EMOJI • Feelin’ Alright – 2/26/23

How are you? This is a question we commonly use in conversation immediately after we say, “hi.” The standard answers are “fine” and “good.” But are you? Maybe you keep showing up, doing what you do, but inside you’re struggling, panicking, dying. You keep plowing forward afraid to admit what you’re going through. You don’t want to be seen as weak or lacking faith. Sadly, the church has often implied that when you accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, he fixes everything. This is misinformation. Yes, when you are saved the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within you, offering guidance, direction, strength and helping you grow spiritually. However, many things don’t change immediately, it’s a process. Being told that you really didn’t get saved, or aren’t praying right, or must have some unconfessed sin points the finger at you, which just causes doubt and confusion. When you are seeking God and striving to live a Spirit-filled life but still struggle, it’s only a sign that you’re human! The Bible is full of humans with whom we can relate. Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet. After great victories, David struggled with the fear that God had abandoned him. Elijah was used powerfully by God and soon after wallowed in depression and despair. God is not only our hope for spiritual wellbeing, but also for emotional, psychological and social health.

Scriptures – 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; Psalm 27:1, 34:18, 46:1, 88:3-5, 13-14, 18; Matthew 22:37; Isaiah 26:3; Romans 12:2; 2 Peter 1:3

Verse – May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. (1 Th 5:23-24) The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Ps 34:18) God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. (Ps 46:1) Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Mt 22:37) You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! (Is 26:3)

Thought – God is concerned about your whole being. He cares about what’s going on in your life, your heartaches, worries and fears. Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul and mind. How do you love God with your mind? In the Book of Isaiah, we learn that God gives “perfect peace” to those who trust Him and keep their thoughts fixed on Him. The mind is where it all begins. We cannot 100% control the thoughts that come into our minds, but we can choose to dwell on them or dismiss them. To a great extent, we can choose who and what we expose our minds to. The best way to keep our mind fixed on God is to think “good” thoughts. Reading God’s word, listening to Christian music, sharing with fellow Christians, worship, prayer, serving, helping others, enjoying God’s blessings through nature, through our families and relationships…these are all ways to build positive neural pathways in our brain and help our mind jump to what is good, perfect and acceptable, rather than to negative, dark and despairing scenarios. Each of us needs to do what we can to promote our own good mental health. This may include seeking medical help, Christian counseling, support groups, etc. You are not weak if you seek help. You are strong in knowing that you need it and in seeking the pathway that leads to wholeness. 

Questions – Are you a glass half full or half empty person? What causes you the most mental/emotional anguish? What do you do when you are in a mentally/emotionally dark place? Describe positive steps you take to manage your distress. Discuss a time when you had a season of despair? How did you emerge from it? Can you attain “perfect peace” in this life? Can you get to a point where nothing knocks you down mentally? 

Response – Practice positive thinking. Record blessings. Read/recite Scripture. Avoid negative input.

Prayer – Dear Lord, renew my mind that I may live in perfect peace as you have promised. Help my faith and trust in you to grow so that the negatives of life don’t cause despair because my hope is in you. I pray in Jesus’ Name.

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