If you are like me, then you probably have not always made enough time to nurture yourself, simply because life gets so busy. There are aspects of my life that I do not compromise on, such as spirituality- I try to nurture a relationship with God as much as possible through the grace He has given me. I have become more self-aware and I am able to take note of what goes on with my emotions and mental state, these are work in progress and I continue to learn about the best practices. The other aspects of my life need a lot of attention and I am becoming more open to improving these.
Dr Revel Miller, a psychologist writes about how every human being has 7 aspects within them. These include self, behavioural, social, physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects. In his article, he mentions how it is good for each of us to assess where we currently are in the “wheel of life”. He also mentions that being aware will help us improve in the weaker areas. If this interests you, go ahead and read his article at the link below.
http://www.drrevelmiller.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/The-Life-Wheel-Article-1-14.pdf -accessed on 22 January 2021
In this blog post, I touch on 4 of these aspects, i.e. self, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Join me as I share my journey of how dealing with my spiritual life first led to improving the other 3 areas. Pray for me, as I intend to improve the remaining areas mentioned by Miller.
A few years ago, I studied psychology and so I have always had an interest in things related to mental health. I took a detour in my career path, which is far from psychology, but the curiosity about human behaviour continued to grow. I must admit though, for the longest time, my silent analysis was always towards other people and hardly towards myself. I think sometimes I got overwhelmed with my internal struggles that the thought of taking time out to make sense of it totally paralyzed me. Other people seemed like good projects to help refine what I have always believed is my natural gift and that is being a “born counsellor”. As great as it is to assist with some of the wisdom the LORD gives you, one can only go so far in life without paying sufficient attention to oneself. As an individual, it is vital to know that you matter, and are accountable to God for who you are and how you use your gifts and live your life, as much as you are accountable to being a light in other people’s lives. It is quite a simple principle, but I had hardly paid much attention to it until I realized that my internal problems seemed to be getting worse and more intense. I then had to shift the focus to myself and try and understand why my emotions and mentality was so affected. As Christians, we expect life to go more smoothly for us because we have a Saviour who paid a high price so we may live a better, more successful, and prosperous life. The reality is that trouble is unavoidable, none of us can escape it. Even Jesus states that we will have problems in this life, but we must take heart because He has overcome the world (John 16:33).
I experienced seasons of intense discouragement; the type that says give up. The type of discouragement that leads to constant complaining and nagging even when blessings are being ushered into your life. I knew that this was not your normal discouragement that we all go through, somehow it felt like a very heavy and dangerous spirit. It is almost as though you are in a very dark pit and there is no way of getting out of it. You can be surrounded by people but that soothes you for a moment because that overwhelming wave will come after you as soon as you end your conversation. I functioned well at work and on other projects/ ministries I was involved in and that led me to a state of confusion, thinking perhaps I could be imagining or exaggerating the “dark wave of discouragement”. I had episodes of this, that would come and go. Based on what I had learned in psychology and in all the other material produced online, I had to admit I had a serious problem, and something had to change.
After going through some difficulties in life, I decided to renew my commitment to the LORD Jesus Christ, I found that my life and what the bible spoke about did not tally. I needed the peace of God that the bible spoke about. I remember meeting an old man on the Gautrain in Pretoria most mornings, there was a peace that surrounded him that I could not describe. He was a pastor and soon became a confidant, he showed interest in my life and spoke so lovely about His God and the relationship they have. I knew those meetings were God-ordained. Although these were based on just 15-minute train or bus trips, they blessed me and created a desire for what this man had internally. There was so much confusion inside of me and I did not want to live that way anymore. What goes on inside of you, will determine how you see the external world.
I desperately needed change and I was willing to do whatever it took to get these discouraging moments of sadness and anxiety far away from me. I started to restrict what I listened to and participated in, limiting it only to the word of God (bible reading, regular worship, consistent fellowship with God, sermons, etc). Our ears and eyes are gates that allow things to take root in our hearts, if you listen to enough negative and degrading things, that gets stored somewhere on the inside of you. Your soul will start believing that as truth. I was ready for a new chapter and that is exactly what God gave me. It slowly changed my perception, therefore improving the state of my emotions. It placed a healthier sense of identity within me. I realized how much God loves me, and that He is enough for me. God became my Friend and an Encourager. His word has become alive in many areas of my life. I must admit, His timing and the way He does things are completely different to mine, and therefore I still experience some struggle with adjusting to His timeframes, but despite that I continue to see His faithfulness in my life.
When I started to grow spiritually, it spilled onto my emotional and mental states. I soon realized the changes I needed to make in those areas. Personally, I found strengthening my spiritual life made it much easier to deal with my thoughts and the emotions I went through. I learned to apply the word of God to my difficult situations through declaring scriptures over myself.
We all have different ways of coping and dealing with situations. I by no means am saying you should give up anything like I did, that worked for me but the same approach might not work very well for you. However, I would like to encourage you to assess the information you allow into your life, make sure that it is valuable and contributes towards your confidence and true sense of identity. What we allow in impacts our self, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects. Assess how you treat yourself, have conversations with yourself more often to find out what your soul is longing for. Many times, we get so caught up with the busyness of life, but neglecting our inner selves or our wounds may cause us more damage than good. Somehow when you start dealing with one of these areas, you become more encouraged to improve in the ones lagging. Take some time this weekend to look at where you are with the 7 aspects of your life. Remember, you do not have to be doing extremely well right not but being aware of the neglected areas will help kick start your journey of improvement.
We are all a work in progress. Your wellness matters, you matter, take good care of yourself.
“Behold, I will bring it health and healing; I will heal and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth” -Jeremiah 33:6