By Resna Marie Brunson, MSC
Many Christians wonder why they would need to seek help from a mental health professional. God knows me completely. He understands my thoughts from afar, before I speak He knows what I will say (Psalm 139). Yet, we do not have the same hesitancy when seeking help from our primary care physician, opthamologist, dentist, or ob/gyn. It feels ok to have Jesus and our “physical” health providers too.
So why do we feel this way? I would like to suggest we do not see how our mental health greatly impacts our physical health. God is the master designer. He created our body, organs, and systems not to work independent of each other. “Now the body is not made up of one part but many…If the whole body were an eye where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?..If one part suffers, every part suffers with it…” (1 Corinthians 12:14-26). We have many “call and response” systems in our body. For example: if we are frightened our autonomic nervous system is activated to initiate “flight or fight.” If we cut ourselves, we have platelets to help slow down bleeding and help with healing. Although our bodies are made to heal themselves, there are times we need additional help ( prescribed medications) for total healing. Likewise, we can use strategies to help us with our mental health: mindfulness, deep breathing, praying, journaling, however when healing is stagnant and we are not able to change our way of thinking, it is not unbiblical to seek a mental health professional.
Seeing a counseling/therapist/psychiatrist does not mean we have “given up on God.” God places us on earth with others to come alongside us not only during the highs but also during the lows of life.
We all will have years of plenty and we all will have years of famine. The Bible warns us of “trouble in this world” (John 16:13). Often Christians will grab their Bible and isolate themselves during difficult times. Yes, there are times we need to “go to the garden alone” with God. And yes, He tells us to “cast our cares/burdens/trouble/worry on Him” (1 Peter 5:7) but He also tells us “there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors.” (Proverbs 15:22). He has given us permission to not only pay attention to our mental health but to reach out to those He has blessed with wisdom, empathy, and love to help us along life’s difficult journey.
It is ok to have Jesus and therapy too. Are you ready to take the next step?