The ABCs of Building Mental Strength

I'm the kind of person who likes to prepare for things. While I recognize I cannot
prepare for everything, there are certain things I can prepare for with a little
forethought and a little elbow grease.

We have been going through difficult times these past two years and it looks as
though difficult times will continue to increase. Between food shortages being
predicted, tyrannical governments wanting to control our access to gas, electricity,
and freedom to move about the world, we see very challenging times ahead. Let me hasten to say, that God is control and He will provide for and help those who trust in Him and call upon Him as Lord and Savior.

Because of my history as a licensed mental health therapist, I am always interested in helping people (myself included) prepare mentally for difficult situations. There is
quite a bit of research that has given us information about what kinds of things
survivors do to help them survive very challenging times (prisoners of war, holocaust survivors, etc.).

In today's newsletter, I want to give you the "ABCs" of how to build mental strength for difficult times that may come. I need to give credit to Amy Morin, an author who
wrote an article about this topic - she did a brilliant job of distilling this topic down
to three main points.

A - Accept reality. Accepting reality does not mean agreeing with what is going on, it just helps you to decide how to respond. Accepting reality is about seeing what is
within your control and how to proceed. An example of this is the driver who accepts the reality that they are stuck in slow-moving commuter traffic for a couple of hours. They can choose to listen to a podcast, worship music, or pray out loud to God to help the time pass. If the commuter wants to fight reality, they will sit in their car and fume and stew, which does nothing but add to their stress levels. God's Word also reminds us that accepting reality, and remembering He is in control is
important: “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I
make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I
say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ . . . What I have said,
that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do.” Acceptance recognizes that the Almighty God who spoke these words is still in

B - Behave productively. The choices we make when we are faced with a difficulty
will determine how quickly we will find a solution. Ask God to show you the next
action step to take and then ask yourself, "what is one thing I can do right now to help in this situation?" Whether productive behavior involves facing fear or doing something you don't want to do, take action.

1 Peter 1:13 says, "Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-
minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation
of Jesus Christ."

C - Control upsetting thoughts. Your mind can be your biggest asset or your biggest enemy. If you believe your negative and limiting thoughts, it will prevent you from reaching your potential in the situation. Don't allow a thought like,"I can't stand one more minute of this" or "This will never work out," to run unchecked through your mind. Instead, subject your thoughts to Christ and let Him renew your mind, then talk to yourself as you would a beloved friend.

Philippians 4:8 says, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if
there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these

Building mental strength before you're strong is the only way to do it. Just like
building muscle strength requires flexing your muscle to lift the weight, you must flex your mental muscle by going through difficult times with intentions to build mental strength. Start building mental AND spiritual strength now and do it daily. Read God's Word daily, pray without ceasing, discipline your thoughts, and visualize yourself being able to meet difficulties head on, with God's help.

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