Biblical Ways to Combat Anxiety and Depression (Isaiah 61:3b)
By: Amanda Idleman
Today’s Bible Verse: “They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” – Isaiah 61:3b
There are so many factors that influence our mental health, some biological, other times our circumstances or past trauma can steal our joy. When we find ourselves stuck in a dark mental place, it’s important to seek out treatment from medical professionals as well as taking the time to find support in other ways.
There are some lessons we can take from the bible on how to help keep ourselves out of dark emotional places. One thing is for sure, God wants to take your pain and bring you peace and joy! God wants to give you beauty rather than ashes and joy instead of mourning!
1. Keep Our Lives in Balance
Ecclesiastes 4:6 says, “Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.”
We live in a two handfuls culture. Rarely do we ever see an opportunity and say we should pass because we desire tranquility over success.
Solomon, the writer of Ecclesiastes, is thought to be one of the wisest people to ever have lived. He saw that when our lives become all about work, toil, chasing, and getting after more peace is harder to find.
From the start of creation, God set the precedent that we need rest. When God set aside the seventh day to rest, he wasn’t doing this because he just couldn’t handle making one more new creature, God did this to send a clear message to humanity. He was telling us that we are people that have been created with the need for balance.
We have been made to work, create, and produce. We have been crafted to desire purpose and meaning to our days but also we have not been given endless strength. Rest is key to keeping our lives in balance.
2. Avoid Comparison
Oh my, how hard it is to avoid comparing ourselves to others in our culture! Social media, while has many beautiful uses, also has a way of making it seem as though we are never able to measure up to the next person we scroll by’s life. The “highlights” we post can leave the viewers of our accounts feeling inadequate but those handpicked snippets never tell the whole story.
Galatians 6:4-5 says, “Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.”
God has called each of us to our own unique stories. When we strive to be or do things that aren’t ours to carry we miss out on all that God has for us.
When we own our burdens and invite God to work in both our weaknesses and strengths God is able to do immeasurably more with our lives than we could ask or think! No need to feel bad any longer when we see someone else’s win…we can actually just selflessly applaud them because we are secure with the knowledge that God has placed you where you are on purpose!
3. Find Healthy Ways to Process Our Emotions
God has created us to be emotional people. With every event that we witness in our lives we respond with emotion. It is just how we were made.
We see this right at the start of creation. In the beginning, the first problem that faces mankind is isolation, not sin. Genesis 2:18 says, “The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” After every other step of creation God paused to say that it was good until he realized that Adam was all alone. It was the first time God said wait… something is missing here!
We need each other and we need God. Don’t be afraid to bring all your brokenness to the Lord. He desires to hear and comfort us when we are battling negative emotions. Find a trusted, faith-filled person to confide in when your mind gets overwhelmed. Allow them to help you to find the right way to process your emotions and let them keep you accountable for your actions.
Be encouraged that God knows our struggles empowers us to find healing from all the pain this world brings into our lives. That is the whole message of the Gospel… that God so loved us he came to save us. There is no shame in our struggle. God knows we are desperately hopeless without him and wants us to partner with him to find freedom from the chains of mental anguish that trouble the hearts of all people.