Thanks to the Corona pandemic many people have gone through major adjustments to their life and here in Japan the subject of mental health became more prominent. However, there is a branch of mental health which is often overlooked—and that is emotional health. This can be described as the ability to express and regulate emotions in a healthy way, as well as the capacity to cope with stress, build healthy relationships, and experience positive emotions such as joy and contentment.¹
Integrating emotional health with our Christian lives is something we should all aspire to, and few people put it better than author Peter Scazzero who describes the “emotional adult” in his book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. I like this description of how an emotional adult thinks and acts:
“I can respect and love others without having to change them. I do not expect others to meet my physical or relational needs. I can love people for who they are.
I take responsibility for my thoughts, feelings and behaviors. I don’t fall into the blame game when things go wrong and I try to be aware of how others are affected by my words and actions.
I am aware of my limitations and can freely discuss things with others. I can say no without feeling guilty. I am deeply convinced that I am absolutely loved by God and that I have nothing to prove to others”.²
Being emotionally healthy allows us flourish as truly rested and secure human beings who reflect the nature of our creator God, both in ourselves and in others. It can also be a powerful means of communicating the holistic love of God with the people of Japan, many of whom struggle with interpersonal issues in a complex cultural setting. Each one of us can contribute in some way to bringing both the gospel and emotional health to the mission field in Japan; will you not allow God to speak to your heart in this area?
By Silas, an OMF Japan “friend”
- ChatGPT, accessed Apr 7, 2023
- Paraphrased for a lecture by Dr Linda Bubod, School of Counselling, Singapore Bible College, used with permission.