It Makes Me Wanna Holla
Today is World Mental Health Day and I have to admit recently my mental health has withstood some strong winds, torrential rain and blistering attacks.
I recently read an interesting article entitled “Election Year Stress Disorder” and recognized that I was fighting some of the same symptoms mentioned in that article.
When I considered the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, extremely divisive political rhetoric based in lies, wildfires in the west, hurricanes in the southeast, churches split along political lines, racial unrest, schools struggling with virtual learning, justice involved individuals unable to receive visits or participate in life skills/faith based programs, increased alcohol and drug use, an uptick in opioid drug overdoses, increased murder rates, the threats of extremist militia groups intent on civil warfare, I developed a borderline stress disorder.
Sometimes it made me want to “holla and throw up both my hands” - Marvin Gaye “Inner City Blues” (1971).
I say borderline because God didn’t allow it to take root in my heart. Hallelujah! Some symptoms I noticed starting to bloom in myself were.
1.) Increased anger.
3.) Elevated blood pressure.
4.) Obsession with the news.
5.) Disdain for family and friends with different political views.
6.) Forgetfulness of important matters (calling, purpose, destiny).
7.) Argumentative without provocation.
Maybe you can identify with me. If so please take the time to read this. I’ve learned that whenever God allows me to experience struggles and trials it is for the purpose of helping someone else. So my takeaways from this struggle are:
1.) Never forget that God is in control. He isn’t sitting in heaven twiddling His thumbs perplexed. He isn’t caught off guard by what’s happening.
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them”.
2.) The warfare is spiritual and we use spiritual weapons to fight it. As the saying goes, “You don’t take a knife to a gunfight”. The spirit of division is wreaking havoc on this earth empowered by satan. We rebuke it by invoking the blood of Jesus against it and arming ourselves daily with our spiritual warfare, especially the helmet of salvation.
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places”.
3.) Promote peace and unity in the Body of Christ. That was Jesus’ prayer and the will of God. The Church is God’s salt, light and witness to a confused and suffering world.
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.
4.) Set boundaries for yourself. Walk away from arguments and at the same time promote courageous, honest dialogue. Jesus taught his disciples to “shake the dust off their feet”. Some people love and thrive off of contention and division. Run from them with a “see you wouldn’t want to be you” spirit 😀.
“If any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message, shake its dust from your feet as you leave”.
5.) Engage in self care. Read a book non related to politics, look at some cartoons 😂, exercise, eat right, get plenty of sleep. Make love to your spouse. Turn the notifications off on your smart gadgets. Set a specific time to check the news. Give yourself permission to relax. Enjoy God’s nature. God’s yoke is easy!
“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
6.) Maintain the spiritual disciplines of prayer, meditation, bible study, church attendance (even if it’s virtual). God’s will is that we grow closer to Him. Learn to trust God and His wisdom.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take”.
7.) Get in where you fit. The Body of Christ is one body with many parts. Ask God how you can become a solution to the problems of this world. Vote, volunteer, pray, organize, do something!
(1 Corinthians 12:12-14)
Unity and Diversity in One Body
(cf. Eph. 4:1–16)
“For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many”.
8.) Seek some godly counsel. That might be your Pastor, BFF, professional therapist, coach or anyone you trust has the godly wisdom to walk with you through the anxiety and fear.
Even though I’m a Pastor and Certified Life Coach I speak with a Christian counselor/therapist bi-weekly. Together we uncover root issues in my heart that would stop me from living the abundant life God has planned for me. It’s been extremely helpful and helps keep me humble.
“Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water,
But a man of understanding will draw it out”.
In conclusion I thank God for His Word and how He can use what could be “election year stress disorder” to glorify His Kingdom!