Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2016 Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry
Most people live according to their circumstances. You may want to rise above that trap but not know how to start. These 3 steps will put you on your way.
Set aside time for this exploration. Unless you are living by yourself, your home is full of the busyness of other people coming and going, and asking for your time. Of course, our homes have all the other distractions too – that table piled with things to do, cleaning and errands that call our name, escape mechanisms and entertainment, and more.
You’ve heard of the concept of the urgent taking over the important. Our mental and spiritual health can take a back seat to the clamor about us. Get away from the noise and other obligations for a designated length of time. Take a weekend retreat, have a friend hold your phone for a day, or take a picnic to a secluded spot. However you accomplish this, do it alone.
During this time, think about the patterns of your life. When have you been at your happiest? What tends to bring you peace of mind? What are you doing when you feel the most like yourself?
We may feel joy around a special person or wish for certain circumstances, however we have no control over other people’s choices or external events. Focus on your inner experiences and not on what may or may not happen around you. The point is not to erase relationships from this process, but rather to discover who you are apart from them.
Ask for insight. People who know you well and care about your future are helpful resources. Ask them what patterns they have observed. When have they seen you at your happiest? Is there something important they see you neglecting for the sake of the urgent? What aspect of your persona do they believe is most genuine?
Have a deep conversation with God. Don’t know how? Acknowledge he exists and is sovereign. We are his works of art and he is deeply invested in who we are. This is a relationship. He deeply desires to show us his unfailing love, and made a way for us to connect with him through the sacrifice of his Son Jesus. Start there. Then ask God to show you who you are at your core.
Write it down! Mark a piece of paper with three columns. In the first column list your current commitments. Family, friends, making a living, mental health, recovery, relationship with God, 8 hours of sleep per night, healthy eating and behaviors, and whatever else you know is necessary to your wellbeing will go in this column.
In the second column, write what you learned about yourself while doing steps 1 and 2. Who are you deep inside? What brings you joy?
The third column is for answering the question, “What is ‘extra’ in my life (not in the first two columns)?” Only list them without placing judgment.
Finally, you are on your way to setting those goals that fit! You get to choose what kind of person you want to be and what steps you can take toward becoming that person. Blockades to what you want may include changing how you make your living. Tough relationships may need counseling, or maybe it’s time to say ‘no more’. Long and short-term goals chosen according to these steps will benefit your relationships, increase your productivity, lessen your stress, and give you the most you can get out of life.
One Final Note: Avoid using pre-determined definitions of success and measures of productivity. Your goals are custom-made.
Today’s Helpful Word
The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.”
COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME (see tab below)
NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.
*picture from Kozzi.com