Making 2021 you best year yet Part 1
We can’t have another 2020….we need to have great victory in 2021 and I believe we will have it as we make decisions, we choose to make 2021 the best year yet. It is not based on circumstances, as we will see but instead on our choosing to believe God at his word. Today I want us to look at our mental and emotional health and how to keep it strong and renew it in 2021.
Depression is three times greater than it was prior to COVID and double that of any other trauma we have faced as a nation. Anxiety has also increased three-fold. There are expectations of long-term mental illness due to COVID and the actions taken.
Twice as many people have considered suicide. There has been a 38% increase in drug overdose death the highest increase in a 12-month period ever
Included are people suffering from PTSD type trauma
JAMA Network Open study released and CDC https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6932a1.htm
There is not a measurement that I have found for anger increase but I know it has gone up.
The anxiety, anger, and depression have increased marital, and job-related hostilities.
There is fear of sickness, death, job loss, financial insecurity in general, destruction of families
We can easily blame the media, we can blame the politicians making horrible decisions, some have blamed President Trump, and others have blamed God
While it is cathartic to blame others and there is much to blame it does not get us to healing or bring healing to others
We are called to be light-bearers, hope bringers, life givers, we are called to be the peace in every storm, the light in the darkness…how do we get there especially when we are surrounded by all of this negativity…These things we are called to be are all calls on our life from God so we can trust he will meet us in them.
He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. 30 Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. 31 But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.
God gives us the power as we draw closer…let me give you His word to hold onto that will help give you that power.
In order to overcome we must be serious about our faith. Thankfully for many in this church, COVID did just that, we began to pray more, be in the word more ( I watched the numbers of people who were reading the daily Bible passages grow as the year went on), commit to being with the fellowship.
This year let’s be bold and stand on His word aggressively and let’s grow in power as we do
- Proverbs 14:30 A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones.
- Proverbs 17:22 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.
Want to have a healthy body, mind, and spirit live in peace don’t look at other people with envy or jealousy know that God loves to give good gifts to his children…choose this year to be at peace…Isaiah 26:3
You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.
What are we trusting God about? He will care for us, he will supply everything we need, he will protect, lead guide and cause us to be a success.
We have to decide in a world of depression, anxiety, stress, fear, suicide, drug overdoses, and hopelessness to even choose to be cheerful!
What? How can we be cheerful in all the chaos?
If we stop in the middle of the chaos and look for Him we will find him and he will remind us of who he is, what he can do, what he has already done for us and what he will do if we trust him..when we break trust with the Lord it breaks our spirits, depression kicks in, worry and anxiety take control, fear, anger rage
Once again I know we have lots to be angry about but throwing out our anger doesn’t solve anything from a place of peace we can see the reality of what we are facing and deal with it successfully making wise Holy Spirit driven decisions that lead to healing, deliverance, hope and freedom.
How do we stop in the middle of the chaos? Paul gives us that answer with 4 verses
- Philippians 4:6,7 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Let’s look at the bold steps we need to take to stay mentally and emotionally healthy based on these two verses.
- Don’t worry about anything!!!! Can you imagine that choosing every day to not worry? How is that possible? Paul gives us the answer… pray about everything
Paul is making the assumption here that we have such a good relationship with the Lord that we know to just talk to him always, talking to him as a friend and the one who loves us the most.
What difference does that make?
- If we have an on-going relationship with him we know if there is some hinderance to our getting our prayers answered, he will tell us,
- if there is something else God wants to do, he will direct us
- as we read earlier it is putting our minds our emotional and mental center directly on him and peace immediately floods us….folks this is real and if you haven’t experienced it allow me to challenge you to try it.
- From that place we have open conversations with God knowing full well that He is listening and God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble so always have and attitude of gratitude
We must acknowledge that we are in a battle, we battle the enemy for sure but our greatest enemy is our own flesh and it easily robs us of who we are, who God calls us to be and this battle rages on mostly in our mind
- 2 Corinthians 10:4,5
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
Often we get hung up on the “strongholds” and we believe we are battling the devil and demonic forces but we are battling thoughts in our own heads, wounds of our past, sensitivities that cause us to forget who God is to us and for us….this thoughts cause us to doubt God’s goodness and love toward us. We doubt God’s word concerning our future, our provision, our safety…Random thoughts come from our past experiences, the way people have treated us, or the way we believe we have been treated or mistreated and this things bring down in our hearts and minds how much God loves us, the plan and purpose he has for us…convincing us that Jeremiah 29:11 and every other promise of God is a lie..
This year can be your best year yet if you quickly recognize these lies and attack them aggressively with the truth….stand firm, be bold be strong, don’t worry or be afraid but believe….how do we do this? How can we believe? Mentally we have to be prepared, every good athlete, soldier, businessman, prepares mentally to win
Do you want to prepare mentally to win?
Do you want to emotionally and mentally to have success in all you do this year?
Then this last step is a must
How is it that I know this stuff….two ways, experience of never wanting to live in misery, fear, anxiety, worry, or depression and most importantly study of God’s word
God talks about gaining that experience through these verses
My children, listen when your father corrects you. Pay attention and learn good judgment, 2 for I am giving you good guidance. Don’t turn away from my instructions. 3 For I, too, was once my father’s son, tenderly loved as my mother’s only child. 4 My father taught me, “Take my words to heart. Follow my commands, and you will live. 5 Get wisdom; develop good judgment.
Don’t forget my words or turn away from them. 6 Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you. Love her, and she will guard you. 7 Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do!
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
A wise man or woman can remain healthy mentally and emotionally by making mistakes, yes you heard me correctly…..but not just living there but learning from them and moving. The paranoia of failing hurts us so much it stunts our growth, it limits us from becoming everything God has called us to be wisdom is gained through the experience of both success and failures and a security, strength and humility as Paul tells us cause us to allow the holy Spirit to fill us and grow in blessing
But that is not enough because we have to pull that wisdom and the foundation of it daily from another source, the key source
2 Timothy 2:15
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
God’s word daily in our lives helps us to handle the stuff of life, guides us into understanding who God is and the way he reacts to life. It gives us the wisdom to understand the Holy Spirit’s guidance and helps us to learn from the successes and failures of others…but most importantly it reveals to us God’s great love for us and the world around us….
We must choose to;
Then we will remain healthy mentally and emotionally knowing God really does have it all and us in the palm of his hands