Recently, I read a book that highlighted the fact that we understand how to manage our money, our financial resources, but we are far less canny about how we manage our mental resources. It went on to recommend four steps to ensure a good ‘mental economy’:
- increase income of mental and physical energy;
- decrease or eliminate unnecessary expenditures of mental energy;
- reduce and eliminate debts of uncompleted actions – old feelings, traumas, etc.- that drain mental energy;
- manage available income (energy) wisely by investing in more healthy actions.
It struck me that this is the spiritual life. We increase our energy by ‘breathing in’ – we pray, take time to go on retreat, do mindfulness or other meditations – the Bible tells us to ‘Be still and know that I am God’. We also try not to worry – that is the command that appears in the Bible more often than any other. We work towards forgiveness, such that the past isn’t a millstone around our necks. Finally, we work out what our vocation is, we find out what gives us joy and energy and what part we have in doing God’s work.
Too often we find ourselves exhausted, trying to fix unfixable people or situations whilst neglecting the things that God is calling us to. Perhaps the words of the Serenity Prayer say it best:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.