by Shauna Gallagher
Have you ever wondered why some people get through adversity with seemingly few scars, yet others find it difficult to come up for breath?
Have you ever thought to yourself, “I would never cope with that situation”, or conversely, “That’s nothing compared to what I’ve been through, they should be coping better than that!”.
There are so many reasons why we all cope differently in similar situations. We need to remember that each one of us is uniquely designed by God (even identical siblings). Comparing your coping abilities to someone else is a fruitless exercise. A more helpful exercise is to put that energy into building your resilience so that you can cope with adversity in a more helpful way.
Over the next couple of weeks, I would like to talk to you about six things that help to improve mental health, particularly looking at them from a Christian worldview. The first one I want to talk about is ‘perspective’, ie your perspective on life.
Have a think about your perspective on life. What are your expectations when it comes to the struggles you endure? Do you generally expect that life should be ‘rosy’ most of the time, with just a few problems along the way? Do you then become overwhelmed when it doesn’t work out that way? Perhaps you believe that big problems should only happen to other people. Or maybe you see the bad things in your life as punishment for things you may have done wrong.
When you think that all should go well and you should always be happy, then you will have feelings of failure, disappointment and perhaps even anger towards your struggles or God. The thoughts of, ‘this shouldn’t be happening to me’, or ‘I deserve this’ will similarly bring about negative emotions.
So, this week, let’s take a look at what God has to say about the struggles we have in life. Should they be happening? Or have we done something wrong to bring these troubles upon ourselves?
Here are some Bible verses for you to consider which may help to balance your perspective on the struggles you encounter:
- John 16:33 In this world we will have trouble
- John 9:1-3 Our struggles can bring God glory
- Romans 5:3-5 Suffering helps us to grow
- Psalm 23 Struggles draw us closer to God
The first verse seems to be a bit of a downer – promising trouble. But the good news comes in the other 3 verses…
As Christians, we want to bring glory to God – struggles help us do that!
As Christians we want to grow into maturity – struggles help us do that!
As Christians, we want to draw closer to God – struggles help us do that!
Coming to the realisation that we will have struggles goes a long way towards helping us accept them as a part of the big picture. In accepting them, it can help to lessen the anxiety that may occur. And lessening the anxiety helps us to instead focus on bringing glory to God, becoming mature in Christ, and drawing closer to God.
Change your perspective, build your resilience.
God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
Shauna is a Mental Health Nurse, author and speaker. She is very passionate about improving mental health through a Christian world view. Combining her career with her faith has helped Shauna to draw closer to God through seeing how intricately and beautifully He has designed our bodies. Shauna and her husband, John, have four adult children and two gorgeous grandsons. They minister at a church on the Sunshine Coast and are passionate about sharing God's love with their local community.
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