Mental Health

New Year, New Beginnings

“The Lord is close to the broken hearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”

Psalm 34:18 NLT Bible

Someone shared these Bible verses with me at church last Sunday. They spoke powerfully into my life, bringing me great encouragement as I recover from the emotional rollercoaster of the past few years.

During the past few months, God has been slowly removing some unhelpful commitments from my life that had been stealing my joy and depleting my energy supplies, rather than reviving me. I realised the stressful effects of this activity whilst keeping a food diary, when I would comfort eat on return from this activity.

For over a year, I had been testing God’s call to come away from this but due to family circumstances I needed to stay where I was to maintain some stability whilst other changes were taking place. Things came to a head when I was rudely awakened to the fact that I was seriously stressed out and was experiencing burn out. Realising this, I knew that I had to take myself out of the situation so that I could really look after my own needs and stop putting others needs above my own. To some, this may sound selfish, but as a carer it is often very hard to see your own needs as you are caught up in making sure the people you care for have all they need. I had to start prioritising my wellbeing, accepting my God-given limitations and stick to them. In his book, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, Peter Scazzerro shares that God has given us certain limits to protect and sustain us, and recommends taking a 24 hour Sabbath rest once a week, mirroring God’s rest from finishing creation in Genesis 1 and 2. For me, I’m trying to take this challenge seriously, although allowing myself time to stop doing chores around the house or other mundane tasks is proving difficult at times.

Silence and Solitude are becoming my new friends: I’ve started to use the Take Time Ignatian meditations to intentionally be still and rest in God’s presence and listen to His voice. It’s amazed me how much He’s had to say when I take time to be with Him. The reoccurring theme is that He loves me; allowing that truth to sink deeper into the heart of me is healing in itself. Also visualising Jesus himself holding me close in his arms and knowing that he’ll never leave me nor forsake me is key.

As I step out into a new season of new beginnings, I know the hope of God’s provision as I focus more on my writing. There have been some specific encounters, as I have networked, meeting new friends who share similar experiences and finding more balance in my life. I choose to immerse myself more deeply in God’s love and accept the good things He has in store for me.

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