I wrote that this morning in my journal and, boy, did it strike me! How in the world did we get to 2023?!
Like you, I’ve seen almost every kind of New Year’s resolution on social media – weight loss, getting in shape, eating healthier, spending time more wisely, getting out of debt. The list goes on.
But what I haven’t seen a lot of is improving mental and emotional health. Maybe because it isn’t an easy topic, maybe because people don’t know what to do about it, maybe because it feels to hard to work on.
But I believe it is so so important. More important than physical health or monetary security or a cleaner house. Those things can’t even really happen unless a person’s mental and emotional health are secure. But how does a person get there? What do you even begin with?
Well, for me personally, when I dealt with deep depression, the first step was just being honest with myself. Easy to say, really difficult to do. Because you have to face your own pain and insecurity, your own short comings, and your own past. It’s painful and no one really wants to go there .
But, the other side is so much more beautiful and wonderful and life giving. It’s worth it!
It looks different for everyone and we all need different things to heal, but here’s what I found for myself.
First I had to ask some hard questions. Am I too focused on the negative? How do I focus more on the positive? What got me to this place? Do I have some things in my past I need to face and deal with? Who and what am I blaming and what do I need to take responsibility for instead? Am I seeing what others do through a wrong perspective? Am I taking things personally that aren’t actually directed at me?
You have to sit with these a while. You can’t just quickly assess and move on. Sit and ponder and wonder. And be honest with yourself.
If you can’t get through these hard questions on your own, find a good counselor. There’s really good ones out there and it’s worth the time you put in! Don’t say you don’t have time to take care of yourself. If you don’t take care of yourself, I can guarantee you’re not doing a good job taking care of your family. And, more than likely, you’re passing your behaviors, wrong perspective, and bad attitude to your family.
I saw a counselor for quite a while when I was struggling and it helped so much to gain weapons for the battle. It helped to talk things out with an objective observer who could call me out on my wrong perspectives and attitudes and help me correct them. It’s not weakness to see a counselor. It shows courage and strength.
The other big resolution I think we need to see more of is spending time with God. This, above all else, will change your life. But I want to point out a very false movement I’ve seen over the last few years.
There’s this trend to encourage people to spend time in God’s Word, yet push this idea that a few minutes a day is all you need. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are days when all I have is a few minutes. But really that’s not going to change your life.
If you’re resolution is to lose weight, would five minutes on the treadmill change you? If your resolution is to be more wise with your money will skipping Caribou once a month change your pocketbook? Does your health get better because you sign up for a membership at the gym or because you spend time there?
I have seen this trend in churches and I think it’s extremely harmful. You can’t spend five minutes a day in God’s Word and the two hours a day on social media and expect a change. You can’t just read “the verse of the day” and see transformation.
Just like spending time with a counselor when it’s needed, it’s takes just that…time. And effort. And work. And diligence.
You have to make a choice either way. Will I sit stuck in the yuck? Or will I do the hard work so I see life-giving transformation?
I have much more to say on this, so tune in again. For now, start by being willing to be honest with yourself and spending time with God. Good time.