My life outlook has changed with the truth of Jesus’ words:
My life outlook has changed with the truth of Jesus’ words: “The thief comes only to steal, and kill and destroy, I came that they might have life and might have it abundantly” John 10:10
These verses declare that Jesus has already made provision for me to live an abundant, overflowing life of joy, peace, victory and love. In reality however, we must confess that our lives fall very short of what Jesus has blessed us with. These verses also tell us that we have not experienced Christ’s fullness Living Abundantly in our lives, because we have allowed the ‘thief ’ to ‘steal, kill, destroy’ what Jesus has given to us. But who is the thief? Our flesh too often lusts after the world’s pleasures giving access to Satan into our lives. It is primarily Satan who is like a ‘roaring lion’ seeking whom he can devour. Therefore, we ‘feel low’, we are bitter and angry against those that hurt us, against God sometimes because we feel He has taken away those we loved, or He has abandoned us! We have no peace but seem to be tossed about with inner turmoil and outer conflicts. There seems to be no one who really understands us or even cares enough to listen to us!
We don’t need research or survey to tell us that today there is a devastating trend among the present day generation of children and also adults who are emotionally troubled, resulting in increase of depression and suicides, aggression, anger unleashing an outbreak of violence, eating disorders and drug abuse. Eminent psychologists maintain that these can be traced to our inadequate understanding of how the emotional mind works, and our failure to teach our young children (in schools) the essential emotional habits that govern their lives.
Our Love Bank
I learned to understand the many fascinating facets of our emotions through the insights that extensive modern research has yielded, in the book called ‘The Emotional Intelligence’by Daniel Goleman. It tells us that we actually function with two minds – one that thinks and one that feels. Our rational mind which measures our intelligence is our IQ (Intelligence Quotient), and the emotional mind which measures our feelings and emotions is our EQ (Emotional Quotient). In fact, today in the family and workplace, EQ plays a more important part than IQ. A person with healthy emotions relates better with others, is better able to cope with crisis and conflicts than one with a high IQ, low EQ. Our emotional balance bring us a sense of well-being, and happier relationships.
We all know that God created us as persons with our individual personalities. Besides our human spirit which is the core and essence of our being, He has also given us that invisible part of our personality which we will call ‘the soul’ which refers to three things:
The Intellect – that part of us that thinks,
Our Emotions – that which feels, and
The Will – which makes decisions and choices.
Then we have the outward physical form, we call the ‘body’.
So we have our spirit, our soul, and our body. All these three are closely interconnected. What affects one affects all. For example, if we suffer from a toothache, our minds cannot think clearly, our emotions are distressed and our wills do not function at their best to make any kind of sensible decisions. I believe that one of our major problems today is that we have fragmented our personalities, by giving more importance and attention to develop one and neglecting others. To become whole, we need to nurture ourselves as a ‘Whole Person’ just as God originally created us.
We all have what we can call as our personal emotional banks. We are constantly making, or allowing others to make emotional withdrawals and deposits. When someone appreciates us, we feel happy. They have made a deposit in our Emotional Bank Account which I shall refer to as EBA. When we receive a letter from a loved one, we get an emotional deposit. When someone does something that hurts, there is a withdrawal from our EBA. And when we begin to brood over it and allow negative thoughts and become sad or angry, there is a further withdrawal. When our EBA dips lower and lower, then we will tend to get depressed.
I would like to mention that men and women are wired differently. Several books have been written on these male-female differences. To understand these different male-female perceptions, help us not to take offense as easily as we do.
Those of us who feel depressed, can truly experience life in fullness that Jesus has promised, no matter what our circumstances may be. We build our EBA, as we learn to renew our minds from the old pattern of negative thoughts. As Phil 4:8 says we discipline our minds to think positively on all that is good and lovely. As our mind dwells on good things, then our emotions receive strong healthy and happy deposits. As our EBA overflows, then we make deposits also in other persons’ EBAs. We begin to experience ‘Life in Fullness’.
If you look at the life of Jesus, He was always making such wonderful deposits in everyone who came to Him with a need. Take the woman of Samaria, or the leper whom society treated as unclean and an outcast, and others who had cares and sicknesses came to Him and He met their needs. They came with a heavy heart, but went away leaping for joy and glorifying God!
Is not Jesus the same today as He was then? Come to Him in prayer, in your need, every morning, several times in the day. He will put in that emotional deposit you need. Yes, there is IQ, and EQ. But the best is the SQ-our Spiritual Quotient-our spiritual wellbeing which depends on how we nurture our personal relationship and intimacy with Jesus. Then with Paul we too can say: “But in ALL these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8: 37) Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!
Let us apply this to marriage relationships. Mornings are just chaotic isn’t it? Children have to be almost dragged and perhaps even yelled out of bed, breakfast has to be on the table on time, children dressed and sent off with their packed lunches, husband gets late, servant doesn’t come, your important documents are misplaced…and you can go on to mention the hundred and one things that have to be done. Most probably, everyone’s EBA is drained and depleted by the time they leave the home!
Can you imagine what happens when you go to your office? Your irritable spirit spills over to others at home/office, and your EBA gets further depleted. By the time you cope with all the demands and reach home, you are more emotionally exhausted than you are physically. This environment triggers tempers and arguments very easily. You say things you would not normally say. Or you may just pull the ‘silent treatment’, and try to isolate yourself to your own corner and hide yourself behind the newspaper, or in front of the TV! But the wife and mother, does not have the luxury to do this. She still has to prepare the dinner, see that the children’s homework is done, before getting them to bed at a reasonable time! Unfortunately,
only a few husbands share these responsibilities.
Suppose we understand this ‘Love Bank’ principle and the importance of making emotional deposits in others, then we can bring our inner spirit into balance through prayer. That is why it is important to build our spiritual quotient by being in constant touch with Jesus, who will help bring peace and comfort in our spirit, and into the situation throughout the day. How beautiful is the home where we can feel the warmth and love of a genuinely happy family! Yes, there may be many problems, hurts and sadness, and yet when Christ is at the centre, love, joy and
peace will abide.
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