Last Sunday we began a series of study on Habits for Healthy Living. I shared that healthy living starts with healthy eating and healthy eating does not start in the plate but it starts in the mind. After sharing about Healthy Eating, I came across Dr. Daniel Amen’s book, “The Amen Solution: The Brain Healthy Way to Lose Weight and Keep it Off. In his book he talks about five brain types: Type 1. Compulsive Overeater. People of this brain type tend to get stuck on the thought of food and feel compulsively driven to eat. Type 2. Impulsive Overeater. People of this brain type have poor impulse control, get easily distracted and reach for food without thinking. Type 3: Impulsive-Compulsive Overeater. While this may seem contradictory, it is possible to be both at the same time. Compulsive eaters, for example, are compelled to eat and have little control over their impulses.
Type 4: Sad or Emotional Overeater. People with this brain pattern overeat to medicate feelings of sadness and to calm the emotional storms in their brains. They often struggle with depression, low energy, low self-esteem and pain symptoms, and tend to gain weight in winter. Type 5: Anxious Overeater. People with this brain pattern medicate feelings of anxiety or nervousness with food, complain of waiting for something bad to happen and frequently suffer from headaches and stomach problems. I am interested to learn more about brain types 3 and 4 as these two are linked with emotional health.
Today we will look at the importance of emotional health for healthy living. What are the emotions, and how many are there? What does the Bible say about emotions? What is emotional health? What contributes to Emotional Health?
I UNDERSTANDING EMOTIONS
What is an emotion? “A natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one's circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.” According to this definition emotions are natural. They depend on circumstances, one’s mood and relationships with others. Another word for emotion is feeling. Robert Plutchik created a wheel of emotions in 1980. He came up with eight basic emotions. Fear: feeling afraid. Other words are terror (strong fear), shock, and phobia. Anger: Feeling angry. Sadness: Feeling sad. Other words are sorrow, grief, or depression. Some people tend place depression as a separate emotion.
Joy: Feeling happy. Other words are happiness, gladness. Disgust: Feeling something is wrong or dirty. Trust: A sense of trusting and being trusted. Anticipation: A sense of looking forward positively to something which is going to happen. Surprise: How one feels when something unexpected happens. There could be other emotions attached to these basic ones.
II. WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT EMOTIONS?
The scriptures tell us that God made us as whole persons in his image. Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” This scripture tells us that both men and women were created in the image of God. Let that sink in for a moment; we are created in the image of God.
What does that image include? It concludes physical, spiritual, emotional, social, and intellectual, components or spheres of life. Healthy living takes all these five aspects into consideration. When we learn to engage, interact and grow wisely in those five spheres of life we become better people and the world becomes a much better place to live.
Many Christians focus growing only in the spiritual sphere and neglect the other four. When that happens their lives become out of balance and out of control. Pete Scazzero in Emotionally Healthy Spirituality notes, “Ignoring any aspect of who we are as men and women made in God’s image always results in destructive consequences in our relationship with God, with ourselves and with others.”
Therefore it is important that we look into all these five spheres when it comes to healthy living. Last week by talking about Healthy Eating I barely touched on the “physical sphere” of our lives and there is much more to talk about the physical sphere. Today we are looking into the second sphere which is the “Emotional Sphere”
We have emotions because God has emotions. Scriptures tell us that we are to use all our emotions when it comes to worshiping, and serving God and serving others. For example the call of God to the Israelites and later on emphasized by Christ to his followers. Matt 22:37-39 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (emotions). This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
The scripture tells us to use our emotions in loving God, loving ourselves and loving others. Our emotions and feelings are God given and there is nothing wrong with them. They are very fragile and can easily get hurt and wounded if we are not careful. Even when we are careful at times they get hurt by the insensitivity of others. Unfortunately there are so many people walking around in the world with crushed and wounded emotions. They are looking for healing.
In the last twenty years are so there has been a lot of awareness and study done in the area of mental health and emotional health. Here is what I found out. Mental health is your ability to properly think and process information while emotional health is your ability to appropriately express feelings. While these two are very different, you can’t have one without the other. The choices you make on a daily basis involve both mental and emotional processing.
With all the advanced scientific discoveries and technology in the USA we are dealing with more people who are mentally ill. One study tells us, “One out of five, which means about 42.5 million American adults (or 18.2 percent of the total adult population in the United States) suffers from some mental illness, enduring conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia every year.”
Think about how much money and the resources the US government is spending on research, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of these mentally affected people? It pains me to see so many people who are struggling in this area. Many are wrongly diagnosed and labeled and others are heavily medicated and can’t seem to hold their lives together.
Is it possible even in our church there may be several people struggling in this area of emotional health? Mental health and emotional health are real concerns in this country. Who can solve this epidemic level problem? Who can improve the overall emotional health of individuals, families, churches, the society and our nation? Only one person can and will, his name is Jesus.
III. JESUS IS THE HOPE OF OUR NATION.
Satan and sin have always caused such devastation in the world since Adams Fall. The Prophet Isaiah explains the nature of Satan and his final miserable end. Isaiah 14: 15-17, “Those who see you stare at you, they ponder your fate: “Is this the man who shook the earth and made kingdoms tremble, the man who made the world a wilderness, who overthrew its cities and would not let his captives go home?”
Literally Satan has imprisoned millions by attacking their emotions and their mental health and he is continuing to do so. Do you know why Christ came to this world? For two reasons; one is to destroy the works of the devil whereby to destroy Him eternally and permanently. Secondly to set the captives free. To free those who are shackled by emotional bondages and addictions and physical sickness.
Jesus is the hope of our nation. He can better understand you than any psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, and any other spiritual leader, why because, he has made you in the first place and knows exactly what you are going through. Jesus understands your emotional needs. The scriptures tell us that Jesus was anything but an emotionally frozen Messiah: He shed tears (Luke 19:41). He was filled with joy (Luke 10:21). He grieved (Mark 14:34). He wept at the grave side of Lazarus (John 11:33) He was angry (Mark 3:5).
Sadness came over him (Matt 26:37). He felt sorrow (Luke 7:13) He showed astonishment and wonder (Mark 6:6; Luke 7:9) He had an emotional longing to be with the twelve apostles. (Luke 22:15). All these scriptures portrays Jesus as one who had intense, raw, emotional experiences and was able to express his emotions in unashamed, unembarrassed freedom to others. He did not repress or project his feelings onto others. Instead we read of Jesus responsibly experiencing the full range of emotion throughout his earthly ministry. In today’s language, he would be considered “emotionally intelligent” a term popularized by Daniel Goleman.”
What is your emotional state today? Are you emotionally tired and weary? Even after being medicated, and seeing several therapists you feel like your situation is hopeless? Is anger taking control of your life? Are you afraid and feel sad? Are you depressed? Do you feel like giving up? Do you feel rejected by people? Do not lose hope. Jesus knows everything you are going through. He had been there where you are now. He is lovingly reaching out to you today.
In closing here is a hope giving scripture. Isaiah 53:3-5, “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” The wounded healer is here today and inviting you to bring your wounded emotions, crushed spirit and receive healing and wholeness. By His wounds you are healed. Amen
 Peter Scazzero, “ Emotionally Healthy Spirituality.” page 18
 Pete Scazzero, The Emotionally Healthy Church page; 75