Saturday, December 22, 2007
I have been involved in Pastoral Care and Clinical counseling for a long time. As you may know, the Mood Disorders of Anxiety and Depression are the most frequent emotional struggles humans face. Billions of dollars are spent on medications each year and billions more spent on lost time from work and home duties.
One of the myths about dealing with mood disorders says, "You must rest more. Stress is getting you down." That is not true. Facing and overcoming a mood disorder requires us to get out of bed and take a walk. It means we need to face our issues and work through them. But, we don't feel like it.
One of the myths about reaching the "age of retirement" is similar. It says, "You have worked hard all your life now slow down, stop entirely and retire. Don't do anything but fish, golf and rest."
If you have been a compulsive worker all your adult life that may sound real good. However, "Life without purpose is not worth living." Life without purpose is boring and dull and depressive.
Yesterday a friend told me about a relative who sued her husband for divorce after 53 years. That is shocking to me. The only thing I could think of was they both retired and stayed home all day in each other's space.
There are two major lakes in Israel. The Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. The name of the second lake is a give away about the situation. The Sea of Galilee is lush, green and full of fish. Nothing grows in the Dead Sea. Why? Because water flows into and out of the Sea of Galilee but it only flows into the Dead Sea.
Narcissism is a Dead Sea of salts and selfishness. Jesus was psychologically and emotionally correct when He said, "It is more blessed to give than receive." I don't mean compulsive, driven co-dependence but fun, energetic caring relationships that mutually build up all parties. Not works based on having to do but being based on a deep knowledge of God's grace and love.
The danger is withdrawal into self instead of abiding in Christ and relating in love to others.
Ps. During good weather, a group of us plays golf together each week at Sharon Woods. GOLF is God's Outdoor Loving Fellowship! We play, pray and pay for each other.