Choose Joy: Mental health Important to Gut Health

All the days of the desponding and afflicted are made evil (by anxious thoughts and forebodings), but he who has a glad heart has a continued feast (regardless of circumstances). Proverbs 15:15

Despond: become dejected and lose confidence

Desponding: to be depressed by loss of hope, confidence, or courage

Afflicted: (of a problem or illness) cause pain or suffering to; afflict or trouble

Foreboding: fearful apprehension, a feeling that something bad will happen

Feast: 1 a: an elaborate and usually abundant meal often accompanied by a ceremony or entertainment; b (1): something that gives unusual or abundant enjoyment, (2): abundance, profusion (Merriam-Webster)

Many people today, even in the Body of Christ, are expecting evil days instead of expecting good. They have become despondent, afflicted, and foreboding. As believers in Christ, we have a hope and expectation of good. God has told us that His plan is to prosper us, not harm us but to give us hope and a future. In this time of the Sars-Cov-2 pandemic, many have lost confidence, courage, and hope by fearing that more evil days are ahead.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the days ahead of us are good (God will bless us, and the ends of the earth shall reverently fear Him- Psalm 67:7). God’s promises of protection, health, and prosperity are available to us today. God is for us, not against us. Many in the Body of Christ are falling ill mentally, physically, and spiritually due to partnering with a spirit of fear. Yes, fear is a spirit that comes to steal your health, joy, and peace. We have not been give a spirit of fear but a Spirit of power, love, and a sound mind (1 Timothy 1:7). Foreboding, or fearful apprehension, stresses our body which can lead to mental, physical and spiritual illness. We fight foreboding by looking away from everything that distracts us from Jesus. In other words, we must take our eyes off the things of the world and fix our gaze on Jesus, who gives us our faith and leads us forward into faith’s protection.

As we learned in the last blog post, a happy heart is good medicine. Joy is a healing balm for our mind, body and soul. When we choose joy or choose to be cheerful (a cheerful mind brings healing- Proverbs 17:22) everyday will bring an expectation of good and more and more hope. We are entering into a new era. God wants us healthy and strong for the journey ahead. To be healthy in mind, body and spirit, we must be careful what we are feeding ourselves spiritually and physically. Feasting on negative reports and messages will bring despair and hopelessness. Feasting on the Word of God and His precious promises to His children will bring joy. He is worthy, faithful, trustworthy, and able to do all that He has promised.

The Bible states that good days are ahead of us. God has given us great promises. We have been filled with the Holy Spirit, the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead. We are not alone and we are not helpless. We are victors not victims. We have the power of life and death in our tongue. We must learn to speak life over ourselves, each other, and our circumstances. God has told us that he has given us authority to trample snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy and nothing will harm you (Luke 10:19). His Word is Spirit and Life. Speaking, praying and decreeing His Word is the power that changes circumstances and brings the Kingdom of God to earth. Children are not given full authority until they mature. The same is true as children of God. As we spend time with the Father, the relationship of trust develops. As we yield more and more of ourselves to Him, more authority is given. Now is the time to turn to Jesus and ask Him to show you how to live healthy – mentally, spiritually, and physically.

The Lord has taught me a lot about the mind/body/spirit connection to physical, emotional, and spiritual health. There is a growing understanding that gut health is important to mental health. Most of our neurotransmitters are actually made in the gut not the brain. The balance of the gut bacteria plays an intricate role in the process in making neurotransmitters and protecting the gut lining. Stress, poor diet, and both over-the-counter and prescription medications can hurt the balance of the gut microbes.

Interestingly, the gut also house 70% of our immune system. Researchers have found that our brain is connected to the immune system through small vessel so our thought life also is very important. Negative thoughts release substances that can have a negative effect on our body and gut bacteria. Negative thoughts and stress have a negative effect on the gut bacteria making us more susceptible to illness and gut related issues like diarrhea, constipation, Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis, and heartburn. More and more studies are linking imbalance in the gut microbiome to depression, anxiety, and Attention Deficient Disorder. Changes in diet have proven to be beneficial to many mental health issues.

Dr. Daniel Amen found through SPECT scan imaging that 40% of patients with anxiety, depression, suicidal and homicidal thoughts, and ADHD had had a traumatic brain injury sometime in their life. Many of these patient could not recall ever having a significant head injury. As you can see, many factors are at play in our mental health issues. The brain can be injured or have deficiency in appropriate neurotransmitters for many reason. The brain can heal with the right treatment. Dr. Amen did a study on NFL football players who were having emotional and memory issues. Through a protocol of supplements, diet, and exercise along with correcting any hormone or vitamin deficiency, these NFL players improved. God created our body with the innate ability to heal itself when we care for our mind, spirit, and body as we should.

