Romans 12:2 is said to be the verse for mental wellness. It says “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to rest and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will” (NIV). So what does “renewing of your mind” look like for someone who suffers from a mental illness. Paul is writing to the Roman’s about many things such as faithfulness, righteousness and God’s love but the renewing of the mind is the aspect we will be focusing on.
The renewal of our minds, for those who suffer from a mind disorder, has a slightly different emphasis then what Paul stated. Not that I am adding to or taking away from Scripture. I would never dare do that. I just see this verse as a more encompassing verse for me. When I was first diagnosed, I had no control over my own mind. It went hither and thither whenever it pleased. But one day I was reading Romans and 12:2 jumped out at me. Renew my mind. That is exactly what I needed to do. Renew my mind. But how? As I read in the Amplified Bible, it phrased things a bit differently. It said ” do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in his plan and purpose for you]. This emphasis on maturing spiritually is not new to this blog. I have touched on it before. It seems that spiritual maturity is important to God. He mentions it many times in the New Testament. But this verse goes a little further. It says that as you spiritually mature, your mind will be transformed and progressively changed. This word progressively is a key word. Our minds are not transformed over night. Our illnesses are not overcome in one day. This takes time. Most likely the rest of our lives. But in order for our illnesses to not dictate where our minds go, we need to become spiritually mature. How do we do this? By focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes. It is so simple, yet so difficult. When our illnesses are raging, controlling our minds and training them to focus on anything is difficult. But when we are in a calmer state. When our minds are not numb from depression or raging in mania or just anxious, this is when we need to focus our minds on godly things. It is during the calmer times that we are able to read and study and tuck the Word into our hearts so that when we are suffering, we can reach in and pull out what we need to calm our distress.
Reading, studying, and memorizing Scripture is a joy for me. But I do know that it is difficult for some. Pray. Ask God for wisdom and the ability to memorize and understand what Scripture is saying and how to apply it to your life. This is a process. It requires dedication and perseverance but the rewards are endless. The renewal of your mind is vitally important. If we do not renew our minds, we continue in the same cycle of getting ill and allowing the illness to dictate our behaviors, getting a little better, and then getting ill again. If we can continue to mature spiritually, our minds will be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit and we can stand on the promise of renewal. Our minds will be healthier and a healthy mind will improve every area of our lives. Know that this is a verse we can stand on. It is a promise from God and God’s promises are yes in Christ Jesus.