You're tired but excited. You care deeply but your carer, if it is not broken it is at least worn out. Your kids make you so proud and confuse you at the same time. You want the world around you to be a good place but often it isn’t.
Can you relate to this? A better question may be why do you feel like this?
Yeah we did the pandemic thing, saw all kinds of social and political trends happen but that is over, kinda. Why do we feel the way we feel?
Bad feelings aren’t all the time and they don’t define everything but they are there, persistently and insistently. There is a collective hole in our souls. Together our mental health, for lack of a better word, is not healthy.
Everyone’s story is different. If I could listen to your story I know I would be surprised by some things, amazed at your strength and appreciate you even more.
Our stories are different but the reasons we feel like we do are very similar. Here are three things hurting everyone’s mental health.
Everything is Important (but it actually isn’t)
Ever heard the story of the little boy who cried wolf. Short version, a boy use to warn everyone a wolf was coming all the time to get attention. He pretended everyone was in danger. Eventually he was ignored.
Between Tik Tok, Facebook, your apps, the news, your feeds, your phone, your tablet, and your computer everyone everywhere is yelling about how important the latest “thing” is. You have to know what happened and how it is going to ruin the world. They are in many ways little boys crying wolf.
The problem is we don’t ignore them. If everything is important, nothing is important. The truth is we are so inundated with messages they have to be over the top and extreme to get your attention. Everything all the time is on fire and you need to know about it. At least that is the approach.
The truth is most things are not that important. The apps, feeds and news don’t really change your day to day life much except for one important way. The constant stream is like water on a rock, it wears down your mental health and bores a hole in your soul.
One of the reasons you feel the way you do is because you keep hearing someone scream wolf all day. Every day.
Rage and Jealousy Hurts
I don’t know who made the new rule but apparently we are supposed to be mad and jealous. That is now the normal order of things.
Pretending to live a life you don’t actually live. Wishing you could live someone else’s life. (Usually a person who doesn’t really have all together but they give the appearance their life is perfect). Either way it creates a desperateness.
Comparing yourself, wanting an illusion and wishing you could have what someone else has….you get where this is going. Your heart can’t handle this for long.
What about the rage? Even if you aren’t an angry person you are impacted. Being around angry people will increase your level of anger. You may not care about the focus of their fuming but it will bump up your rage a notch or two because of the proximity.
Have you been around anyone who is angry lately? I have. There is a place for righteous anger.
The problem is most people’s anger has nothing do with God’s righteousness and everything to do with their preferences, opinions and rights. By the way followers of Jesus give up their rights before insisting on their rights.
Why do you feel the way you do? Envy and anger, yours or someone else’s, peck away at your emotional stability and chip out parts of your soul.
Acting Goes Before Thinking
Have you notice if you don’t agree completely with another person’s opinion you are either uninformed, deceived or an enemy. It isn’t possible to simply disagree.
We live in an age where people can have incredibly strong opinions about something they know almost nothing about.
A large portion of the “important” messages coming your way are quick reactions to something but not really thought out and well-reasoned.
So many times in the last 18 months something happened and everyone screams about it, until more information comes out and we find the story has more to it. Yet we have no time to think about it because we are already screaming about something else.
Just react, don’t think! Like emotional adrenaline junkies eventually we have nothing left.
Reflecting, pausing, even better asking what God sees in what just happens gives us more time to process a response and leaves us with a heathier heart and a more complete soul.
Changing the way we feel
1) Fix your Thoughts on Jesus – Your calling is not to keep up on all the latest trends, news, politics or world events. Your first priority is to enjoy a deep personal and meaningful relationship with Jesus. Nothing will heal your heart, repair your mind and fill your soul better than He.
It is simple math, take in more Jesus and less soul draining and emotionally crippling messages. Do you want your heart and mind defined by Jesus or the latest whatever that isn’t really important, is designed to get you to react and stir up anger and envy? Not a hard choice.
2) Ask for prayer – does it feel like something inside of you is broken and needs healing? Then ask people to pray for you (you should also pray for yourself!). You would pray and ask for prayer if you had physical problems, why not if you have spiritual and emotional concerns? Allow God’s power and healing to come to bear on your inner life.
3) Unburden Yourself – set some boundaries in your life. What is it that is draining your soul and hurting you emotionally? Don’t go for the easy answer here. Spend a minute and ask yourself what is really behind my struggle. Then set some boundaries, you probably can’t exclude it completely but you can limit it.
It may also be helpful to talk to someone, a friend, a family member, your pastor or a counselor. It is ok to not be ok, it is not ok to stay that way. At times, we all need help from someone to learn to rest in God’s grace.
I want your soul to be whole. Together let’s move past what is hurting us toward the One who can help us.
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