Studies have shown that an emotionally stable mother or father brings up emotionally stable children. I understand how difficult emotional stability can seem in the midst of challenging circumstances. The good thing is, God is not asking us to do this on our own, He wants to be involved and is very interested to help us out. During my years of single parenthood, I do not remember a day that passed by without my eyes welling and leading to loud sobs of disappointment, bitterness, anger and confusion. It was so bad that my eyes were blood-shot red most of the time. You could mistake me for an alcoholic. I was unstable and would break down at the slightest provocation – even from people who were not concerned with my personal circumstances. I constantly felt it was me against the world and I needed to fight everyone and everything.
Good emotional health isn’t just the absence of mental health problems. It’s much more than being free of depression, anxiety or other psychological issues. People who are emotionally healthy are in control of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. They are able to cope with life’s challenges. Being emotionally healthy does not mean you are happy all the time. It means you are aware of your emotions.
Here’s how God describes it:
“ A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22, ESV, emphasis added
The Bible also emphasizes the need for positive focus:
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy— think about such things.” Philippians 4:8, New International Version
Similarly, merely not “feeling bad” is not the same as feeling good. While some people may not suffer from negative feelings, they still need to do things that make them feel positive to achieve emotional health.
A single mother or father progressing through life while dealing with the feeling of rejection, grief and loneliness tend to affect emotional health. The results are sometimes devastating, and while many recover, there are those who go on carrying emotional scars with them for the remainder of their lives.
God never intended for us to stay emotionally ill, or to suffer continuously. In fact, one of Christ’s apostles put it this way:
“Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 1:2, New International Version).