No, I'm not talking about that heart. The other one. The one that feels happiness, loss, joy, pain ... the very best highs and the very lowest lows ...
At The Mercy Ministries we have a goal to see those in our communities living in physical, emotional/spiritual, and financial health! In this blog we're going to be focusing on emotional health for Heart Health Month.
Emotions can be affected by so many different things. They are hard to gage because sometimes everything can be going right in our life, but we just feel sad, or maybe as if something's off. We're not connecting with those around us, we've lost interest in our job or even our family and friends. Other times we can know something is good for us, but our emotions are screaming RUN THE OTHER WAY!!!
Regarding emotional health, we must considering how unreliable emotions can be, and only judge ourselves or others NOT by how we think we're feeling or think they're feeling, but judge the heart by whether or not their life is showing positive outcomes in various areas. Are my decisions, are their decisions, producing positive outcomes and a healthy life? The following scripture tells us to judge a person by the health of their life, not by the words of their mouths or their ability to show excitement and charisma.
15-20 “Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned.
Matthew 7:16-20 The Message (MSG)
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Matthew 7:16-20 King James Version (KJV)
It is even more important to learn how to make right decisions when our emotions are telling us to do the opposite! This skill takes time to learn, and hopefully we're smart enough to seek the advice of those older and wiser than we are when making big decisions, especially if our emotions are all over the place. We simply cannot allow our emotions to boss us around!
There are two types of lows that cause us to evaluate our own emotional health. One is physiological (sickness in the body causing negative physical and emotional symptoms) and the other is psychological (problems created in our own minds by negative thinking patterns).
Psychological imbalance is when everything and everyone in your life stays the same, but for some reason you are viewing yourself, others, your environment and your situations from a negative point of view. You're looking at yourself and others through a dirty filter, so to speak. It's not always true, but more than likely this person has, over time, experienced some things that were very painful, and as a result developed a negative way of thinking. The way to overcome this negativity is to...
1. Pray and repent for all the ways you've thought of things contrary to the way God thinks on things. 2. Practice positive thinking and talking DAILY!
For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. - Proverbs 23:7
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. - Philippians 4:8
... fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ.
- 2 Corinthians 10: 5 Message Bible
...casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
- 2 Corinthians 10: 5 NKJV
For more help on how to re-wire your thought patterns, check out this book.
Physical imbalance is when something has occurred to make your body get out of balance, and for whatever reason it is affecting your emotions. You haven't necessarily done anything wrong. You're just suffering from the effects of everyday life. This can be a trauma, loss, a lack of sleep, postpartum depression, a physical illness affecting your hormonal/chemical balances, being surrounded by negative/abusive people, etc.
Don't feel guilty if this turns out to be you! I once suffered from depression that just wouldn't relent, and one day in prayer I heard the Holy Spirit say, "Casey, you're not depressed, you're just surrounded by self-absorbed jerks. There's a difference! Their darkness is snuffing out your light. Pick better friends." It hadn't dawned on me that these people I was surrounded by on a daily basis never had anything nice to say to me...for years! I thought I was the problem, that I was failing God somehow. I thought I was depressed because of me. It was such a relief to realize I could change this situation!
I realized I couldn't depend on others to be my cheerleader, support me, or even be positive energy for me. Sitting around waiting for them to do so, waiting on them to see my value, was making me sad. I had to take control of my own happiness and intentionally cultivate relationships, job decisions and extracurricular activities with people who were supportive and loving.
Another time I suffered from depression was because I was in relentless back pain for 7 years. I didn't think I would survive it some days. I was so sick, and I found it hard to see any good in life. Everything was viewed through a filter of constant, nagging pain. As soon as the pain issue was fixed by my doctor, the depression began to lift and life felt worth living again.
I say all that to say that sometimes we just go through life and don't stop to think about or evaluate how our emotions are affecting our everyday lives and those around us. Sometimes we're very aware of our negative feelings and we're too busy blaming ourselves instead of getting to the root cause of it and changing things for the better. Sometimes our illness is an easy fix! But, it starts with us being proactive about our emotional health.
A good place to start is to seek the advice of a doctor or counselor. Secondly, ask yourself these questions:
Emotionally, where am I now?
Where do I want to be six months from now?
A year from now?
Two years from now?
Now, work with someone to make a plan to move forward towards a healthier life.
God wants you thriving in EVERY area of your life! He wants you happy and fulfilled, blessed!
That doesn't mean He won't ask you to do hard things sometimes, or love a person who is hard to love. Sometimes we have to suffer long with messed-up people. God doesn't want you running away from every difficult person or situation.
Being truly fulfilled and blessed means that even when you can't change your situation or the people around you, you can learn to say positive things about yourself. You can begin to do healthy and nice things for yourself. You can choose how you see life and do life. You can learn to love God, love yourself as God loves you, and love others as you love yourself.
Be your own cheerleader, and if you're feeling low, reach out for help.
See life with HAPPY glasses.
Your Life Is Waiting For You!!!