If you are strugging with emotional and physical issues, you are not alone. Please seek out a health provider that will listen to you, seek to get to the root of your emotional, physical, and, yes, spiritual issues. It’s important to check labs such as thyroid, Vitamin D, hormone levels, complete blood count, and chemistries. Diet and exercise are also important because I do believe food (physical and spiritual) is medicine. If you have had a concussion or traumatic head injury you might want to read Concussion Rescue: A Comprehensive Program to Heal Traumatic Brain Injury by Dr. Kabran Chapek. There is help for you. Don’t give up. Your life matters!

I believe that changing the way we think is critical to changing our life. Changing the way we think is the first step to leading a healthy life. This has been true in my on life. Though I was successful and healthy, I experience fatigue, weight fluctuations, and emotional ups and downs. I worried constantly and had difficulty shutting off my thoughts. I worried about everything and had internal unrest. My mind never rested. I grew up in the church and prayed daily but feared displeasing God. Growing up in a more traditional church, I never learned about the grace of God or the rest I could have in Him. I did not know that my unrest was rooted in fear and not understanding what Jesus had done for me at the cross. I did not know that I did not have to perform for God or be good enough to receive His love. I learned that through the blood of Jesus, I had been made right in Him and that I could now come boldly to the throne of Grace.

I began my journey of being transformed by the renewing of my mind in 2007. I had such a stronghold of fear. This fear was mainly rooted in fear of God’s judgement. I thought I had to be good to earn my way into His graces so that He would not send me to hell. The revelation came that I couldn’t follow all the rules and that’s why I needed a Savior. I didn’t have to be perfect but that Jesus gave me His righteousness so now I am blameless before the Father. This is good news! Now I can relax knowing that nothing can separate me from the love of God (Romans 8:38) and nothing can snatch me from His Hand (John 10:28). I feared making a mistake. I feared failure. I feared conflict. I feared the future. I feared dying. I feared something bad happening all the time which is foreboding.

Thankfully, God put people in my life that began to reveal to me that I had believed lies about God and myself. These lies, or strongholds, began to break down when I made a decision to believe God over the lies of the enemy. I was scared, but I grabbed hold of the hand of the Lord and trusted he would help me (Isaiah 41:13). I didn’t know that I could choose my thoughts and that I did not have to believe everything that popped into my head. If the thought did not line up with God’s truth, I did not have to believe it. I learned that Satan uses thoughts to comdemn and to tempt us. He is the accuser of the brethren. He is the father of lies. He attacked my mind heavily but I fought back with the Sword of God’s Word. I began to choose to think and speak God’s Word. I slowly began to trust Him more and more asking Him to show me He was a good Father. I ask Him to help me listen and obey His instruction.

My journey has not been easy. My mind was a mess, I was addicted to sugar and carbs, and I was not as physically in shape as I am today. My thoughts about myself and the world were so negative. I appeared on the outside calm and “all together” but on the inside, I was in turmoil. The Lord told me to get in line with what He was saying about me. I began to learn who I was in Christ. I choose to meditate on His Word. I listened to faith filled message about His love and about His Grace. I woke up early to spend time with Him and to listen for His voice. His Voice of Love and no conmdemation has forever changed me.

He drew me up out of a horrible pit (a pit of tumult and destruction), out of the miry clay (froth and slime), and set my feet upon a rock, steadying my steps and established my goings. Psalms 40:2

Grace is so powerful. Grace is the power to overcome sin, not the permission to continue sinning. Grace is the person of Jesus Christ, who gave His life for us so that we could be restored as children of the Father God. It requires sacrifice on our part. We must chose to seek Him and allow Him to heal our hearts and minds. He is good and His mercy and loving kindness endure forever (2 Chronicles 5:13). The joy of the Lord really is our strength. You can have a feast of joy regardless of your circumstance when you understand that His perfect Love drives out all fear! CHOOSE JOY!

Psalms 50: 14-15 Offer to God the sacrifice of thanksgiving and pay vows to the Most High, and call on Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you shall honor and glorify Me.

Psalms 50:23 he who brings an offering of praise and thanksgiving honors and glorifies Me; and he who orders his way aright (who prepares the way that I may show him), to him I will demonstrate the salvation of God.

2 thoughts on “Choose Joy: Mental health Important to Gut Health

  1. I’m glad I came by to read this today. I saw some things you wrote that sounded just like me. I was tormented by satan putting thoughts in my mind. I had doubts about my salvation. I know now that Jesus is in my heart and life and I am so very thankful. I plan to come by daily to read your blog. It’s worth reading and teaching me so much. Thank you Allison 🙂

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    • I am so grateful this was helpful and most appreciative of the encouragement. Even more of value to me is the honor of being part of your journey and your friendship.

      Like

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