Updated: Jan 14, 2020
How’s your internal temperature, your emotional health? Are you constantly battling fear and anxiety or a barrage of negative feelings and thoughts? These internal struggles are debilitating, exhausting and can lead to depression, irrational thinking and sickness. They can also be hard to detect when they linger below the surface of our conscious awareness.
We all, to varying degrees, have bouts with despair, discouragement and fear. For a good portion of my life I struggled with these issues in a major way, even as a leader and pastor. Many times they got the best of me hindering my relationship with God, family and friends. Thank God I had a major shift in the way I think. Though I’m still in process the results have been an accelerated growth of peace, joy and confidence in my life. Here’s a few ideas and practices that helped me.
Be aware of your state of mind and emotions. When you find yourself emotionally and mentally overwhelmed its important to take time and ask, “ What is the underlying issue.” I’m not suggesting a self conscious, internal naval gazing as too much introspection can lead to doubt, fear and condemnation. We have Holy Spirit to navigate us through the maze of emotions and thoughts. He is more than willing to lead us into all truth! With His help we can learn to become more aware of our mental and emotional state.
Replace a negative with a positive. Once you recognize the negative thought or emotion you can counter it with a positive and you know what, the word of God is a great place to start! Its learning to lean on the goodness and grace of God and knowing we are empowered to take every thought captive, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. For example, one of the nagging negative thoughts I battled with was that I believed I wasn’t good enough. No matter how many trophies or accolades I received it was never enough. Only when I found my identity in Him and not in my accomplishments did my anxiety dissipate. I’ve actually become pretty adept at recognizing the “I’m not good enough lie”. Whenever I sense it raising its ugly head I counter it by declaring that I am totally loved and accepted. Here’s a great statement that I use often. “There’s nothing I can do to make Him love me more and nothing I can do to make Him love me less!”
Don’t be a lone ranger. I’ve found I can deal with many issues and struggles on my own with the help of Holy Spirit. But what do I do when I hit a wall and can’t break free? Well I’ve learned its time to ask for help. We were made to be dependent on each other and one of the benefits of belonging to a Church is the opportunity to develop caring relationships. It takes time and courage but its worth the investment.
I believe in a wholistic approach to healing. What I mean is, there are many qualified and gifted doctors and therapists that are available and have been extremely helpful for many. Drugs and medicines, when rightly used, can also be a means to restoration. God heals miraculously and practically.
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