The Holy Spirit and Mental Illness Debate

When matters such as the Holy Spirit and mental illness collide, people are often left with many unanswered questions.

I had a reader/follower contact me through email the other day over concerns with the Holy Spirit and mental illness.  He had a very specific question pertaining to the indwelling of the Spirit and someone with a mental illness such as bipolar.  It was an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to answer him.  Below is my answer as well as a few emails exchanged between us.

The Holy Spirit and Mental Illness Question from Reader/Follower

Studying the Holy Spirit

Hello 
How can the Holy Spirit live in me.   When you have the darkness of bipolar living inside of me too
Bible says that the Holy Spirit can not be around the darkness

Life Conquering Reader/Follower

Delay for more Research

Hi!

I am sorry I am so late in responding to you.  I just saw your email today.  That is a great question!  I will need to research a little more.  I do not want to give “Amy’s version” of the Bible.  I want to share with you the biblical answer.  Give me a couple of days.

Thanks!

Amy

Interest in the Holy Spirit and Mental Illness

Never be afraid to go to God with your questions.

Amy

I am 48 years old.   I was saved 38 years ago.   I was diagnosed with bipolar over 11 years.  I took meds for my bipolar. 

It’s been long hard battle with my bipolar and my Christian faith.

I have been in many dark places.   I want to live a Godly life.   With a bipolar brain makes it very hard to keep on course.  I feel that the Holy Spirit can not be in me.    Because of the darkness

Ugh

I am so tired of this war that rages on in my head

Thank you

Life Conquering Reader/Follower

The Email to Answer the Holy Spirit and Mental Illness Questions

There is always an answer. But is it the One True answer?

Hi Life Conquering Reader/Follower!

Thank you for being patient with me.  I wanted to research this topic in the Bible (NIV) as well as talk to a few people who are farther along in their Christian walk.  Too many times I see people just give opinions without fact-checking, so I did not want to copy that. I even learned some good stuff about the Holy Spirit and Mental Illness.

Let me say upfront, the situation you discussed in your most recent email sounded so much like mine.  I am in my 40’s.  I was brought up in the church and baptized at 9. Like you, I was diagnosed with bipolar 11 years ago.  And yes, I have tried many, many different pills for my bipolar 1, with psychotic features, mixed episodes/ultra-rapid cycling, ADHD, OCD, GAD, and social anxiety.

I can definitely relate when you say that bipolar has been hard on your faith.  It has been hard on mine, too. 

Defining the Holy Spirit

To make sure we are on the same page, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God. (Judges 3:10)  And then Jesus is God in the flesh. (John 1:1, John 1:14, John 10:30)  The Holy Spirit is not a “lesser” entity of the Triune.  The Holy Spirit has the same exact power as God. (Luke 1:35, Romans 8:2-6)

Once you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior when you were 10, the Holy Spirit came to live inside your heart.  The Bible calls the HS our Counselor.  (John 14:16, 26)  God promised us this Counselor (the Holy Spirit) to be with us forever.  (John 14:16)

Being God’s Children means being Human

1.     God created a perfect world including perfect humans, Adam and Eve. (Genesis Ch. 1)

The Holy Spirit was there at the creation of the earth.

2.     Satan crawled on his belly into the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1).

3.     Successfully tempted Eve. (Genesis 3:6)

4.     Then Eve shared the fruit with Adam.  (Genesis 3:6)

5.     Sin entered the world and everything started to die. (Romans 7:13)

6.     Sin = Death. (Proverbs 10:16)

7.     Humans die. (Romans 8:19-22)

8.     Or Humans can live because of the saving grace of our God. (Romans 8:21)

Jesus was the sacrifice that saved us from sin and death.

When you decided you were going to place your trust and belief in Jesus, prior to your decision, you were a sinner nearly without hope.  And you were exercising your free will in order to make that decision.  But before you were even born, God accepted you to be His son forever when Jesus (God in the flesh) went to the cross and died for all of us.  (Romans 5:12)

I want you to read this next part VERY SLOWLY.  Take a few moments and let it sink in. 

“For God so loved the world (including you) that He gave his one and only Son.  So that whoever believes in Him (Jesus) will not perish (die in sin), but will have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Jesus. The perfect gift.

Take some time to mingle with your thoughts after reading and meditating on John 3:16.

The Apple of God’s Eye

Even before you were born, God had a plan for you.  (Jeremiah 3:16)  So you think God sees you as something quite special.  Maybe the apple of His eye?  (Psalm 17:8))  He does.  He knitted you in your mother’s womb.  (Psalm 139:13).  He saw your unformed body when it was made in the secret place.  (Psalm 139:15-16)  After all, God our Father has taken the time to count the very hairs on your head.  (Luke 12:7)

You are a masterpiece of God.

Do you think you are special to God?  Just the way you are?  What do you think is God’s plan for you?

Math with Amy

Let us look at this biblical math equation below:

+ God created the Heavens and the earth.

+ Sin entered God’s creation.

+ Everything started dying.

+ The people exercised their free will.

+ People got sick.  Cancer.  Stillborn babies.  Lies.  Cheating.  Embezzlement.  Murder.

