Plans fail for lack of counsel,
but with many advisers they succeed.
When I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I set out to learn all I could about it. I did most of my research on the internet, and part of what I learned was how to separate reliable, medically sound information from opinion and hearsay.
I listened to medical professionals, mental health advocates, and people who had been down this road before and learned from their successes and failures.
Listen to advice and accept discipline,
and at the end you will be counted among the wise.
There’s a lot of good advice for people dealing with mental illness. I’ve listed some of my favorite sites and blogs on my Resources page.
I also listen to my doctor’s instructions and take the medicine prescribed for me. I don’t believe taking medicine shows a lack of faith. I believe God wants us well and He has provided many ways to accomplish that.
Whenever someone said I should do this or that to alleviate my symptoms, I took those suggestions to God and asked Him which ones I should do and which I should not bother with. Because every person is different.
There is some advice that is universally accepted as good for anyone with mental health issues, like getting enough sleep. The reason it’s universally accepted is because that’s how God created us, and belief in God is not required to see the truth in it.
In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep to those he loves.
Other advice works for some people but not for everyone, such as certain dietary changes or meditation practices.
In my own journey, God has led me to change the way I eat. Through reading articles and blogs and books, I learned how things like sugar, gluten, and dairy can adversely affect people with mental illness. I did not take what I read as gospel. I took it to God and in His time, He led me to start avoiding them – one at a time.
This is individual counsel, led by the Holy Spirit. As we listen to the Holy Spirit, we can learn what He specifically wants each of us to do to get better. Because what works for me may not work for you.
I continue to read about neurological advances, counseling suggestions, and individual stories of people dealing with mental illness. I continue to allow God to teach me through other people.
But it all comes back to His Word. Because in order to continue to clearly hear how the Holy Spirit is leading me, I need to stay in relationship with Him and stay familiar with what His voice sounds like.
II Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
What I read in my daily devotions may not seem to have anything to do with depression or bipolar disorder. But it has everything to do with who God is and how He works in my life. Filling my mind and heart with His truth provides a standard against which I can measure all other wisdom and advice I receive from any other source.
Then, when I read an article about a new study showing how certain foods or behaviors affect the human brain, I can check with the Holy Spirit in my spirit and see if it bears witness.
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
I can trust His voice in my spirit. I have chosen to listen and He has proven Himself faithful. The changes God has led me to make in my life have made me better. Because they were His wisdom for me.
I am thankful for the many wise counselors God has placed in my life.
How has God used advice or wisdom from others to make your life better?
Photo credit: geralt