In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a bloke, and as such, am a bit prone to neglect my emotional wellbeing, but we do so at our peril! We operate best when we are emotional healthy, so we can enjoy the positive fruit of God’s presence in our lives of “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” as noted in Galatians 5:22-23.
Back to the prophet Elijah, who we mentioned yesterday - at the start of 1 Kings 19, in fear he fled for his life, but eventually allowed God’s perfect love to cast out his fear (1 John 4:18). Whatever fears we face, in the midst of this pandemic, reflecting on God’s amazing love for us can refresh and strengthen us too. Romans 8 remind us that “nothing in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
As John puts it in 1 John 3:1, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” Knowing we are unconditionally loved by God, gives great emotional stability.
Furthermore, research shows that hope is a massive factor in people’s resilience in tough times. I’ve been on long journeys in Uganda, where people will always tell you, ‘you’re almost there’, to give you hope and keep you going, and it works! Ask any London Marathon runner … who has been carried along by the crowds’ cheers over those last gruelling miles.
But ultimate hope comes from God.
Let’s be praying for each other like Paul in Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
See also the first 5 verses of Romans 5, linking suffering, perseverance, character, hope, faith, peace and love!
Having an attitude of gratitude for what we have, rather than greedily chasing after what others have, is another secret.
Choosing to slow down and enjoy life in the present helps massively also. Some think ‘mindfulness’ is a new idea, but many centuries ago the words, “Be still and know that I am God.” were penned in Psalm 46:10, or as the NASB translates it, “Cease striving … “.
Recently, walking with Pip, the routes I used to cycle with the boys, has given me time to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation and replenish me emotionally, not just physically! For many of us resting once a week from our work is a constant battle. But for me, choosing to weekly say to myself, ‘I haven’t finished, but I chose to stop.’ has played a big part for me in surviving the last 20 years in ministry. Exodus 31:17 hit me afresh the other day, “… on the seventh day God rested and was refreshed.”
Ignoring God’s Sabbath principle is one sure way of slowly destroying our emotional wellbeing. John Mark Comer's book, ‘The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry’, is also helpful in this area.
So, why don’t we ask ourselves: how is the dial on my emotional fuel tank right now? And if necessary - What changes am I going to make today, to ensure I am regularly refreshed?
Whether we’re praying alone, in a family or Homegroup on zoom, let’s be praying people will be emotionally rejuvenated.
Ephesians 3:16-19 – “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”