If you will lend me a few moments I will try to make it worth your time. I want to address a topic that is rarely discussed among Christians. Please allow me to introduce it with two experiences that I had last week.
Last Monday I had a nice dad-and-daughter discussion about life being made up of “different times.” We read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 — grab your Bible and take a peek at it — and were reminded that both good and bad times come and go. It was a rich discussion, and we discussed how important it is to learn to identify and appreciate each time for what it is — a passing season. If you are wondering what sparked that discussion, well, let’s just say that someone close to our family had hinted that crying is “bad,” and that one shouldn’t cry, ever. Ecclesiastes cleared that up nicely. Truly there is “a time to weep, and a time to laugh.” Especially with a teenager in the house.
The second experience involved reading an article on Twitter by @Desiring God about anxiety, OCD, and how Christians can deal with both (@Desiring God is a must follow on Twitter and DesiringGod.com is one of the top Christian resources online). Let’s be honest, few Christians discuss those topics. And, please don’t pretend that you do not get anxious or worry a bit too much for your own good, and know someone close to you that checks his/her alarm clock or door locks a few too many times. Sadly, we choose to remain silent during such topics. Now that we have that out of the bag, onward.
For those of you furrowing your brow in disbelief about how these two experiences can be interlaced for the good of humanity — O ye of little faith and scant imagination — have a seat, read on, and you’ll see. If you aren’t convinced at this point then go back to reading your current issue of Negativity Illustrated or Crusty Mind, Calloused Soul.
Here’s how the two intersect: each of us slog through seasons of life that are anxious, troubling, or blue. It’s part of life. Seasons of life are part of the deal, and keeping our mind and soul well-keeled during each of them is a consistent challenge.
Knowing and admitting that each of us Christ-followers has flaws, struggles, and obstacles let’s us latch onto a verse, begin to sort it out, and apply it to our lives.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV).
Frequent readers of this blog — stellar folks with fine taste I might add — have seen this verse before. It’s one of my favorites because it covers vast, rugged terrain in a few brisk steps. It shows us that God does not want to us have fear or anxiety. Not ever. God’s design is for each believer to continually know a sense of His power and enjoy sound mindedness (also translated as “self-control” or “controlled mind”). 2 Timothy 1:7 can expose and exterminate problems that exist between your ears, your mind and soul, you and others, and your use of time and mental energy. God’s Will is for you to have abiding peace and joy in life (see John 14:27-28 and John 15:11). Holding to this and recognizing that there are seasons in life that rise and fall, stride and stagger, helps you to appreciate that those times are temporary. This enables you to view your thoughts, attitudes, patterns, and life in view of the light of God’s truth. It is in His light that we see light (Psalm 36:9 and 119:130), especially during dark days.
In closing, as you go through tough seasons in your life please know that:
- Other Christ-followers go through the same things.
- There is a connection between the tone of the mind and the timbre of the soul, bath yourself in God’s Word. Both mutually benefit from it.
- There is no reason to be silent about it. In the New Testament we are commanded to encourage, pray for, lift up, and help one another. (I happen to know a Bearded Acorn working on a book manuscript about the “one another” commands in the New Testament. Nice teaser, eh!)
Many Christians, and churches, lean away from discussing blue, jittery, or unsettled aspects and seasons of life. That is a shame, and a bit of a sham. Someone that you know is currently going through one. Acting as if you haven’t struggled in a similar way is poorly disguised Pharisee-ism
Because of what we have covered in these few paragraphs please set your mind on easing the mind and soul of someone else this week. As God’s compass has steadied your ship during tempestuous times you then are able to offer safe harbor for others.
“But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 7 and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you …”2 Corinthians 7:6-7a
Did you catch that? God comforts us so that we can comfort one another. There is mutual relief and restoration in sailing alongside a fellow believer. Pull up the anchor, set your course toward a small boat rocking on the waves, secure them to your ship, and help them to the harbor…