Emotional Wellness

New Harmony: Emotional Butterflies!

Reading time: two minutes. I'm not a regular watcher of the Hallmark Channel.  Not my thing, really, although I think I understand why their movies are so popular.  People love a "feel good happy reunion at Christmas" story.  Families are split apart, best friends have a falling out, then the "Christmas miracle" happens and happy endings abound.  Mistletoe, eggnog all around, fade to commercial. It's a little schmaltzy, but it's a story we love.  Reconciliation is a story that's at the heart of the Christmas message of God's love and grace in Jesus.  Jesus heals broken relationships.  His loving forgiveness brings broken friendships back to life again, like newborn butterflies, dying and rising through repentance and grace.  Is there a relationship of yours that needs the Lord's healing touch this Christmas?  Read More

Emotional Health in a Post-Church Era!

Reading time: two minutes. "Grudge" is one of those onomatopoeia words that sounds like what it means.  Grudge.  Rhymes with sludge and drudge, but it's not as sweet as fudge.  It's bitter. Our society is turning into Grudge World.  Recent testimonials to Senator John McCain emphasized his increasingly rare capacity to disagree, and even to offend someone, and still learn to co-exist; even more, to live together in love.  His peace-making efforts with the Republic of Vietnam point that out. This age of bitterness and resentment creates an amazing opportunity for the Church of Jesus to give testimony to the core of our faith: forgiveness.  Read More

Emotional Vitality for the Long Haul!

Reading time: two minutes. There's an atmosphere at your church.  I pray all the time that your church would have that light-hearted, joyous atmosphere that reflects the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. I know that all too often, bad weather creeps in to congregational life.  A church with a tumultuous atmosphere hinders the mission and ministry of God's people.  Attendance drifts downward.  Decisions become burdensome.  Outreach is stifled. And church leaders, especially professional church workers, suffer. A good atmosphere in our places of ministry helps to ensure longevity of service both in the places where we are currently called, and in long, joyful, healthy careers in ministry.  So how do we keep a Spirit-filled, joyous atmosphere in the church?  Read More

A Summer Emotional Refresher!

Reading time: two minutes. I've watched a lot of cowboy movies.  Most of the riding around the range and roping cattle looked like fun.  The barbed wire jobs didn't look that enjoyable. There was usually a grizzled, sun-beaten old veteran like the Jack Palance character "Curly" in City Slickers mending the fence.  You'd see thick leather gloves, callouses, and a little bit of blood and sweat.  Maybe tears, too. Mending fences is really hard. Emotional wellbeing is tending to the mood of our relationships.  Some of my summer refresher suggestions have been on the fun side.  This one is tough, but worth the effort.  Read More

Emotional JOY in the OT!

Reading time: two minutes. If you charted the emotional history timeline of your family, what kind of a roller coaster would it depict?  Would you see the normal ups and downs of family life, the joys of blessings and the sadness of loss?  Or would you see more sudden and dramatic sharp declines of painful hurt and abuse? Jacob's family experienced the more dramatic and dizzying roller coaster ride that comes from more significant sinful behavior toward one another.  The story of Joseph and his brothers is an example of the kinds of physical, verbal and emotional abuse that destroys families and the family's individual members. It's pretty similar to a heartbreaking story of a baseball player I've been reading about lately.   Read More

Humility and Emotional Wellness!

Reading time: two minutes. Easter is joy.  Lent is our time of reflection on all that would steal the joy from us.  It's a powerful and important reflection.  The joy of Easter glows brighter because of the contrast with the sadness of Lent.  Lutherans take a lot of ribbing about the serious way we engage in the Lenten journey, some of it humorously self-inflicted.  We laugh at sayings like, "For Lutherans, every day is like... Lent!" We can laugh because we are people of joy.  We're Easter people.  It's how we endure the sadness over sin and the impending threat of death.  That sounds pretty emotionally healthy to me.   Read More

Your Pre-Lenten Wellness Retreat!

Reading time: two minutes. Ash Wednesday is just two weeks away.  This is a good time to "get your own oxygen mask on before you take care of others." We're heading into one of the busiest seasons of the church year, a time of extra hours, extra responsibilities and extra anxiety.  It's a season we love, because of the extra opportunities to share the message of the Savior's perfect love, His sacrificial death and resurrection. Which is a good reason for us to be at our best.  This week and next I'll focus on some of the preventive wellness practices that can help you to survive and thrive in this upcoming holy season! Read More

The Incarnation: An Emotional Difference Maker!

Reading time: two minutes. This might be an ideal topic for the beginning of a new year. I could look back over my many years and mark the best years and the worst years.  My rating scale wouldn't be according to how much money I made.  My income has been pretty steady.  I've traveled to some wonderful places, but fun adventures only constitute a small portion of a year.  Same thing with Cardinal World Series years.  Fun, but it doesn't make or break a whole twelve months. It's easy to identify the most difficult years from my past based on the state of relationships that were just not right.  One measure of emotional wellbeing is the level of the love and care, or the lack of it, in a person's life.  It can upset your emotional life for months on end. The Incarnation of Jesus is the key to good, healthy, loving, caring, grace-filled relationships. Read More

More Lessons from a Distance Runner!

Reading time: two minutes. If you hike the length of the Appalachian Trail in record time, you learn some lessons about taking care of yourself.  Karl Meltzer shared some thoughts about his 46 day journey, and I thought they were pretty helpful.  I'll cover three more today, and include our list so far at the end of the post.  We start today with Choose to be positive.  Fortunately for us children of the Lord, this is so much more than happy thoughts! It's the difference between Elijah and Silas. Read More

"You Might Be in Trouble If..." Emotional Edition!

Reading time: two minutes. How about a quick scan of the emotional state of our relationships? We're so thankful for the meteorologists who, by assessing the state of the atmosphere, helped many, many people avoid an even worse disaster in Texas and in Florida.  Relationships have an atmosphere too. Have you ever walked into a home and within a few minutes noticed, "Something is wrong here"?  It's hard to hide tension and conflict between people. Three warning signs of conflict in a relationship could include 1) a change of mood when someone you don't really want to see walks in the room, 2) thinking about a bad relationship the last thing at night and the first thing in the morning, and 3) a desire to see someone else suffer.  Let's take a look. Read More

Hurricane Recovery Edition: Self-Care Isn't Self-ish!

Reading time: two minutes. Our hearts and our prayers are with all in the Hurricane Harvey recovery zone.  They are far too busy to be reading this, but it's an opportunity for all in the caring professions to reflect upon the need for self care in times of trauma. Pastors and congregations in disaster areas are called upon to serve every kind of human need: spiritual, emotional and physical.  When the needs are so great, it's easy to become exhausted ourselves and thereby become unable to serve as we'd like. The Lutheran Wellness Wheel considers all of these needs.  Let's review the basics of self-care in times of crisis. Read More

Emotional Wellbeing for Churches in One Word: Rid!

Reading time: two minutes. What a great little word: Rid!  "Disencumber" is maybe more poetic, but I like the forcefulness of rid.  If it's got to go, it's got to go, so get rid of it. I'm referring of course to Paul's admonition to the Ephesians to "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice" (4:31). None of that can help a church.  Emotional wellbeing is about a clear, fresh, welcoming, joyful atmosphere among the people of God. How well are we doing at rid? Read More