I mentioned in my introduction that maintaining good mental health is a goal of mine. I believe there are many things you can do to keep your mind healthy, but the most important thing is to withdraw and pray, as Jesus did.
In reading through the Gospels right now, it’s amazing to me the sheer amount of miracles and wonderful things Jesus did during his ministry on Earth. The Gospel writers (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) were all close friends of Jesus, and they all testify to his supernatural powers of healing, intuition, and provision (He fed 5000 people with only five loaves of bread and two fish). It seems He was constantly surrounded by people – large crowds, the 12 apostles, small groups – that all needed His touch.
Another thing that the Gospel writers all mention is his tendency to withdraw from the crowds and pray. Mark 7:46 is one example: “After leaving them (he had just finished feeding the 5000), he went up on a mountainside to pray.” Luke 22:39 describes his “usual” routine of going to the Mount of Olives to pray.
Jesus taught us many things, but the thing I’m learning right now from reading the Gospels is that Jesus withdrew and prayed…possibly when He felt overwhelmed or when He was preparing for something big. (I won’t pretend to know how He felt but I can only comment on what the Bible says.) He even withdrew from his closest circle of friends.
How many times do we feel anxious or overwhelmed? Psychology Today cites that the average high school kid today has the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the early 1950’s. (see the whole story here.) With all the “noise” in our lives, I feel it is important to turn it all off by withdrawing and praying. I usually start my day off with a cup of coffee, my Bible, and a prayer to God. On days that I don’t, I often feel like I’m already behind and I’ll never get caught up, everything goes wrong, I don’t have enough patience for my own child, I’m irritable, and I usually make poor food choices. Weird how it all connects, huh?
On the flip side, how much better do we feel when we pray before going through a stressful situation?! Often we don’t recognize the stress as we go through it.
Jesus taught the importance of withdrawing and praying through His example. Let’s learn from the Master Teacher. Blessings to you as you make progress toward your mental health goals today.