Series: Wisdom That Works
Message: What a Life of Shalom Looks Like
Preacher: Dany Hernandez
Reflection: Mark Witas
Live Wonder: Zan Long
Live Adventure: Jessyka Dooley
Live Beyond: J. Murdock
Live Purpose: Kyle Smith
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Proverbs 3:1-8 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: “This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones” (Proverbs 3:8)
Folks who have their emotional health in a good place are generally self aware. They can manage the thoughts and feelings that affect their behaviors. A healthy person can manage stress and problems that are normal parts of everyday life. They have healthy relationships and they tend to like themselves. And then—there’s a layoff, a divorce, a child gets sick or leaves home, there are money problems or a botched pregnancy.
When these kinds of things happen our bodies can change. Blood pressures can go up, stomachs can be upset, brain chemistry can change so depression sets in. All of a sudden, a once happy and balanced life can take a turn for the worse.
When these kinds of things happen, we need a game plan, a good foundation, some wisdom to lean on to get back to where we want to be.
I’ve heard Christians say trite things to people who aren’t doing well, like, “If you’d just allow Jesus to heal you, everything would be better.” Or, “Can’t you just choose to be happy and not let those things upset you?”
People who say things like this need to be hit with a big Bible. On the head. Repeatedly. Ahh, that feels better.
There are certainly proven links between a healthy mind and a healthy body. Here are some tips that I’ve found helpful when going through a time of stress/depression/anger.
1. Find a person or a group of people who you trust with whom you can share your anxieties in befitting ways. Just getting things out in the open can help a person cope.
2. Try to live a balanced life of exercise, good food, good sleep, and healthy social activity. Any of these things out of balance can affect your overall mental and physical health.
3. If your problem seems overwhelming, seek out a godly counselor to help give you the ability to identify triggers and coping tools.
4. Learn to calm your mind through relaxation methods. Meditation, yoga, listening to calming and uplifting music or, sometimes, a walk in nature can help with this.
The wisdom listed above is not new. It’s just that sometimes we need a reminder of the wisdom available at our fingertips. I know that it’s easy for me to slide into unhealthy behaviors that do more harm than good to my mind and body. I need the verse above as a reminder that when I’m at my best, I realize that there is a relationship between mind and body, and when I care for each, I am more in tune with myself and with my Creator.
Recalibrate: Is there a part of your life that is out of balance right now? What plans are you making to bring balance back?
Respond: Pray these words: “Jesus, show me my imbalances and help me to give up what I must give up and pick up what I must pick up to live in harmony with your will.”
Research: Read The Importance of Having Balance in Our Lives by Amy Rees Anderson.
Remember: “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart” (Proverbs 3:3, ICB).
Mark Witas is the lead pastor at Sunnyside Adventist Church in Portland, Oregon.
With your child, sit in front of each other or a mirror and pull funny faces. Talk about how yesterday you searched using your eyes to see the small things and how interesting they were when you got up close. Hold onto your ears and talk about how you listened to each other, learned and heard when someone needed help. Use your finger to trace a love heart on your child’s back and see if they can do the same to you. Tell your little one that with every part of you, from your eyes to your ears to your nose and down to your toes, every part of you loves them more than they can imagine. Read The Best Adventure with your child and know that together we are God’s family, living the best adventure ever.
The Bible tells us to not lean on our own wisdom. How do you get wisdom? By knowing so many things and seeing so many events happen in different ways. God knows everything and He sees everything. How much wisdom do you think God has? All the wisdom! If you had to choose if you wanted to use your wisdom or a cat’s wisdom, which would you cho0se? What about your wisdom or a baby’s wisdom? What about your wisdom or your teacher’s wisdom? What about your wisdom or God’s wisdom? Where can we find God’s wisdom?
I don’t know where you are reading this from, but from where I am writing this (in Colorado), it is freezing right now! A couple of weeks ago the temperature was in the nineties, but now there is snow in the forecast. As the weather changes and the little snowflake appears on the weather app on my phone, I always think about how snow seems to make everything just a little bit messier and often a lot more difficult.
When it snows, it takes a lot longer to get places and even longer to prepare yourself to step out into it. Over the summer, if I wanted to go and check my mail, I could just step outside without shoes and walk to the mailbox with no problem. Now, to check the mail I need to put on wool socks, boots, a hat, snow goggles, mittens, snow pants, a jacket, and a scarf. I’ll go ahead and stuff a bunch of those little hand warmers in my pockets in case of emergency. And the mailbox is only a few yards from my front door!
OK, maybe all that preparation is a slight exaggeration, but there certainly are more steps in the process than simply open door, walk to the mailbox, get mail, walk back!
As the season changes from summer to fall, there are plenty of challenges when it comes to navigating the world around us. Solomon teaches us that the best thing we can do to prepare for the day (before putting on a snow suit to check the mail) is to acknowledge God. Whether it is twenty degrees outside or ninety, the first thing we need to do is stop and talk to God before we do anything else. If we do so, Solomon tells us God will “make our paths straight.” If your paths outside are covered in snow and it’s tough to see farther than a few feet through the falling flakes, fear not! When we look to God for guidance, no matter where we go He will keep us on the right path.
What are some challenges you are facing right now that you need help with solving? How might starting to tackle those issues by seeking God’s wisdom change how you feel about them? How might acknowledging God first adjust the outcome of those challenges before you start doing anything else?
“In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your path” (Proverbs 3:6). Does life always seem to be going well for you? I hope so. But chances are if you are human, it is full of ups and downs and crazy turns. My life has recently taken some crazy turns and this verse seems funny to me. “Really God? My path is going straight? It sure doesn’t seem like it!” But as I listen to myself whine, what I realize is that the only reason my life doesn’t seem to be going straight is because it isn’t going the way I planned it. We have to remember the very first part of the verse: “In all your ways acknowledge Him.” If we don’t make Jesus and His plans the number one thing in our lives then we will always feel like life is going for a crazy loop. That’s because life will never go the way we plan it. But if we remember Him and remember that He has a plan for our lives, we can rest in the fact that it is going exactly the way He needs it to go. So my friend, acknowledge Him. Look to Him when the path seems crazy. He is with you. And if you can’t see Him it’s most likely because He is carrying you.
Zan Long is GRC director for faith development for ages 0-17. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and serves at her local church in nearby Kellyville.
Jessyka Dooley is assistant youth director for the Rocky Mountain Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in Denver, Colorado.
J. Murdock is associate pastor at Boulder Adventist Church in Boulder, Colorado, where he focuses on youth and young adult ministry.
Kyle Smith is associate pastor of youth and family ministries at New Haven Adventist Church in Overland Park, Kansas.