As I have been on the path to wholeness after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder over four years ago, I have learned how to do battle in my mind. My mind is what the Enemy says he has in the grey murkiness of chemical imbalance. But, all glory to God, He speaks His life and healing with every one of His thoughts over me.
These Rs have become a good way to remember this mental battle and to help others do the same.
1. Remember Why We Want to Win: There are many reasons to overcome something like mental illness (or whatever may be your battle). We want to feel strong once again. We want to stop the hurting in our neuro-pathways as they lead us nowhere good. We want to give relief to those who love us and ache at our distress. But the only to true reason to win—the one we are called to forever—is the worship and praise of God. His glory is tantamount, and He has made us to be vessels of worship and praise. As we find victory in the mental battles, His kingdom reigns in our minds, and our lives. We experience the beauty of songs of deliverance and offer them to a broken world.
2. Realize You Are Immersed in God’s Love: In any kind of warfare, we need a safe place to rest amid the battle. So, we must establish this and return often to it. The truth of truths is God’s irresistible grace and bountiful love. As Zephaniah 3:17 say, ‘he rejoices over us with loud singing.’ His delight is in us and He just wants us to delight in Him. He longs for us to rest in who He is and His great, great love made known through Christ His Son. We can never get enough of the curling up on Abba Daddy’s lap as He speaks love into all that we are.
3. Recognize the Dark vs. the Light: Our minds steer the rest of us. Therefore, it is so important we reflect enough to understand what is going on in our minds. We may be feeling down, lonely, elated, triumphant, but why? These things are articulated by our thoughts. For example, we are somehow hearing, "No one truly loves me." Or maybe, "Others don’t consider me important enough to spend time with me." We may even hear "You are unlovable." "No one wants you." These last two read like direct lies from the enemy of our souls. Conversely, we may be hearing good things. Regardless, we must recognize what is steering our feelings and truly, all that we are.
4.Replace the Bad with the Good: As we discern where our thoughts are coming from, we can then take the steps to replace those negative thoughts with positive ones. Let me be clear. The good is not ‘wishful thinking’. It is truth based directly from the Word of God revealed fully to us through the person of Jesus Christ. So we speak into ‘unloved’ replacing it with ‘loved’, because ‘God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son…’ We are loved through Jesus. That love is proven true by the perfect redeeming work of God and not by what we have done. Therefore, it is the central truth of our minds. We constantly feed this Gospel to ourselves that it might make deep roots within us, conquering all the thoughts not aligned with it.
5.Repeat…Pray without ceasing: We keep these things before us—why we want to win, the constant healing, restful reality of Abba love, the dark versus light thoughts, and the transformation of our minds by the Gospel. We repeat or stay somewhere in these four places constantly. It’s a way of ‘praying without ceasing’ as the Apostle Paul advises. And it enables us to keep the battle in our minds at the forefront. Satan is a Deceiver and masquerades as an Angel of Light. So, he loves to deceive us, by offering fullness through something other than God’s love. He also promises of our heart’s desire based on his kingdom that is of this world. The only way to win this war is to fight the battle of our minds, not being lured away from it.
My journey with mental illness has been a blessing in this most important battle. Through my struggle and its intensity, the dark and light are so clear, the Enemy’s hand is tipped and I know his tactics. I want to encourage you, too, that your deep struggles will do the same as you remember the five Rs and win the battle of the mind.
Abby is a small-town loving, big city adventurer. She and her husband have worked with high school students most of their lives! Since their internship in Budapest, Hungary in 2005-2006, they have been working with the ministry of CRU. In May of this year, they moved to Hungary answering God's call to work long-term with the students of Central and Eastern Europe. Abby loves to laugh, especially at herself, has a passion for God and making Him known and is ever learning how to do that with three small children, ages 5, 3 and one month. She wouldn't trade the journey for anything! She blogs regularly at Fan the Flame.