Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries
Most of us want to be the type of person others can count on. We hope we are a good friend, spouse, parent, and worker.
Life’s dramas and stressors sometimes overshadow these most important parts of living. Are you the person you want to be?
Think about your challenges with life balance, and with making positive and meaningful connections. Then ask if your way is working. If it is not, perhaps you would like to join me in trying a different way, one proven successful.
How Jesus handled his complicated life
One of the reasons Jesus could serve as he did is because of his boundaries. Jesus loved well and practiced self-care. Unless we embrace his how-to, we cannot expect to experience the effectiveness, freedom, and wisdom he did.
1. He knew his mission; do you know yours?
One morning, while it was still dark, Jesus left where he was staying and went off alone to pray. Later, several men went to look for him. When they found him, they said, “Everyone is looking for you!”
Jesus said, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages— so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” (Paraphrased from Mark 1:35-38)
Notice Jesus did not serve everyone when it would detain him from his priorities. He knew when to say yes or no regardless of pressure from others.
2. His getaways versus your getaways
In the Bible book of Matthew, we read an account of one of Jesus’ very busy days. As it was growing dusk, he decided to feed the crowd gathered to hear him preach. They had been together for three days and were hungry.
After he miraculously stretched a few fish and loaves of bread into enough meals to satisfy about 8000 people, he dismissed everyone and went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. It is recorded that shortly before dawn he came back down and joined his disciples. (Paraphrase of Matthew 14: 15 -25 )
Israel, where this took place, generally experiences dusk at 7pm and dawn at 6am. Allowing time for his disciples to pass out the food and to clean-up, it appears Jesus was in prayer for about 8 hours. This is how he re-energized, by spending time with His Heavenly Father.
3. Joy was his source of strength.
It was the prophet Nehemiah who encouraged his people to choose joy because it would give them strength to do God’s will. He said, “…the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8: 8-10)
Jesus came right out and said, “When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.” (John 15:10-12)
His joy was complete due to obedience to God his Father, and by giving and receiving love. Is this where you find joy?
4. Jesus’ choices versus your choices
John the Baptist was a great preacher in Jesus’ time. He was a relative of Jesus and a friend. He was murdered when they both were about 31 years old. When Jesus heard what happened, he withdrew to a private place, no doubt to grieve and pray.
Crowds followed anyway. When Jesus saw them, he “had compassion on them and healed their sick.” (Paraphrase of Matthew 14:12-14)
Jesus made room for service when it was inconvenient, setting aside his personal grief momentarily. However, this was not his only response.
5. Jesus held to boundaries. Do you?
Jesus was a celebrity, with clamoring fans from all over his country and beyond. Huge crowds wanted to hear him and have him heal their sick bodies, and ill sons, daughters, friends, servants, and other loved ones. Some wanted him to raise their dead.
Look at what Jesus did. He “often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Paraphrase of Luke 5:15-16) Sometimes he simply withdrew from the needs and demands of a hurting world, and made room for self-care.
You can see it is not selfish to balance your life. Not everyone needs you all the time. It is wise to weigh your priorities and pro-actively seek joy.
Today’s Helpful Word
***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME
NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.