Episode 60: Power in Perspective: Mental Health Through a Spiritual Lens

Jun 13, 2022
 

 

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I have noticed that it is seemingly more easy for people to talk about their physical health than their mental health. Thankfully, conversations of mental health are beginning to happen more regularly. Yet we rarely talk about our spiritual health. Which might be one of the most important health aspects to talk about.

As a mental health therapist I can tell you that all aspects of your health affect you. If you’re struggling physically, it will affect your mental and spiritual health. If you are struggling with your mental health, it will affect your physical and spiritual health. That is one of the reasons as a therapist and coach I focus on all aspects of a woman's health when I work with them.

If someone comes to me for help with their spiritual health, I am always in check with their mental, and physical health as well. It really is one of my missions with my coaching business to help faithful women remove internal battles that keep them from connecting to God, themselves and others.

I take the approach of looking at mental health through a spiritual lens. I use a modality called Mind Body BridgingMind also meaning, spiritual. The premise of the model is to look at how our mind, body and spirit are working together or what is causing them to not work together. I wanted to spend some time talking about how I have found this theory and mental health in general throughout the scriptures.

When women come to me and find that I will address their mental health and also help them understand it through their lens of spirituality they are often elated that they don’t have to separate the two. I back everything I teach up with scriptures and teachings from the prophets so this isn’t just me making things up. I will walk you through how I see mental health in spirituality so you can gain power in this perspective.

 To begin I would like to discuss the term mindset, and where I see that in the scriptures. Mindset simply means WHERE you are viewing things from. Something can look very different from one place and have a whole new view when you look at it from a different perspective. In the scriptures, this mindset is called the carnal mind or the natural man.

Let’s talk about what the natural man is so you can get a real good idea of what we are dealing with here. My guess is you have a vague idea but haven’t really done an in depth research. My favorite place to start is the definition of the Natural Man in the guide to the scriptures.

“A person who chooses to be influenced by the passions, desires, appetites, and senses of the flesh rather than by the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Such a person can comprehend physical things but not spiritual things. All people are carnal, or mortal, because of the Fall of Adam and Eve. Each person must be born again through the Atonement of Jesus Christ to cease being a natural man.”

Let’s break that down. The first thing I want to point out here is that being in the natural man state is a choice. Actually, the natural man is what gives us agency. Alma 42 gives a really good explanation of how the natural man was created and what it gives us. In verses 7 and 10 it reads, 

 7. And now, ye see by this that our first parents were cut off both temporally and spiritually from the presence of the Lord; and thus we see they became subjects to follow after their own will.

10. Therefore, as they had become carnal, sensual, and devilish, by nature, this probationary state became a state for them to prepare; it became a preparatory state.

When Adam and Eve partook of the fruit, it enacted the ability for us to follow our own will and changed our nature. It gave us the opportunity to come to earth with agency and experience the natural man. Like the guide to the scriptures stated, "the natural man creates passions, desires, appetites and senses of the flesh."

When we are in the natural man state we cannot comprehend spiritual things. Just like I shared above, “rather than by the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Such a person can comprehend physical things but not spiritual things.”

You have probably heard the scripture in Mosiah 3:19.  "For the natural man is an enemy to God." Enemy meaning, an adversity to God or an opposing force. Without that opposing force that God placed inside of us and is part of the plan of salvation, we would not have opportunity to make choices. We would only be presented with good and there is not choice in that.

Before you go writing off the natural man as something that is bad, it is actually a part of the Plan of Salvation to help us. Being tempted by the natural man and choosing God is an act of deep faith. While yes, the natural man is a part of God's plan it is also imperative that we resist it. In Mosiah 16:5 we read,

 But remember that he that persists in his own carnal nature, and goes on in the ways of sin and rebellion against God, remaineth in his fallen state and the devil hath all power over him. 

If we stay in the natural man state, we essentially have an open door to allow Satan in and have power over us. It’s not a really great place to stay for long because of the power satan has over you and the disconnect you have from God and Their powers. This is where the Savior comes in. As it reads in the definition above, Each person must be born again through the Atonement of Jesus Christ to cease being a natural man”  This is expounded on in Mosiah 3:19.

For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, UNLESS he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and PUTTETH off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord.

It may seem impossible to put off the natural man, as we are human, but the scriptures show us accounts of when people were able to do that. In Alma 19:6 we read a description of Ammon's experience of putting off the natural man through the power of Christ and what what is was like for him.

Now, this was what Ammon desired, for he knew that king Lamoni was under the power of God; he knew that the dark veil of unbelief was being cast away from his mind, and the light which did light up his mind, which was the light of the glory of God, which was a marvelous light of his goodness—yea, this light had infused such joy into his soul, the cloud of darkness having been dispelled, and that the light of everlasting life was lit up in his soul, yea, he knew that this had overcome his natural frame, and he was carried away in God.

Truth be told, we don’t have to die to experience this type of lifting from our minds. We can use the power of repentance and put off the natural man to access the power of Christ’s enabling power of the atonement. Repentance is just a turning back to God. It is using agency and choice to go back to the state of your true divine self, which is connected to God, and can see things very differently. A change in perspective.

Think about what your perspective of life is like when you are in the natural man state. You probably experience a lot of deception, overwhelm, not measuring up to perceived standards, silent suffering, despair, irrationality, and abandonment from God. Which are natural to feel at times.

So remember, the job description of the natural man is to make you feel the exact opposite of what God would want you to feel. When you have painful or disappointing experiences in your life the natural man inside of you will tempt you to build barricades around your heart and not return back to your true divine self.

I believe these are your mental roadblocks that keep you from receiving revelation and feeling God in your life daily. As we go through life, our natural man oftentimes builds roadblocks between ourselves and heaven. Creating feelings of anxiety, overwhelm, fear, guilt, inadequacy, lack of trust insecurities. 

The key is to recognize what is happening with your thoughts and mind and receive tools to return back to your true divine self where you have access to God’s will for you, the Savior’s power to heal, forgive and strengthen, and the Holy Ghosts ability to convey messages to you from the Savior. Elder Kopischke said it perfectly.

“Challenges often indicate a need for additional tools and support and are not a character defect. We will experience stress and turmoil because we live in a fallen world with a fallen body. These all-too-often invisible challenges can affect anyone, and when we are facing them, they appear insurmountable. Regardless of our mental and emotional well-being, focusing on growth is healthier than obsessing about our shortcomings.”

I love what he says about this not being a character defect, It’s just what we experience from being in a fallen world with fallen bodies. Staying in the perspective of the natural man state is what keeps you in the obsessing thoughts of your short comings. Repenting, or turning back to God, and understanding your true divine self is what shifts your perspective to growth.

This is where mental health tools come into play. They are tools that will help you deal with those thoughts to change your perspective. That is the exact reason I felt God pulling me to this work to teach women these mental health skills through a spiritual lens. 

I teach those tools in my Removing Roadblocks to Revelation Group Coaching program. Which I will be opening this up again in September. This group setting not only offers the tools you need to calm your mind and put off the natural man, but also offers community and support from other women just like you. Be sure to get on the waitlist today so you don’t miss out the next time I open it up.

You can also download a worksheet that contains all the quotes and scriptures from this blog post.

 

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