Media Consumption and Mental Illness | Part 1

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(Part 1 of 2)

I have an unpopular opinion. Shocking I know .

Do we take the Bible seriously when it says:

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9) or is it just a cute decal pasted on our white washed walls?

Stay with me for a minute while I make my point. Wait till the actual end to be offended, if you must. There will be a caveat, promise.

My generation has put mental illness on a pedestal. It’s almost “cool” to have a mental illness. It’s hip to need a Xanax prescription or to pop psych meds to keep your composure. Depression, anxiety, emotional instability, OCD etc I mean there are t-shirts peddled on Instagram that have “anxiety queen” written on the front. It seems everyone is professionally or self diagnosed to some extent.

Parents would rather push a random spectrum diagnosis on their child than take responsibility for their shoddy parenting. Young adults would rather perpetuate confusion (gender confusion, conspiracy theories etc) than meditate on truth. People in general would rather entertain the macabre and unnatural.

It’s cute to be “dark and twisty,” to enjoy horror, psychological thrillers, sick and crude humor.

I have to wonder if accepting these wrong thoughts and meditating on them is adding to the mental illness culture we currently live in. I believe that verse in Philippians is more than a nice thought, it’s a command to protect our minds, to meditate on lovely things, truth, excellence, the just, honorable, and pure. Do you think maybe The Lord knew how vast the heartaches of this world would be? That our humans hearts and minds would be better off and healthier if we strived to focus on Truth above all?

I don’t believe it’s a call to stick our necks in the sand, plug our ears, close our eyes and completely shut ourselves off from the horrors of life here on earth in ignorance. But why would we willingly invite it into our lives?

Have you browsed through Netflix lately? What about Hulu or Amazon Video? It’s contents are primarily dark subjects. Glorifying teen suicide, normalizing homosexuality, a show where a teenage girl literally gives her soul over to the devil and it ends up being a good thing (?). I saw the dark direction TV/movie streaming services were headed back in college. It had been a hot minute since I’d logged into my Netflix account and when I did I was pretty shocked by the offering.

Social media is another outlet that is like an uncapped fire hydrant, practically drowning you in terrifying, anxiety laden sin and heartbreak. We were never meant to intake this much bad news. Whether it be the latest news story about how a child is being abused by their mentally unstable parent who is forcing chemical and physical sex change therapies on said child, a father that murders his entire family, or the latest political scandal. Funny enough, we’re living in the most peaceful time in history. The only change is the access we have to the entire world and all the hurt people are experiencing.

I’ll admit, I used to enjoy the dark and twisty and was not deeply phased, like I am now, to dreadful news; and then I gained experience with the real world dark and twisty, with trauma, and evil forces. Let me tell you people, I understand how it might be entertaining to those who have never had any real world experience with these things, but your human heart can’t handle it all and neither can your mind. You’re human, depraved, fragile. The best thing you could ever do for yourself is to obey God’s commands. For your spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental well being.

Caveat time.


All that being said. As someone who works very closely in the holistic health world, I’m more than aware that mental illness (as well as anxiety, and depression) can be out of someone’s control when it is a real physical imbalance or the symptom of some deeper physical illness. I know that cutting dark media out of your life won’t necessarily fix everyone’s mental state. But hey, it can only help unload some of the mental burden we’re all under, and also, it’s commanded of us. I also understand that not all parents are seeking diagnosis’s for their kids in lieu of taking responsibility for their parenting. But I have seen that happen more often than not.

I think as Christians we have largely underestimated the power of the mind (and the tongue) although we’re urged/warned/commanded in scripture many times over to guard our thoughts, to take control over our thoughts, to renew our mind from our old worldview, replenishing it with the things of The Lord. We have no idea how much time we do or don’t have have left on this earth. Why spend any of our minds precious time thinking on things that are of the flesh. Thoughts that don’t create a sound mind. We had a rule growing up. You were only allowed to watch as much TV, movies, spend time on the internet as you had spent in your Bible that day. I say that’s not too shabby of a requirement to have in adulthood either. Let’s make that our new goal. Feed your mind with life giving thoughts, friends.

In part two I will discuss some practical steps you can take to unload the mental burden of media.

