The Bible and human flourishing
New Testament scholar, Jonathan Pennington, believes that a desire for flourishing, both individually and in groups we are part of, lies behind much of what we do as human beings. Across different times, cultures and worldviews, people have sought a happy, secure and meaningful life. Exactly what this good life looks like, however, and how you obtain it, is contested.
At the start of a new year—or any new season of life— it’s important to reflect on our own wellbeing and pay attention to self care. That’s why we asked friends who were part of our 10/10 video series on mental health (in October 2019) how they take care of their wellbeing. Their answers are insightful and helpful; some might even surprise you. We hope each will encourage you to take a look at your own strategies for facing the year ahead with a sense of wellbeing.
Delighting in God and His Word
Have you ever noticed this verse, “Delight yourself in the Lord” (Psalm 37:4) and wondered what this looks like? Delight means experiencing “a high degree of pleasure or enjoyment, joy, rapture, something that gives great pleasure”. If I delight myself in the Lord, I fill my mind with thinking about the amazing things he has done for me.
Connecting with others
Social isolation is not good for our mental health. Connecting with others in meaningful ways is how God has wired us. Healthy relationships in our church communities nurture our overall wellbeing as well as growing our maturity in Christ. New research has emerged showing the health benefits for those in our community who are socially isolated with few friends and few regular social activities to increase their network of friendships and social activities.
Being kind is at the very heart of God’s character. Chesed, the Hebrew word for steadfast love or lovingkindness, is a rich word which our English language struggles to translate. Kindness is one word that captures what God is like. Being kind is doing something for another without expecting anything in return. It’s the opposite to transactional.
Thankfulness is part of the DNA of a Christian believer. We are people who say thank you to God for his blessings in the past and the way he continues to bless us each day. The bible is filled with the language of gratitude and thankfulness to God.
Charles Spurgeon, a famous 19th Century English preacher, had a basement below his church where people could be found on their knees praying. He called this prayer room the engine room of the church. He said, “If the engine room is out of action, then the whole mill will grind to a halt. We cannot expect blessing if we do not ask.”
When was the last time that someone really listened to you? They were so attentive to what you were saying, they put their phone away, they didn’t step in and give you their opinion. They simply listened. And you felt heard and understood. What was that like for you?
But I have calmed and quieted myself
During the last 18 months, and in particular the last 100 days, there have been times when I have felt anything but calm and quiet. There are tell-tale signs that I am feeling stressed, discombobulated or out of control. What alerts you to a need for calm?