Weekly Thought – January 7, 2020
Fred, in his thinking on maturity, spoke and wrote about mental health. He once said, “I give a testimony rather than a medical thesis about mental health.” He used his own perspective as a traveler, not a theoretician.
Plans for 2020 begin with conversations among team members about goals for the year and campus activity. For the next two years we will be drilling down deeper with conversations among selected students and BWFLI teams. It is interesting to see the focus go from contact with 1000s to concentrated attention to 10s. The broad brush approach certainly introduced us, but the almost one on one interaction and engagement allows us to bring Fred’s principles into closer focus. THANK YOU for your participation with us through team membership, prayer, words of encouragement, and financial support. The work goes on and we eagerly anticipate 2020.
Getting Our Heads Together
Our desire for mental health is at the heart of the matter. Christ, at the pool of Siloam, asked the man “Do you want to be well?” I used to think this had to be the most useless question in the Bible. Who wouldn’t want to be well? But the more I dealt with people the more I realized not only was that not useless – it was essential to the man’s getting well.
As we look at our plan for mental health we must ask ourselves, “Do I want to be well?” If so, then simple, consistent discipline is required. A note, I am not talking about mental disease which should be handled professionally. I am writing to those who want to construct a strategy for emotional wellness as part of their general life plan. I have several good friends who serve their psychiatric patients well.
Let’s look at an exercise as we begin our conversation.
Take a card or piece of paper; draw a line from top to bottom creating two columns. On the left, write down those emotions you must discipline in order to stay mentally healthy. On the right, write the ones you recognize bring you mental discomfort or even sickness. After doing this, take a good look at both lists. The appropriate response is to create the discipline, as much as possible, to build the healthy emotions into our daily living. Part of this is to understand how they work. For example, gratitude is high on my list for desirable emotions. In order to cultivate thankfulness I try to understand exactly what it looks like when I am practicing it. I create a pattern which grows into a habit, and eventually a lifestyle. But it begins by identifying it as helpful and healthy, then purposing to build it into my life.
No two of us will have identical lists. For example, one person may have fear as an unhealthy, undesirable emotion, but only see it as a distraction from mature growth. Another, who lists fear will be paralyzed by it and unable to make progress while in its grip.
After careful study of the strength building emotions, prioritize them. Some people devise a plan and then wear themselves out trying to master each and every aspect of their “healthy person” ideal. Make a plan for enhancing the value of the good emotions. Of course, they all overlap to some degree. A grateful person will undoubtedly show kindness. And, a forgiving person will be one of grace. But determine the primary emotions.
One last word – spend little or no time trying to correct the negative emotions… that is a waste of time and energy. Let the good drive out the bad through its own momentum.
This week think about: 1) In this new year what emotions do I want to emphasize? 2) How interested am I in analyzing my own mental health? 3) Who is a good role model for me in my high priority emotions?
Words of Wisdom: “The desire to be well is essential to getting well.”
Wisdom from the Word: “When Jesus saw him lying there and when he realized that the man had been disabled a long time already, he said to him, “Do you want to become well?” (John 5:6 NET Bible)