1 Timothy 1:16
But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.
After a crash course looking at spiritual and emotional health, let’s ponder mental health for a few days. Like spiritual and emotional health, our mental health varies greatly, within a day as well as day to day.
A couple years ago, I read a book called “The Happiness Project.” The basic concept is that if I focus on 12 areas of my life for one month at a time, I could create more happiness. I put together monthly goals, gave myself achievable weekly steps and developed a chart.
Then life happened. I cannot identify just what happened but confident it was a serious of events. As much as I want happiness in my life, all the world’s nifty charts would not bring happiness. Only I determine this for myself.
I think of happiness on a scale with the best possible score a 10. Some days I am a 3 and it’s OK. Of course, I desire to be an 8 or 9 but sometimes it isn’t possible. I don’t want to be negative very long, which happens when we are mentally overdrawn. I also know I cannot go from a -5 to an 8 overnight. Maybe the next day’s goal is to be -3.
I want to be a half-full glass kind of gal. I want silver linings in tough situations. I want to make lemonade out of lemons. Yet, there is a realistic side of me. Several years ago, I came to grips that my life has turned out completely different than I expected. But it still is my life. I determine whether I am will be joyful with these differences or not.
When someone asks you, “How are you today,” how do you answer? Years ago, I gave a sermon in which I identified my personal scale, three different answers, based on the day’s events. Afterwards, it was interesting how people reacted. Sometimes we can share too much of ourselves. I think it offered an example of how we mentally portray ourselves when we may not be having the best of days. Sometimes this is OK. Sometimes, we need safe places to fall when our mental health is challenged. Timothy believed in Christ’s patience with him. I pray we feel it also.
On a mission trip, the person in charge said to me, “Do you have to be so dang Pollyannaish all the time?” In the end, I’d rather be Pollyannaish more often than a grump. Jesus had a human side. I imagine him getting short with people who drove him crazy or took too long or constantly whined. But he also had the hope of tomorrow being a full glass day, extends us silver linings and thank goodness made lemonade out of his death. What a wonderful example of mental health he provides for us.
How much easier it is to blame you, Lord God, when we have a bad day than to give you thanks and blessings on our good days. Thank you for being patient with me when I did not present myself as a loving child of your family. Thank you for not giving up on me. May Christ’s witness of keeping himself a half-glass full kind of guy, a person who extended silver linings and a professional lemonade maker inspire me. Amen.
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