The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
Psalm 34:18 NLT
It’s funny how the Lord brings long forgotten memories to the surface just when you need them. I recently remembered something that happened over fifty years ago.
When I was in late elementary school, my younger brother had a little friend come by to play each day after school. I’ll call her Polly. Polly was in the third grade and absolutely adorable. She also had a full head of thick long hair that often tangled and matted into a large “nest” on the back of her head. It was clean, but it was a mess.
As the youngest member of a large, chaotic family, her mom probably had no time to brush her daughter’s hair. In retrospect, Polly likely loved coming to our house because it was quiet, and my mom always made a snack.
She sat in our family room, cross-legged on the floor, eating cookies with my brother on most days. They’d watch cartoons and nibble before they went outside to play. Even as a ten-year-old, my heart broke at the sight of Polly with all that matted hair. So, I decided to do something about it. Every day, I would sit behind her on the floor as she munched her cookies while I did my best to untangle the nest.
But my decision didn’t immediately translate into implementation. Moving from plan to action took a little convincing for my brother’s little friend.
Polly feared I would hurt her and felt a little embarrassed by her hair’s condition. But day by day, little by little, I eased her emotions while I used my comb and a soft brush to soothe her strands. When I was done, the tangles were gone, and her hair looked smooth, shiny, and beautiful again. But here’s the thing about Polly’s situation. She didn’t know how to untangle those strands of hair herself—she needed someone to help her.
We can identify, because we need assistance too.
Years of neglecting our bodies, of not caring for them properly and ignoring what they truly need, can leave us in a tangle. The problem sometimes becomes too big for us to sort out ourselves. When it does, we need someone to sit with us and help unravel the mess.
And here’s the truth. When we’re in the dieting and negative body image mindset, we focus on untangling the way we eat, but we don’t understand that what truly needs untangling is the way we think.
We need to understand that it’s okay to seek professional help. Yes, God is with you every step of the way. He is truly close to your broken heart, but many times, He sends competent, caring therapists to guide the way when we feel lost.
Seeking help for mental and emotional health does not mean you do not have enough faith or that you are a bad Christian. It doesn’t mean you doubt that God can heal you. When Christians are physically sick, they visit their doctor. The same wisdom is needed to care for your mental health and emotional well-being.
A standing appointment each week with an excellent therapist who specializes in women like us will help you move forward. A professional can keep your feet to the fire by holding you accountable. And most of all, they can provide a listening ear and teach you coping skills that provide a safe place to land when emotions hit hard.
As you uncover truth, it will be painful, but with expert support, you will untangle the lies and false beliefs that have kept you stuck. Eventually, the tangles will be eliminated.
I love this saying: Psychology reveals, but Jesus heals.
I have experienced the truth of this statement firsthand and believe it with my whole heart. While psychology plays an important role in bringing truth to light and reframes our thinking, Jesus alone brings the healing. Make no mistake—although professional counseling is a beneficial resource, all glory goes to Christ for our recovery from food and body image issues.
Are you at a place where professional assistance may prove your next right step? If so, go to the bottom of this page for some helpful tips on choosing a therapist who is right for you. But do not let pride or fear keep you from seeking support when God may be sending a mental health expert to guide you toward becoming healed.
Soul Fitness: Strengthening Your Core
Scripture tells us, Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life (Proverbs 4:23 NCV). What has God revealed to you that you hadn’t seen or understood previously? Does seeking professional help from a therapist who specializes in women with body image and food issues seem like the next right step? Why or why not?
Dear Lord, thank you that I live in a time when mental health care no longer carries the stigma it did in times past. I am thankful for the helpers you send to assist us. Please guide me in all decisions I make regarding my mental and emotional health. Thank you for all you have revealed to me, and for helping me become all you want me to be. All glory goes to you. Amen.
(May is Mental Health Awareness Month. This post is an excerpt from my book, Still Becoming: Hope, Help and Healing for the Diet-Weary Soul. To learn more, go here and scroll to the bottom of this page for a FREE offer!)
Steps to Find a Mental Health Provider
Personal Preferences: age, gender, cultural background, education, therapeutic focus, faith based.
Questions to Ponder:
Do they understand my ethnic and cultural background?
Do they offer a free phone consultation?
Can they assist me in my faith?
Do they specialize in my issue?
Do they take my insurance? If so, do they submit or do I?
Do they offer a sliding scale for payments?
Do they offer telehealth appointments?
National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) Hotline: (800) 931-2237
If you’re depressed, tell someone. Please do not suffer alone, especially if you are suicidal.
If you need immediate emergency services, dial 911.
Sending love to all,
Thanks for reading this far! In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, I am giving away three freebies with the purchase of my book, Still Becoming. All purchases must be made from my website store between May 16-23. After that, the offer disappears! Buy the book and get a set of 12 Scripture cards, and two Still Becoming 3 inch vinyl stickers for free! Want your book signed to you or a friend? Drop a comment in the “order notes” textbox at checkout!
(The basket is for display only) 12 different names God calls you with the matching Scripture