The ABCs of Mental Health

Brian

In junior high school I was teased without mercy. Kids would shout names at me every time they saw me walking down the hallways. They tried to trip me when I went to sit down in class. I started hearing their messages and telling myself negative messages. As a result, my self-esteem took a nose dive. I felt worthless.

As an adult, I can separate who I am from who people try to characterize me as. It took many years but I learned something very biblical. I learned that what I put into mind effects my feelings and my actions. I began putting more positive messages into my mind.

The mind is powerful. Proverbs 4:23 (Good News Bible) states, “Be careful how you think; your life is characterized by your thoughts.” Paul says in Romans12:2, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” In the words of Rick Warren,  “The Bible teaches that the way we think determines the way we feel, and the way we feels determines how we act” (God’s Power to Change Your Life, pg. 35) .

Psychology has discovered what the Bible taught thousands of years ago. In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy the ABC model teaches that A (the activating event and a person’s immediate interpretation of the event) results in B (beliefs about the event, or the mind’s thoughts about the event) which then results in C (consequences: emotions and then actions). The key to developing healthier mental (and I would add spiritual) health is to reframe the thoughts of the mind from irrational thoughts to rational thoughts.

In junior high when I was teased (A) my irrational beliefs (B) were that all the kids felt the same way about me and therefore I felt worthless (C). A more rational thought would have been “Only a small number of kids are bullying me and who they say I am does not determine who I actually am. I find my value in Christ.”

Changing thoughts is not easy. But we are not without hope. We have a power that is stronger than our minds. That power is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit’s power is released in us when we dig into God’s Word, when we pray, and when we praise God.

As a Lutheran I must add, we can only do those things through the power of the Holy Spirit. When we come to faith, the Holy Spirit enters our hearts. That same Spirit then enables us to read God’s word, pray, and praise God, thereby releasing more of his power. All of this is a gift of God.

Are you struggling with negative thoughts and feelings? I encourage you to tap into the power of the Holy Spirit by getting into God’s Word, spending time with God in prayer, and praising God for who He is. Then you will be enables to be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Blessing in Christ,

Kelly Haack

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