We live in the world with a real enemy whose job is to sabotage and block our mental health. We are reminded in God’s Word that Satan prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour—1 Peter 5:8 NASB. God knew that we would encounter this lion and He prepared the way by sending His Son. His Son then gave us His Holy Spirit, who enables us to live victoriously on planet earth. Left to ourselves, we would despair, throw up our hands and quit, saying, “It’s too much. I can’t bear it all.” This is so true! You can’t bear it all, no one can.
The enemy dispatches schemes and roadblocks that cloud God’s will for our lives. These roadblocks come in many forms: people, power, position, lies, busyness and so on.
How often do we take time to honestly reflect upon the relationships in our lives? Why don’t you take a moment to do so now. What relationships in your life enhance or hinder your mental health? An honest answer to this question may change your life for the better.
As you think about your life, what gives you power? What motivates you to get up each day? What keeps you moving throughout the day? What habits have you developed that are life-giving or life-draining? Any time we seek power apart from God, we substitute. We substitute God’s power with our own strength. The enemy loves it when we try and “do” for God in our own strength. He knows that it’s just matter of time before we crash and burn. For Christians, real power comes from the Holy Spirit of God—Acts 1:8.
What position(s) or titles do you hold in life? When we aren’t satisfied in our own skin, we may try and make up the difference with certain positions. Sometimes these positions come at a high cost: cost of physical and inner health, relationships or integrity, to name a few. As you ponder the ‘positions’ in your life, do you have a feeling of warmth and satisfaction, even a little? If not, it may be time to ask yourself the hard questions, “Why am I doing this? How is it affecting me and my loved ones?”
Roadblock of Lies
Lies versus the truth; we deal with it all the time. We constantly have to discern whether we ourselves or others are telling us the truth. It is way too easy to believe a lie: lies from within, or from without. When we are ignorant of God’s truths, lies prevail and we may succumb to them. Hosea 4:6 declares, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Lack of knowing the truth destroys. I understand why the Israelites were told to bind the law upon their foreheads and hands, so they wouldn’t miss it (Deuteronomy 6:8). Maybe we need to do the same. To discern lies from truth, I have a journal of Scriptures that speak deeply into my life—my “Scriptural Lifeline Journal.”
Roadblock of Busyness
Need I say more?! If the enemy can’t make us sin, he will make us busy. Satan knows that if he can sidetrack us with busyness, we will spend less time with God, receive less power and become more vulnerable to him. Efficiency and busyness are two different things. Efficiency helps in balancing our lives. Busyness feeds imbalance. Imbalance causes malnutrition in one’s soul, purpose and effectiveness for the kingdom of God.
Walking in the truth thwarts roadblocks from the enemy. We set a guard around our soul when we get adequate dosages of God’s Word. The problem comes when we don’t spend ample amount of time eating from the truth. The enemy knows that if we don’t “know” the truth, we are more vulnerable to his schemes. The Holy Spirit is faithful in shedding light on our path step by step. He shows us where to stop and rest. He promises to instruct and teach us in the way we should go (Psalm 32:8).
“Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.” Proverbs 4:25-27 NLT
May we remain ever so aware of roadblocks in our lives that affect our mental health. May we do all that we can to protect our mental health.
Skip McDonald is an author, speaker, nurse and resource specialist for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship—a college campus ministry. Skip has a passion for wholistic living in body, soul and spirit. She champions mental and emotional health, notably in the faith community. As a psychiatric nurse and Mental Health First Aid Instructor, she brings a wealth of experience. She is currently writing several mental health Bible studies, looking at Scripture through the lens of mental and emotional health. She is the founder of Integrative Grace, LLC, a discipleship ministry and Freedomsize Worship Fitness, LLC.
Skip is the author of “Christ, My Life-The Great Exchange,” “The Garden of My Heart” and “And She Lived Happily Ever After.” She resides in Smyrna, GA serving with InterVarsity in the southeast. She can be contacted through skipmcdonald.org.