Luke 10:41 - “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things.”
Do you ever feel like you’re being put down when others accuse you of being worried all of the time when in fact, you’re just being cautious?
This can include trying new prescriptions for mental health issues. We may have had bad reactions in the past and are cautious about trying new medications. This is a valid concern and not just being worried about trying them.
Let’s take a look at the difference between being cautious and worried from Merriam-webster.com:
Cautious – Careful about avoiding danger or risk.
Worried – Mentally troubled or concerned; feeling or showing concern or anxiety about what is happening or might happen.
As you can see, being cautious is not the same as being worried. When deciding if you should follow a course of action, it’s important to weigh all of the pros and cons to see if there is any danger by following it. A certain amount of danger or risk happens if we take a step into new territory. But it doesn’t necessarily mean we are showing excess worry.
In fact, there are more risks worrying yourself sick over what may never happen even if you feel they will. Doors that were open can be shut to you, because you didn’t act when the time was right, but waited and then it was too late. The door slammed shut.
On the other hand, if you are cautious, you may find that it’s not in your best interest to walk through an open door. However, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to get upset about it. We aren’t always supposed to walk through an open door.
So how do we know if we’re being cautious and are examining our options, or are worried about something going wrong when it may never happen? Here’s some tips on making life decisions on psychologytoday.com in their article, “How to Mindfully Make Important Life Decisions.” Their tips include slowing down, unless it is an emergency, and reflect on your priorities, your goals and your values; and, accept that making important decisions can be hard because they have lasting consequences.
When you’re tempted to go into worry overload because you don’t know if you should move in a certain direction, remember that even Jesus pointed out to a woman in the Bible named Martha, who was worrying about all of the little details of preparing a meal, instead of doing what her sister Mary was doing and listen to what Jesus had to say. We can be like Martha if we’re not careful. Look at the facts in front of you and take them to God before making a decision. He can help us realize that if he’s placed a decision in front of you, he is capable of helping you weigh the risks and use caution instead of just worrying and not taking action.
Luke 14:28 - Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?
Some people approach a problem and before they move forward they first see if they have the resources and if they can solve it by themselves. All the outcomes and procedures they know may indeed lead them to the answers, thus allowing them to complete the task; but they must be sure they must first look at what it will cost them to complete in both time and money. Then a decision can be made.
Second, if the task is more than they are trained for and have experience in, they may decide they cannot complete it by themselves and must ask for help. The cost for this choice may involve hurting their pride a little, but seeking help may actually show the willingness of an individual to join in partnership with others and find they can solve the problem together.
Unfortunately there is a third approach that’s possible. This group of people will never “stoop so low”, to ask for help. They would rather watch the problem grow in intensity thus causing other problems to pop up that they hadn’t seen coming. So they try to prove they can find the solution, but in the process they use up resources they which were meant for another task to be completed. And so they fail in completing the current task and also the one that was to be done in the future. If they had only counted the cost first, they may have succeeded.
There is one more approach that many choose. They decide to do nothing. They have counted the cost, but are too afraid to try to solve the problem on their own. And they won’t ask for help because in doing so they feel that they may look incompetent to not only solve this problem, but are also unable to do their job.
Which group do you fall into?
No matter what your choice is remember that there is always going to be a cause and effect as a result of your decision. You must count the cost, because it includes not just the time and finances it takes to get the job done, but also the emotional cost and how it can affect our well-being.
As I mentioned above, when you find yourself in need of help, in asking for it, you may feel like you’re less than competent or your pride gets bruised. These costs may seem minimal, but as one project follows another, doubts about yourself can lead to depression and anxiety. We can become afraid of what will happen to us.
If we have someone to cheer us on, our depression and anxiety can be set aside and the new goal acted upon. But if those around us tell us that we can’t complete it our well-being takes a downward turn.
How do we count the cost to our emotional well-being when decisions have to be made? Take a look at Harvard Business Review’s (hbr.org) article, “Don’t Let Emotions Screw Up Your Decisions.” In the article it discusses how our feelings can offer relevant and important feedback about a decision, but irrelevant emotions triggered by a completely unrelated event can take us off track.
