cure • noun: a complete or permanent solution or remedy
Spirituality and Mental Wholeness
A friend on Facebook recently started a lively discussion about how the church responds to mental health issues. Unfortunately, the majority of people who responded didn’t have anything positive to say about the church’s response. The typical response of Christians who don’t suffer from depression to those who do suffer? “Pray harder.”
Depression and other mental health issues have existed since Bible times, though. It just seems as if no one’s talking about it since Job and David. All too often, well-meaning Christians tell those who suffer from mental anguish that they have a spiritual problem. This piles on the guilt and anguish of one who loves God, prays without ceasing, but still fells awful.
Medicine and understanding of the human body have come a long way since Bible times. The church and its people need to understand that while there is only one Curegiver, everyone will journey a different path.
Some will need traditional medicine and counseling in order to find relief. Others will find the Cure on their own. Some might need a combination of traditional medicine, counseling to find relief and spiritual guidance in order to find the Cure. Such was the case for my friend Dr. Michelle Bengtson.
Find the Cure with Hope Prevails
Dr. Bengtson, a board-certified clinical neuropsychologist, traveled the depression journey after the birth of her first child. As a Christian AND a neuropsychologist, she realized that “sometimes we need the help of medication to help us get stable enough to be able to do the work.” And when she talks about ‘the work,’ she means the spiritual work of renewing our minds.
“Medication doesn’t cure. It just treats the symptoms,” she says. “Medication doesn’t cure diabetes or heart disease or allergies.” During her bout of postpartum depression, she took medication for a while. “But ultimately, when I did the work of renewing my mind, then my emotions and my chemistry followed suit, and then I didn’t need the medication anymore.” In other words, she found the Cure.
Last year, she shared her experience of traveling through depression and finding the Cure in a book titled Hope Prevails: Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression. This year she wrote an in-depth Bible Study Guide to go along with her book.
The new Bible study guide walks the sufferer through actionable steps to seek spiritual healing and renewal. If you suffer from depression, or know someone who does, this book is for you. Dr. Bengston uses anecdotes (many from her own journey through depression) to capture the reader’s attention, guided reading of scripture, memorization of promises, and play lists of songs to help the reader journey towards the Cure. You can find out more (or even ask Dr. Bengston a question) on her blog.
The Spiritual-Mental Connection
Even if you don’t suffer from depression, know that you are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ (Psalm 139:14). Our mental, academic/artistic, physical, and spiritual parts all combine to make us whole. Like a see-saw, if we lack balance in one area, something will become unbalanced in another area.Educate yourself about #mentalhealth issues. Know where to find resources.… Click To Tweet
And even if you don’t suffer from depression, you might know someone who does. Educate yourself so that you can come alongside friends and family members who suffer. Have resources handy. Whatever you do, never tell a depressed person to, “Pray harder!”
Nurture Yourself Takeaway #26—Educate yourself about depression and seek the Cure!
*I received a free copy of this book. The opinions are mine. This is an Amazon associate link. If you click it, I may receive a small commission should you choose to purchase the book.