With the beginning of the New Year there are many people who have resolved to get in better shape physically than they have ever been. They are going to the gym, eating better, and drinking more water to get their body in the shape they have always wanted it to be. While that is great – let me throw something else at you: are you as determined to be emotionally healthy as you are physically healthy? Take that one step further and think about this: if you are not emotionally healthy then you can never be as physically healthy as you could be. How you feel emotionally has a huge impact on how you feel physically. So here are four things to focus on this year to increase the level of your emotional health and wellbeing:
Emotionally Healthy People Practice the Presence of God
You can’t divide your life into “secular” and “sacred” compartments. Your relationship with God is not segmented into a 1 ½ hour session on Sunday morning and a short time of devotion at home; but rather – you have the opportunity to be in the presence of God 24 hours/day 7 days/week. That is why the Bible teaches us in 1Thessalonians 5:17 to “Pray without ceasing…” Spend this year remaining in an attitude of prayer throughout the entire day so that when stress and anxiety tries to throw you off – you can immediately get into the presence of God and stay emotionally strong. Find those pockets of time throughout the day to worship God no matter where you are.
Emotionally Healthy People Break the Power of the Past
Much of the stress people have in life and relationships is the result of unresolved issues from their past. Jesus told us in Luke 9:62: “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God”. There is new ground to be cultivated in your life this year. But you will never cultivate new ground – new relationships – new opportunities as long as you are looking back at your old ground – old relationships – old opportunities. People wonder why they can’t seem to make any progress in their life. Why do they keep getting sidetracked and derailed every time they try to move ahead. The reason is simple – they are so busy looking behind them that they can’t focus on looking in front of them. There is nothing behind you that is worth wasting the time thinking about or wishing it wasn’t there. Stay focused on moving forward and letting go of the past this year
Emotionally Healthy People Slow Down for a Sabbath
I realize immediately many people equate the Sabbath with the seventh day of the week; observed from Friday evening to Saturday evening as a day of rest and worship by the Jewish people. I am not telling you to start observing the Sabbath; I am telling you to start observing a Sabbath. Because the word Sabbath simply means: a time of rest. If God didn’t work 7 days a week – neither should you. God intentionally did this as an example and pattern we are to follow. This year make sure that you weekly set aside a twenty-four hour period in which you stop your work and practice a Sabbath. Set a healthy boundary around that 24 hour time frame where you stop – you rest – you refresh yourself in body – mind and spirit.
Emotionally Healthy People Recognize and Appreciate Their Limits
You have a realistic sense of your emotional, relational, physical and spiritual capacities. Because of that sense – you have the confidence to regularly say “no” to requests and opportunities rather than overextend yourself and burn yourself out. This year – become profoundly aware that your limits are a key factor in faithfully fulfilling your God-given destiny. Here is why – every time you say “yes” to someone or something – you are saying “no” to someone or something else. This means if you are saying “yes” to the wrong things or people – you are saying “no” to the right things or people.
Just a few things to consider as you move into the New Year with the desire to become everything that you need to be. Let’s charge into the year by being “healthy” in every area of our life!
Dr. Mark Lantz