This morning I was laying in bed reflecting on things. (I have been doing a great deal of that since this this latest episode of sickness.) And something that has been on my mind and heart for a few days now came back to the forefront of my thoughts.
And that is how much we allow into our lives which really shouldn’t be there and which (at first) may seem quite; normal, every-day, common, harmless and even innocuous and yet which aren’t harmless or innocuous at all.
As someone who struggles with mental health difficulties I am very much aware of how much effect a seemingly casual but critical statement can have on our thought processes. And certainly if there is one way of getting the voices and internal dialogues raging it is for someone to say something negative or unduly critical to or about me.
And how much different am I – with those voices and mental health issues – to any other person? Don’t we all have those internal dialogues to one degree or another? I have often concluded that in many ways the symptomatology of my mental health is but an exaggeration or magnification of what many folk experience.
So I am left asking myself, and through this post inviting you to ask yourself, are there harmful things that we are allowing into our lives that really don’t need and which shouldn’t be there?
Many moons ago I placed a filter on the kind of television that I would allow myself to watch. I became aware that certain genres and types of television had a very negative effect on my mental health. And even more than this, as a Christian I became convicted that certain things were having a very negative and harmful effect on my faith and my walk within that faith.
And whilst it is impossible to completely avoid this. And whilst I am not an advocate for completely wrapping children up in cotton wool or keeping them away from and even ignorant of any such dangers. I do believe that we should apply filters and be very mindful of such things.
I am a very firm believer that we bloggers need to be mindful and very careful of the content we put out there and so surely we should also be very mindful of the content we allow in.
In my daily life, I do not encourage (and in fact do all I can to discourage) bad language or cussing. Because I know how offensive it can be and I realize just how easily it can be picked up and become part of our every day vocabulary. I have even heard my son (as he and his friends approach my front door) warn them not to use bad language because “Dad doesn’t like it and will tell you off.”
And that is one of the ways that these things work isn’t it? What is acceptable or common place to others so easily and readily become acceptable to us and we fail to see the harm that they can do.
Let me give you two examples…
I use Facebook and, in the way that Facebook works, what appears on the walls of my friends and people I know regularly appears on my Facebook.
Some young people I know – even young Christians within my church – enjoy something called “vines”. Which seem to be very short and often very humorous videos that people have made and shared.
And many of these are indeed very funny and I admit that I have enjoyed watching some of them. Probably as much as the young people sharing them with me enjoy them.
But, if you step back for a moment or two and really consider what you are watching, the more you watch them the more you can see how they encourage or endorse bad language, poor and often harmful, and disrespectful attitudes.
And social media can do that can’t it? If we allow it to. It can take something so very harmful and make it seem “acceptable” even “fun” and “appealing” in order to bring popularity and to gain affirmation from our peer groups.
And not only can this be harmful to our self-image and/or mental health, and very much to our faith if we have one – which are in themselves bad enough, but it can even be life-threatening!
One such potentially lethal very recent internet/social media craze is something called “Neck Nomination” or “Neknominate”.
And this really has become a craze and is where people (very often young people) are “nominated” (generally by their friends and peers) to create ridiculous cocktails containing alcohol and other unusual and strange substances, and video themselves making and drinking said “often (as it has been proved) lethal” concoctions.
Numerous people have died as a result of this craze!
Because once again it is something which has found its way into the lives of our young people often through a need to gain popularity or obtain affirmation from their peers!
So I invite you…
Whether you are someone with good mental health or poor mental health. Whether you are a Christian or a non Christian or someone of another faith. Whether you are a parent or a young person.
… to take a moment or two to consider and reflect on the kind of things that you (and/or those you love) are allowing to enter into your life and to be very mindful of those “concealed entrances” that you may have allowed to open up in your life.