This year, the Modern Ruth Project will feature occasional interviews with specialists and professionals who are experienced in each month’s topic. This past week, I had the pleasure of talking with therapist, author, and founder of Keilah Restoration Ministries, Nichola K. Brown. Nichola specializes in empowering individuals and deeply desires to help women understand what it means to be loved by God.
MRP: In your experience, what are some of the most significant mental challenges faced by women?
Nichola: Statistically, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, the most common mental disorder for adults [overall] is depression and anxiety. And the church isn’t really equipped to deal with anxiety/depression, which starts in the brain. You can’t really tell people to pray. It needs to be taken more seriously.
MRP: In your opinion, where do insecurity and low self-image stem from?
Nichola: There can be so many factors. It can go all the way back to your family origin, your household, or school. For example, if a teacher didn’t think highly of you or you were bullied or if there was verbal abuse in the home. It varies from person to person and could be triggered by anything.
A woman goes through about 7,000 to 9,000 thoughts per day. So let’s say, you make a mistake. [Now] you have a whole story you created from that action. Whatever an external encounter was, we [mentally] create a narrative and elaborate story that’s not even true.
MRP: Can a negative view of oneself be easily overcome?
Nichola: Anything is possible through Christ. We are so resilient and God made us in such an amazing way. As easily as we learn, we can unlearn. But it will take energy, effort, and intentionality. It’s not impossible but not easy.
MRP: How can women start to improve their self-image?
Nichola: You can listen to sermons. Put words of affirmation on your mirrors. Flood your minds with words that counter those negative thoughts. Focus on and memorize affirmation Scriptures.
Usually, people come to therapy when they’re in crisis. [But] I’m a huge advocate of everyone going to therapy once a year, just like a physical exam.
Proverbs 20:5 says “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.” Connect with someone who can really help you. You aren’t alone in this feeling. There are a community of people struggling with the same thing and there are counselors who are willing to work with you.
MRP: What’s one thing you’d say to a woman who is struggling with crippling self-esteem?
Nichola: I’d say “God loves you as you are.” He is not less pleased [with us] when we are in a place of brokenness for He sees us in such a different way. Sometimes, we push God away because we think we need to be in a healthier place. But that doesn’t make Him love us any less. God is still present in the despair.
The decisions I made were so different once I really understood that love is not based on perfection. And once you receive His love, you’ll understand why identity is so important in our faith. It’s the core foundation of everything you’ll build on.
MRP thanks Nichola for sharing her wisdom with us! Nichola is also hosting a FREE webinar this Saturday, February 10th, “Loving Me: The Christian Women’s Guide to Self-Love.” Learn more about Nichola and her ministry at https://www.keilahrestoration.com. Also, check out her book, Sabbath Season: A Call to Rest on Amazon.
If you’re interested in seeking therapy, please visit https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists, http://www.christiancounselordirectory.com/FindATherapist, or https://www.therapyforblackgirls.com/ for a therapist near you.