Sometime back I heard a man sarcastically say, “I’m going to have a nervous breakdown. I’ve worked hard for it. I deserve it. I’m going to have it!” After 50 plus years in ministry, I have witnessed many mental and emotional meltdowns. If you are like the man just mentioned and are set on having a breakdown, I have some tips to help you on your way:
- Worry about trying to find the answer before the problem arises. Worry about tomorrow. Our imagined fears are likely to be larger than the real thing. Most imagined problems never occur. It’s worry that wears us out. So, worry about the future.
- Wish things had been different. A poet once said, “Of all the words of tongue or pen, the saddest of these is – it might have been.” Worry about the past you cannot change. Fret and feel guilty about yesterday; or, you may go the opposite direction and exalt the past. Make it so much better than it really was that you don’t want to live in the present. So, worry about the past.
- Delay decisions that need to be made, at least for today. Put off decisions, especially spiritual ones, as long as possible. Put off making up your mind until things are so confused that the best decision is no longer possible. So, be indecisive.
- Demand more of yourself than you can possibly produce. Be a perfectionist. To do less than your best is to do nothing at all, but to impose on yourself demands beyond your ability will hasten self-destruction. Unrealistic demands will help your self-esteem to crumble. So, make demands on yourself you cannot meet.
- Always believe the worst. Any time there are several possibilities, believe the worst. Look for the most distasteful and hurtful choice. Believe the worst you hear about others. Question the motives of friends and family. Let your imagination run free. So, believe the worst.
If you follow the tips above, you are well on your way to a nervous and spiritual breakdown. If, on the other hand, you would rather have peace of mind both mental and spiritual, and are willing to follow God’s word, I have a few tips to help. (All scriptures used in this devotional are from the New Century Version.)
- What should you do regarding worry about tomorrow? Jesus said (Matthew 6:25-27), “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you put on. Is not life more than the food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” A few verses later, Jesus gave the following advice, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow…”
- What can you do about wishing that things had been different? The Apostle Paul had the answer (Philippians 3:13) : “..but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
- What can you do about delays in making necessary decisions? Joel 3:14 gives these words, “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.” This statement refers to the option before people to continue toward a certain fearful judgment or to turn to God in repentance. The advice of Joshua is powerful: “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).
- How can you deal with the problem of demanding more of yourself than you can produce? Romans 12:3, advises a person “not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” The prophet Micah provides wonderful insight into God’s expectations of us, “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
- What to do when you tend to always believe the worst? The Apostle Paul has advice for you in Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brethren, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate (think) on these things.” Paul’s instruction continues for us in verse 9: “The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”
A final word from scripture (Philippians 4:6-7), “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
~ Brother Roy