by Michael Edgar Myers, Founding Director
Cami Myers, an intern with Kingdom Impact Theater Ministries, has been compiling resources and recommendations for individuals managing mental health challenges and posting them in a series of online essays we call “A Collegian’s Guide to Mental Health.”
We outlined Cami's background and how these essays came to be in an earlier post, "College, Ministry & Stress." Today, we provide access to the essays themselves and Biblical connections the KIT Ministries staff made while editing them.
Although the essays are not “Christian” in nature, reading them revealed parallels between the practical concepts and Bible basics. There are seven scriptures related to the contents of the four essays themselves, and three other principles that provide perspective on Cami’s spiritual health journey summarized in the four essays.
1. For God So Loved...
“Remind them they are loved,” she says in “10 Ways to Support Someone in a Rough Mental Spot.” “It seems simple enough, but seriously, it helps.”
While Scripture says, “God so loved the world,” “God is love,” and we are “to love our neighbors as ourselves,” and children are taught to sing, “Yes, Jesus loves me,” among those who are uncertain about their relationship with Him, any of those statements can be met with skepticism. Nevertheless, Cami does recommend a Scripture-infused concept.
“One thing I always recommend to everyone is “The Five Love Languages,” she says of Dr. Gary Chapman’s best-selling book. “Whether it has to do with mental health or not, it’s super helpful in knowing what ways the important people in your life feel loved.”
Indeed, the book and its accompanying on-line quiz were an important getting-to-know you tool for Kingdom Impact Theater Ministries when ensemble members began a mid-year intercession ministering to middle and high school students. The results not only helped the students know themselves, they opened communication channels between generations.)
FURTHER READING: John 3:16-18; 1 John 4:7-12, 16
2. Be Quick to Listen...
The words of James are a quiet thread through the essays. For example, among the “10 Ways to Support Someone in a Rough Mental Spot,” Cami’s recommendations bring to mind, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak…”
Cami writes: “No. 7: Listen to Them: “It’s really tempting to give advice and ask a lot of questions, but it’s way more helpful if they come and open up to you to just listen to what they have to say...unless they ask for it.” She then admits, “I struggle with this a lot if I’m being honest, but we all have things to work on in being supportive.”
James, an early church leader, was written by Jesus' brother, who was skeptical of Jesus' deity until after the Resurrection. The letter is considered the first New Testament book written and has been called "The Proverbs of the New Testament." Therefore, companion proverbs are also recommended.
FURTHER READING: James 1:19; Proverbs 18:13; Proverbs 21:28
3. Be Slow to Anger
4. A Merry Heart Does Good...
“Watching Funny Videos or TV Shows:” is one of Cami’s “12 Ways of Coping on Bad Mental Health Days” that falls in line with a KIT Ministries leadership training series, “The Merry Heart: Humor as Ministry Tool.” Both have basis in Proverbs 15:13 and 17:22.
“This sounds super simple and it really is, but as tempting as shows like “SVU” and “Grey’s Anatomy” are, they aren’t the most uplifting when you’re not feeling well.” Her recommended list of comedies also aligns with scientific studies from the Association of Applied and Therapeutic Humor about the positive effects of laughter.
5. He Shall Give Another Comforter
Another coping idea, “Therapy,” is controversial in some church circles, and may deter students from seeking help who would benefit from it. However, Cami’s take is supported in numerous Proverbs and Psalms about counseling.
“I know that counseling isn’t available to everyone, but if you have the opportunity to try it out, I would highly recommend it,” she says.
“Therapy” and “counseling” have roots in listening, discipleship and mentoring scriptures already utilized in ministry. Students particularly will tell school counselors, teachers or youth pastors more personal details than parents.
“I think it’s really important to have open conversations about mental health and to have people you feel comfortable with asking questions and reaching out to you,” she adds.
Feeling "comfortable" also bring to minds the words of Jesus as he explained the role of the Holy Spirit, whom, in the King James Bible, he calls "The Comforter." Lest we forget, this statement is from the lips whose names include "Wonderful Counselor."
FURTHER READING: Proverbs 27:9; 1 Timothy 4:11-13; 1 Peter 5:5
6. Meditate Upon These Things
“Therapy” is the climax of 12 coping ideas that begins with a basic, faith-centered approach to all else: Meditation & Prayer. “Sometimes together, but often times not,” she explains.
While pointing out meditative apps she uses, Cami emphasizes, “I also read devotionals on the Our Daily Bread app, too!”
The idea of meditation causes some Christians to recoil, fearing capitulation to mystical forms of worship. This perception is ill-informed. Meditation is concentrating on a particular idea (often a phrase) for a short period, and Scriptures point out its assets. Scriptures exhort believers to mediate on The Word of God.
God tells Joshua to meditate on the book of the law day and night, Nine times psalmists reflect on meditating on God’s word. Significantly, Paul tells Timothy to meditate upon his gifts and studies -- an important message to impress upon today’s youth – Cami and her peers.
FURTHER READING: Psalm 1:1-3; Psalm 77; Psalm 119: 14-16; Psalm 143:4-6.
7. Test Every Spirit
The KIT 'n' Kaboodle Blog
The essays here are culled from our travels, conversations, worship experiences and discoveries.
Many are reprints from our newsletter, The KIT 'n' Kaboodle, or Facebook notes over time.
They're written by our ensemble, Garlan Garner, Michael Edgar Myers or Vikki J. Myers -- solo, or collectively.