A decision always comes with an emotional cost. But if you take that decision to God, just as the Bible verse above states, he can help you sit down and estimate the cost and help you take the best course of action.
1 Samuel 16:23 - Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.
Music has the ability of releasing emotions that are locked up in the hidden places of the heart.
If you’ve had a great day and are heading home from work a song can come on the radio and all of a sudden you’re belting out your lungs singing along with the song.
If you’ve had a day that everything went wrong, a song can come on the radio that helps you remember other days when things went well. It helps to put your bad day in perspective.
If you’ve had a day when your heart is breaking over a relationship that’s gone wrong whether it is a close friend or a family member when a certain song comes on the radio you can find yourself brought to tears.
If you’ve had a day when someone you know got away with something and you were accused of being the one who messed up instead of your co-worker, a song can come over the radio that is loud, pounding music which can cause you to feel the intensity of your anger as you scream at the radio and kick the garbage can over.
If you’ve had day when everything reminded you of the resent loss of a parent, a song can come on the radio that reminds you of them and your heart grieves all over again.
Songs can indeed bring up hidden emotions and those waiting to burst out on the surface. But it’s not always bad to scream your lungs out during a song or burst out into tears.
Music has the ability of bringing healing to your heart that few other ways will do. This healing isn’t the kind that just brushes past you, but the kind that brings your bucket of emotions to be lowered into a well of never ending music to calm the soul.
There are ways that you can expedite bringing music into your day other than waiting for a certain song to come on the radio. You can purchase CDs that you know can help heal your wounds. You can also download songs from your favorite artists whose songs have lent that healing balm to the wounds that lay within your heart.
Mindbodygreen.com has an article titled, “6 Ways Music Can Heal You,” that discusses the power of music and how it can affect your body and mind, such as music releases the feel good chemical called dopamine into the brain, and how it affects heart rate and breathing.
Even in Biblical times music had an effect on the one listening. An example is when King Saul had a spirit come upon him he had no rest. So he would send for David to come and play the lyre for him. When David did, the spirit would leave King Saul and he would feel better.
So whether it’s listening to music on the radio, CDs or downloads on your phone, music has the ability to make a difference in your body, how you feel and helps release emotions that have been buried deep in your heart and calms the soul.
Joshua 1:5 - No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.
We’ve all watched movies where the hero is blindfolded, thrown into the trunk of a car, driven out into the middle of the wilderness and dumped on the side of the road.
Life can feel like we are that hero dumped on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. We don’t know where we are anymore. The rules have changed. We’re alone. We feel abandoned. What do we do now?
Sometimes we’ve allowed ourselves to get so tangled up in our pain and loneliness that we check out on our loved ones and friends.
In our heads, it is them that have abandoned us, but sometimes it is our own doing that got us here.
With a mental illness, we see life differently than those who are healthy. We can view the world as us against everyone else. We may in fact have friends who are on our side, but we’ve abandoned our hopes and dreams, and picked up our fears of what the future may bring and how we will deal with it alone.
Those around us may have their hands reaching out to us, but we only see those hands as being palms out pushing us away.
The fear of abandonment is one of the strongest enemies our minds can face. It causes us to make choices that almost guarantee that we will be alone because of our actions.
Whether you travel the road of chronic pain or whether you’ve been captured by a mental illness we’ve all felt the fear of abandonment from those we care about.
How do we stop this fear and live our life within the safety of those who really do love us? Wikihow.com in their article, “How to Overcome Fear of Abandonment,” shows us what causes the fear of abandonment, how to work through those emotions such as taking responsibility for our fears instead of blaming them on everyone else, how to question whether your thoughts make sense, and identifying any behaviors that push others away.
It is possible to stop being afraid of yet another person abandoning us and become stronger in reaching out to create new relationships. In the meantime, remember that God will never abandon us of forsake us. He will always love us and walk through our struggles with mental health and the fears that can stem from them.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.