discouraged to the point of wanting to give up? There is nothing to be ashamed about when we admit that we are not in the best head space. During challenging times, prolonged sickness, life-interruptions, trials that won’t stop, it can be hard to get our mental health balanced. In fact, it’s completely normal to experience times of discouragement, depression, or weariness in this life. Many of the psalms we read in the Bible remind us how normal it was for people of every generation and age to have those times they and we are not in a healthy, mental place.
When we read about the prophet Elijah in I Kings 19, its clear to see he was not in a good head (or heart) space. He was severely depressed, and it appeared he was planning to end his life by refusing food or water. He just wanted to sleep his life away. He was experiencing ministry burnout, had been threatened by the bully Queen Jezebel, having feelings of aloneness in his line of work, experiencing some PTSD, and just traumatized overall. When you add fear and anxiety to physical and spiritual weariness that’s a bad combination with potentially harmful outcome when it’s not treated properly.
Elijah’s depression and reaction to Jezebel’s threat was a good time for family or peer intervention. He needed to know others were standing with him, he needed feel protected, and for someone to come and find him when he disappeared. Thank goodness God did! God refused to let his prophet die so he came to get him, reassure him, heal him, and save him.
Elijah’s story and God’s response is a good reminder for us when we see someone withdrawing, isolating themselves, when we see their depression is not lifting, their weariness taking over, their frame of mind distorted by their events, we can do what God did, go and find them, refuse to let them sink farther, or die that way, remind them how important and special they are to God and to us. we can thank God for the example of reconnecting others to community and to good mental health. Let’s Pray,
Dear God, may we feel no shame when we are not I the best mental health, instead may we be open and willing to seek and then accept help and treatment. May we see others in their hurts, fears, anxiety and reach out to help them just as you did Elijah. Amen
Reflective Questions for Self and Soul-Tending:
How’s your mental health? Could you use a mental health check-up? Remember there is no shame in not feeling your best mentally or spiritually!
How will you incorporate today’s message into your plan of self and soul-care?
Pastor's wife, mother of four adult children, grandmother, Devotional Writer, Biblical Counselor, Mental Health Coach, Women's Life Coach, Avid Encourager of the young and old. Inspiring others to live their best life in Christ. Inspiring new confidence and courage, giving hope, renewing the soul and coming alongside through daily, biblical encouragement.