He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
One day I was watching Ellie and Dylan. We spend part of the day at my in-laws. My father-in-law asked for the fourth time if I wanted to make applesauce. I gently told him I didn’t want to. He is now putting apples on the dehydrator trays. Ellie is assisting him. They diligently work just outside the kitchen door. Tony tells Ellie to put the biggest slices on the trays. She takes a bite off the slices and puts the remainder on the tray. As she is not quite tall enough to open the door, she rings the doorbell to get my attention.
Dylan is in the TV room with my mother-in-law. He gets into everything. My mother-in-law’s defense is telling him, “No.” In the kitchen, I have one ear tuned into what is going on so I can intervene when necessary.
The three-point hitch on the International is not working. Rick’s son found an internet site with information to fix it. I am trying to find the site as my husband hovers over my shoulder. Lunch is on the stove. Ellie is ringing the doorbell. Dylan is making unsafe noises, bubbling erupts from the stove all while Rick questions my searching. This is life on the farm.
How well we cope with various situations and life reflects our emotional health. All kinds of things influence our emotional well-being: hormones, genetics, experiences, our ability to cope, etc. Environmental things like sleep and the weather also affect us. Some days, lots of things can be thrown our way and we deal with them. On other day, one little thing sends us into a tail spin.
Emotional health is using our emotions in a positive way without losing a sense of reality. We go through many life emotional phases. How I think and act today is different when I was in high school, out of college or in my 30’s. I know I’m not nearly as smart today as I thought I was at 25. I use a seasoned experience range when making decisions.
Like spiritual health, emotional health varies from day to day, life season to life season. Within one day, our ability to react and respond changes. Keeping ourselves emotionally healthy for ourselves and the benefit of others is a challenge.
Life didn’t make sense for Peter after Jesus died. While Peter tried to be the star disciple, he failed miserably on the last night of Jesus’ life. When Jesus told Peter he was going to deny Jesus, Peter said it wouldn’t happen, but it did. Peter is emotionally drained. He goes fishing. Jesus shows up on the shoreline and cooks the disciple’s breakfast. After breakfast, three times Jesus asks Peter to feed his sheep. By the third time, Peter is so irritated. His emotions are a wreck. I imagine Peter thinking, “Give it a rest, Jesus!”
There are times when our emotions are a wreck. When another day seems more than we can tackle. When numerous people are clamoring for our attention and we don’t have enough to spread around. If our emotional health is frayed, we can easily go someplace very unhealthy.
Sometimes at the end of a long day, Rick or I will say to each other: “Sorry, you’re getting the leftovers today. That is all that is left.” Sometimes it’s OK for this to happen. We need soft places to land emotionally. We need places and times to just be and restore our emotional health. How do you restore yourself emotionally? What is your “fishing?” When was the last time you gave yourself an emotional break?
Help us to see, Lord God, that our emotional health is very much tied to our spiritual health. Remind us again of something that restores us. Encourage us to make time this week to just be. Amen.
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