When you sit back and think of your wellbeing…what comes to mind? Your mental wellness? Emotional wellness? Spiritual wellness? Physical wellness? There are so many versions of “wellbeing” that we could focus on, but what if I told you that they are actually all connected? The latest research shows us that what we do with our physical bodies affects our mental state, and our mental state is deeply connected to our emotional state. Think of the feeling of mental sharpness you get after a good night’s sleep. It isn’t a coincidence!
In the Gospel of Mark, we hear the incredible story of Jesus feeding the five thousand. Leading up to this event, Jesus and His disciples were in the midst of intensive training and ministry. What did Jesus promise the disciples after a very busy season of healing and teaching? Get away and rest. Did they get it? No and yes.
In Mark 6:31, the author gives a key detail to illustrate the disciples’ need for rest: they had no leisure even to eat (ESV). This already-weary group stepped away with Jesus for rest only to be greeted by another large crowd. And what was their concern with this crowd? Send them away for food. We can’t host them.
List everything you think people in your life want that will bring them ultimate joy.
Try to find these items cheaper (anywhere) by checking all the search engines and local merchants within a five-mile radius.
Stop and drag out all the decorating stuff. Trim the tree to surprise your spouse. Put all the boxes away to keep house tidy.
Maintain a good attitude.
In the lean and hard years of ministry I often prayed, “Lord, would you move me somewhere else? Would you put me in a church where I don’t have to do everything, and where I can have more influence? (for your glory, of course!)” The Lord answered those prayers with a “No.” In His wise and gracious providence, he kept me as the solo shepherd of a small congregation.
The Lord is teaching me through being a solo shepherd that I am not the savior of the church. By looking to Jesus Christ as my joy and reward, I can more easily be, as the hymn writer puts it, “Content to fill a little space, if Thou be glorified.”
Many of us face challenges during the Christmas season -- whether grief, stress, remembering loved ones, dealing with painful family dynamics, and more. As we think about spending holidays with family and friends -- or entering any situation for that matter -- it helps to assess our level of "emotional capacity," defined as the maximum amount of emotional energy that we can offer.
All of us have emotional capacity, and that capacity varies given our personalities, unique situations, and relationships we are currently in. Capacity also involves our emotional health, briefly defined as our degree of self awareness and ability to feel what we are feeling.
R.E.S.T. is a tool you can use to help manage your emotional capacity. It is a healthy way to invite God into your life, to honor Him, and to realistically assess your own capacity. See yourself through the "grace-filled" eyes of Christ.
Dr. Penny Freeman, Originally published December 2016
Holidays set the bar high for crashing afterwards. We long for a feast that invites us to feel both full and at home. To enter a house feeling the welcome of belonging. To hope for laughter, warmth, joy and delicious food (that is what commercials are selling during the televised breaks during the parade after all).
To hold these feelings is to enjoy the glory we were created for in Paradise. But no matter how good your family is, there is no family or food that can live up to the expectations our souls seem to crave.