Some Thoughts About Keeping Yourself Spiritually, Mentally, and Emotionally Healthy
A calm and undisturbed mind and heart are the life and health of the body, but envy, jealousy, and wrath are like rottenness of the bones (Proverbs 14:30 – Amplified).
A sound mind makes for a robust body, but runaway emotions corrode the bones (Proverbs 14:30 – Message Paraphrase)
The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear? (Proverbs 18:14- KJV).
The human spirit can endure a sick body, but who can bear a crushed spirit? (Proverbs 18:14- NLT).
A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones (Proverbs 17:22- NKJV).
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength (Proverbs 17:22 – NLT).
When I was in my 20’s I came across this wise piece of advice: What happens to you in life is not as important as how you deal with it. All of us encounter the terrible and sometimes caustic challenges that life in a negative world breeds. We just can’t keep people from doing and saying things that harm us. The inevitability of life means that unless we learn to handle well the things that happen to us, we could be destroyed by them.
Over the 36 years I’ve been in ministry I’ve witnessed the hurts and pains of people who have been mentally, emotionally, physically, sexually, and even spiritually abused. Many are are devastated and live in the shadow of these negative things that have happened. But, I have seen some who, by the grace of God, were able to keep these awful events from ruining their lives.
When others hurt us we can choose either to brood over it, or forgive the offending person, place the event in God’s hands by faith, and move on with life. The first response, brooding, causes the event to fester in our minds and emotions, and the negative event saps our strength, colors our relationships, and hinders us moving forward in God’s great big ocean of life. The second response, forgiving and asking God to move us through the event to the other side where there is emotional and mental peace, brings with it mental, emotional, spiritual, and relational health.
In January of 2013, I had a bicycling accident and broke my left arm. In the process of falling on the biking trail, I also hit my helmet really hard on the ground, and my teeth jarred together violently. Besides the deliriously hurtful arm pain, I noticed that there was grit in mouth. One of my lower front teeth had an ever so small break in it and a small portion of the tooth broke into what felt like sand in my mouth. It was so minor compared to my arm that I shrugged it off.
Four months later I found myself in my dentist’s office with some intense pain originating from my top right “eye” tooth. I told the dentist of my accident and here is what he said: “The energy from the fall was displaced in your bottom tooth by the ever so small crack in the tooth and your feeling the disintegrated pieces of tooth in your mouth. But, when your teeth jarred together, the top tooth was stronger and instead of breaking, the energy of the fall travelled through the tooth into its root, killing the root.” I had to have a root canal on the tooth. It could not endure the trauma.
And, that’s what happens when traumatic events occur in our lives. We can either give them to God by choosing to forgive the offenders, or we can internalize them by holding on to the pain, never talking to anyone about it, and brooding over the past hurt over and over again. And just like the tooth that was so strong, we slowly erode emotionally, mentally, spiritually, relationally, and eventually physically.
Ask God to help you deal with your past hurts and pains. Don’t hold them inside. The energy of the traumatic event will damage you if you hold it inside. Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted. Cry out to Him in your pain today. He can help you forgive and move forward.
Tomorrow, I’ll continue!