“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.” - Luke 21:34

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:2

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” -Romans 12:2

“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” - Proverbs 4:23

“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,” - 2 Corinthians 10:5

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” - Colossians 3:1-2

Low Standards By Today’s Women Reap Slight Rewards

There’s a trend in society right now, especially all over social media, to accept mediocrity. Specifically, mediocrity in motherhood, marriage, and faith.

As a younger woman, I’m very troubled by the lack of Titus 2 mentorship exhibited or offered by older women, but also by younger women who foolishly brush off seeking wise council or who easily fall prey to ungodly council. I see younger women who do want to strive for righteousness but are often mocked by seasoned mothers/married women who have accepted mediocrity that “your expectations are too high” or “the higher you place yourself the harder you will fall,” “just wait till you have kids, then you’ll understand.” There’s a myriad of ungodly excuses I’ve personally heard that are all the more distressing. Yes, there are probably cases where expectations are too high, but better striving for excellence than just ok. After all, the Bible has things to say about striving for excellence.

We’ve got an onslaught of ungodly ideologies and advice being hurled at us via social media all day. Things like….

• You need booze/wine at the end of every day to tolerate your family/children, when the Bible specifically admonishes older women to instruct the younger to be sober minded.

• It’s perfectly fine if we haven’t done much all day, we’re a mess, the house is a wreck, and the children are running amuck, so long as they’re fed (dry cereal).

• Anything the world offers you takes priority over your family.

• Women are incapable of lying, so believe all of them always, regardless of facts.

• Gossiping is fine.

• You need every bright shiny thing to make your life easier and happier, or your kids lives easier and happier.

• Being financially irresponsible is cute or funny. Max out those credit cards, girl!

 

The list goes on, but those are the big ones.

With all that garbage fed to us regularly we are in desperate need of stable, firm footed, godly women who are more than willing to point out sin and ungodliness, but also who will encourage those who are striving for excellence and raising a higher bar for themselves and their families. If many older women are falling prey to these wicked ideas, will those of us who are younger fleeing these things have to fend for ourselves?

I’ve watched women I once admired accept and defend ungodly ideologies, practices, and political propaganda only to justify their newfound beliefs without scripture. I’ve watched them fall prey to ungodly “teachers” who preached a false god and now publicly accept these heretics. I’ve watched them slowly morph into something I don’t want to become myself and as a result had to distance myself as necessary. After all, show me your friends character and I’ll show you your future.

I recognize without a doubt that people are fallen and will make mistakes. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about women who have turned their back, seemingly so, to everything they once held dear, their first love.

I have a rubric of sorts that helps me identify if an older women is one I want counseling me or someone I want to keep close company with. I also use this to identify whether or not just about any female is sound company. not in any specific order of importance:

1. Do her (older) children rise and call her blessed? If so, great! If not, why?

2. Does her husband rise and called her blessed and praise her publicly? Does his heart trust in her? If so, great! If not why?

3. Do her (older) children follow the path in the way they should go and do not seek to depart from it? A sign that they’ve been well trained and admonished in the Lord. If so, great! If not, why?

4. Does she worry and exude anxiousness? Or is she steady in the sovereignty of the Lord trusting him for the future? If so, great! If not, why?

5. Is she wise financially? Or does she frivolously spend her families hard earned money? Is she materialistic? If no, great! If yes, why?

6. Does she do her family good and not harm? If yes, great! If not, why?

7. Does she manage her home and family affairs well? Or are things in disarray and chaotic? If managed well, great! If not, why?

8. Does she fear the Lord? If so, great! If not, run.

9. Is her husband sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness? If so, great! If not, why?

10. Does her husband teach what accords with sound doctrine and does she affirm this? If so, great! If not, why?

11. Is she prone to slander, gossip, and drinking too much wine or other alcohol? If no, great! If so, run.

12. Does she posses a teachable spirit herself? Does she receive instruction/correction with a contrite spirit and quickly ask for forgiveness when necessary? If so, great! If not, run.

13. Does she affirm Titus 2:4-5? If so, great! If not, run!

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”
‭‭~Titus‬ ‭2:11-15‬ ‭

We as women, sorely need Godly fellowship and desperately need older women willing to speak boldly over the lies culture speaks, even though they are so far from popular truths.

 

To those of you who already do this, thank you! And to those who don’t, seek out the Godly women in your lives. It’s not only helpful, it’s called for in scripture! Thank you for being steadfast.