Sin = death

+ We are not supposed to live in this world.  We were meant for perfect earth without sin.  Shame.  Hate.  Bitterness. 

+ God loved us so much that He sent Jesus to die for us on a cross.

+ Yes we are very special to God.

…because God loves you.

+ Jesus said the Good Shepherd would leave the 99 to find the lost one.  (Lost in sin, confusion, abandonment, mental illness, physical illness, unemployment.  Whatever you are lost in, the Good Shepherd will seek and find you.)

= We get the Holy Spirit of God forever once we believe in Jesus. It doesn’t matter if a person is mentally ill or “normal”.

What do you think this math equation means for you?  For mental illnesses?

Try leaning on Jesus.

God and Mental Illness

When I was being sexually promiscuous in my twenties, driving REAL fast, flirting with any man I saw, and taking every risk you could think of, I had no earthly idea I was experiencing a mental illness.  Once I had my first diagnosis of bipolar, I began to read and learn that these risks were symptoms of mental illness.  This was a very new concept for me.

I sure can relate that once I began treatment, I realized what I was doing was wrong yet it was part and parcel to being bipolar 1.  How do you reconcile that?  I thought I was a Christian?  Am I a horrible Christian with a zero ability to say “no”?  Does God still love me?  Do I still have the blood of Jesus making me white as snow?  Do I still have the Holy Spirit?

These were tough questions to answer. 

I have wrestled with the questions and their answers for 11 years.

I now can say I know the answers because of what scripture says. The Holy Spirit has been with me the entire time.  My relationship over the years with Jesus may have waxed and waned, but the Bible says nothing can separate us from God.  (Romans 8:38-39)  I may not have “felt” the presence of the HS, but it was all because of the noise inside my head (constant audio hallucinations as well as other sensory hallucinations, paranoid delusions, and confusing thoughts). 

The bipolar and psychotic features often clouded my view.

The Holly Spirit and Mental Illness makes a Great Cooking Team

Can you cook when your bp is really bad?  Can you do simple math?  Can you run a business?  Can you prepare a resume?  Cover letter?  Carry on a conversation with someone professionally?  Or a friend?

I can’t.

Everything looks fuzzy

If I cannot think clearly during mundane tasks, just imagine how difficult it is to make a decision between what is morally right and morally wrong.  My mind has spider webs clogging up my thinking that is hanging from the rafters to the floor all the time.

My brain has a boo-boo.

When I am getting dragged down by bp depression, all I am capable of saying is “HELP!”  I just say it over and over and over again until I feel relief. “Help me Lord Jesus.” “Help me Father God.” “Help me!”

My suggestion would be if bipolar is screaming in your ear, call out to God by saying “HELP!”  Then, in God’s time, you will be comforted. 

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.  (Psalm 145:18)

You are able to feel His presence.

In Christ,

Amy

The Response to the Holy Spirit and Mental Illness Email

Amy,

Wow!!!!!!!!!

You are amazing.   

Thank you for your response. 

I am thinking been raised in a strick Baptist home…. to be taught that God is the Old Testament God.  Growing up did a lot of damage…  I left the Baptist faith when I was 30.   I go to non domation church.  My church has the perfect name Grace…

From all of the great bible  verses that you gave me… show me that I reprogram my brain.   Ugh…..

You can find your answers in Jesus.

To be bipolar 1 and to find you.   Was answer to my prayer.   Because I am tired.     I wish I could be healed from this mental torment.   But no…..  or my brain to have pause button.   Nope

Thank you Amy for your kind words.   Wow

This gives me hope.    I have to look to the future HEAVEN!!!!!

Where God will take my bipolar away.   And I will have true peace

Life Conquering Reader/Follower

Email from Amy

Life Conquering Reader/Follower:

You are welcome.  I love sharing the Truth with people, especially people like us.  I especially liked your last two lines.  Amen!  Keep in touch and share your newly-found faith. 

Amy

Call to Action

Do you have similar questions about faith/religion and mental illness?  I hate saying “religion” because, growing up from my point of view, my church focused on religion instead of a relationship.  I didn’t know what a relationship with Jesus looked like until I went away to college. 

If you have any questions about faith and mental illness, I would love for you to email me at lifeconquering@gmail.com.  I do not have all the answers, but I have a direct line to the King of Kings who knows it all.

If you have a friend or family member who needs to hear about the Holy Spirit and mental illness, give them my website, https://lifeconquering.org.  If these emails touched you in any way, share them!

If you would like for me to speak to your group (secular or religious), you can email me at lifeconquering@gmail.com.

Comments

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Life Conquering Blog

~ Conquering Bipolar with Jesus ~

Life Conquering is a Christian ministry focused on encouraging and educating the community and beyond about mental health.  This has become a ministry and a vessel to share Jesus with others and destroy stigma.

I am available to speak to any size crowd of people (in any state) whether it is a church, Bible study, company office, civic organization, police department, school, hospital, etc. Send me an email at lifeconquering@gmail.com. Let’s see what we can work out.

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https://www.healthline.com/health/bipolar-disorder/best-blogs-of-the-year#8

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