How my spiritual practise helps my mental health

8:53:00 PM

Memory Verse from one of my Bible Study sessions

I grew up in a Christian home (read; my parents took us to church every Sunday and i knew a few Bible stories) and I knew about God (read;a guy up there who created stuff including a big chair which he lounges on everyday playing santa; if you were good, good things happen…if you are bad, bad things happen).
So on Sunday June 15th 2003 when i got raped; an ordeal whose unchecked trauma led to my bipolar diagnosis, i had questions…i actually doubted my identity as a Christian and the existence of God. As far as i knew, i had been good, so why was i sexually assaulted?
I was done with God.
We had a few moments here and there but nothing serious…but He never gave up on me, and i am glad He did not because it gave me an opportunity to make one of the best decisions ever — know Him intimately and develop a personal relationship with Him.
To finally, and confidently, identify as a practising Christian (who did more than just go to church on Sunday and quote a few scriptures) has been a long time coming and to keep myself grounded, I observe some practices…these three not only keep me grounded but also keep my mental health in check too.

  1. Quiet Time
Everyday before i start my day, I spend some quiet time with God either through prayer or meditation or just journaling. This practice really centres me and helps set the tone for my day. I am a secret wake up on the correct side of the bed type of person. During those moments, we discuss our day’s to-do list; who to reach out to, who to avoid, where to go, how to get there….it is pretty amazing. Then at the end of the day, we do it again.
2. Bible Study
To know God more, I study Him, I study His Word(not just scroll through a phone app) serious phone on silent, pen and paper type of study. We are doing a Walk through the Bible series in church so everyday I sit down with my humongous Bible and do the sessions. Doing this everyday without fail takes loads of discipline and commitment; a practise i simulate to my mental recovery. I won’t lie, I fail at times and just reminding myself that I ain’t perfect and that I shouldn’t tap out, that i should maintain the discipline and commitment even when it is hard, especially when it is hard has helped me stay on track with my recovery plan.
3. Fellowship
My thirst to be rooted in God was greater than my discomfort of letting people in…I began hosting Bible Study at my house...It was really scary at first but I knew to make it through this, I needed a community; an intimate one. I have to admit having people around has increased my support structures and reduced my dull moments. I now have people checking in, people to share laughter and tears with…people to just be human with;a gift most take for granted but one those of us with mental health conditions literally die for.

I have gone on to add mindfulness, gratitude and meditation to my practice. 

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