By Helen Arnold
Last week, we started a new series. It is one of those subjects -- that as we are early in the New Year -- we long to look at how we can improve ourselves, walk deeper with God, and make those New Year resolutions stick longer than a few days, weeks or even months. Many of us have exercise or fitness goals or vow to give things up and post on social media our new developing muscles or about the pain after exercising those muscles that have long been left dormant. This series is one where we talk about exercising our emotional health muscles. We don’t often see posts about developing our emotional health on social media. Those we do see - it is easy for us to think that people are sharing too much information.
Yet, emotional health is important and intrinsically linked to who we are, and if we neglect the emotional component of what is going on inside and around us, or we are too busy to slow down to be with God we can run the risk of being stuck, and failing to develop into spiritually and emotionally mature adults in Christ.
We all routinely hear phrases such as burn out, over-scheduled, busy, stressed during conversations, or when you ask someone how they are? We hear, "I’m fine, super busy, it’s going to quieten down in a month or so." Most of us can deal with these periods of busyness or high emotional demands for short periods of time.
However, the danger comes for us all when we don’t take a chance to reflect and as one psychologist said,
Pastor Daren spoke about Saul, King of Israel (1Samuel 15:7-24). Saul was instructed by God to fight and completely destroy a group of people (Amalekites). Saul didn’t do what God asked and instead listened to those around him due to a lack of self-awareness (emotional health) and attentiveness towards God (contemplation).
Saul was challenged by the prophet Samuel, and Pastor Daren spoke about Saul’s lack of self-awareness compared to David, who succeeded him as King. Today, we find ourselves challenged about different emotions and feelings. As a Church, as parents, as employers and employees, as students, we find it easy to walk in an overwhelmed schedule, to be constantly ‘busy’, difficult to take time out to reflect. We try and block out things around us, or we are thinking about the financial pressures and making the bills meet. There are times when patience wears thin and anger bursts through, and we want to sweep those emotions under some imaginary carpet rather than understand why we’re upset or angry. We may even deny they are happening and purchase that extra item we don’t really need on the credit card and it brings a satisfaction that only lasts for a little while. We’re too busy to deal with how we get to that point. When having conversations with other people at Church or in the workplace or even with our friends, it is easy to say all is fine, but instead this series is challenging us all to say,
If we all do this, then all of us will have a life that is filled with purpose, and with truth. Jesus is truth.
This week, if you’ve been challenged, find a Home Church…plug in somewhere, and God will challenge you some more and if you’re willing, God will take you and me on a journey to make us more like him and to be emotionally healthy.