How does your outlook or perspective on life impact your well-being? A pissy mood makes for a pissy day, right? Jesus put it even more starkly:
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matt 6:22–23).
Your well-being or mental wellness is your capacity to exercise your abilities, cope with the normal life stressors, work productively and make a contribution to the lives of others. Your mental wellness is your interconnected emotional, psychological and social wellness or wellbeing. So, how can you improve your well-being? How does your wholeness go from dark to light? Improve your faith-being.
Actively living out your faith in Christ contributes significantly to being mentally healthy. Jesus said to the people, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t be stumbling through the darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” (John 8:12 -NLT) Truly the more your life is connected to and imitates Jesus Christ, the more your mental health improves.
Gratitude: Being thankful is essential for life contentment. When we live gratefully we are better empowered to cope better in all circumstances (Phil 4:11, 1 Thess 5:8). Knowing we are saved from death by Christ gives us a foundation of thanksgiving.
Forgiveness: People who are forgiven and forgive have better mental health and report being more satisfied with their lives. Forgiveness allows us to let go of grievences and resentments. Every week you have access to the work of confessing and cleansing your sins. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart; your sins are forgiven.” (Matt 9:2).
Love: Knowing you are loved gives you a value and worth. Feeling love enables you to love others. People who feel loved, trusted and accepted by others are far more likely to have good self-esteem. They are also more likely to feel comfortable, safe and secure, and are better able to communicate and develop positive relationships with others. “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:11)
Joy: Studies show laughing decreases pain, may help your heart and lungs, promotes muscle relaxation and can reduce anxiety. The key to your joy, however, is found not in yourself, but in Christ your Lord. As Paul says, “So you too should be joyful and rejoice with me.” (Phil 2:18) Joy is the essence of God’s goodness. When you trust Jesus Christ is yours and you are his, then we can know that no matter what happens we are blessed. Jesus wants your joy to be complete (John 15:11).
Sabbath: Rest and unplugging from our constant busyness and incessant agitation are required for mental health. Not only do you need sleep, you need Sabbath rest. Sabbath is where you stop spinning all the plates and trust the LORD can run this world without you. Sabbath rest is not an obligation, but a gift for you. “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God.” (Heb 4:9)
Belonging: A sense of belonging cannot be separated from our physical and mental health. When you feel you have support and are not alone, you can cope more effectively with difficult times. If you belong to Christ Jesus through faith you are a child of God and belong to the family of God (Gal 3:26-29). “Nothing in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8:39)
Invest in your own mental wellness by participating in your faith community which offers the blessings of gratitude, forgiveness, love, joy, rest, and belonging. The more you invest in your faith the more the investment of yourself will produce the fruit of your own well-being. Let the light of Christ light up your life.
Out of his glorious riches, may the Father strengthen you with power in your inner being through the Spirit so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.(Eph 3:16-17)
Your servant in the Gospel,
Pastor Douglas Schoelles
Thank you for this insightful piece detailing how we can focus and refocus His Light shining through our lives, that we can more fully reflect His Love.