This week during our daily devotions we are looking at what Jesus said about worry and stress. Here are some facts about mental health in today’s society:
We all have mental health – just as we have physical health
1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem in any given year
Mental health is indiscriminate – it can affect anyone
Mental health is part of our human experience
Mental health is the largest burden of disease – 28% compared to 16% for cancer and heart disease
30% of people with a long-term physical health problem also have a mental health problem
46% of people with a mental health problem also had a long-term physical health problem.
10% of children and young people (aged 5-16 years) have a clinically diagnosable mental problem
Women are more likely than men to have a common mental health problem and are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders
We all can suffer from stress and anxiety. Here are some definitions:
Stress – “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.”
Anxiety – “anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe. Sometimes there can be no specific cause.”
Each of us has an internal emotional reservoir. On the topside, there’s an input, and on the bottom, a drain. Certain activities will drain you more than fill you, and others will fill you more than drain you. Some tasks will contribute to you and others will take from you. Do as many of the things that fill your tank as you can. That is how you recharge.
The busier I become, the less time I had for activities that replenish me
What does Jesus have to say about all this?
An often quoted speech by Jesus about worry and stress is found in Matthew 6 v 25 – 32. It forms part of Jesus Sermon on the Mount.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.”
These are fantastic words of encouragement from the creator of life. Jesus gently points the worrier away from their own problems to their Heavenly Father. He then talks about the confidence we can have in our Heavenly Father and how we are valuable to Him. He talks about life being more than just things. This sort of thinking sets the foundation for the Christian when it comes to dealing with stress and anxiety.