I woke up to a phone call about a Nationwide strike in Nigeria and my greatest fear was confirmed. The Electrity Distribution companies had joined the strike. No wonder the power had been cut off.  Oh dear! Extra spending on Diesel and Petrol to generate our own power! Well there was not much that I could do about that. I still had to get my son to school in good time and then head off to my office as I had two deadlines for deliveries, looming on the horizon. (One for catering services and the other for tailoring services). I could not afford to delay getting to work. The traffic was light so I got to work in good time. I had a few minutes to hop on to WhatsApp and lo and behold! there were so many conversations going on about the strikes. I thought to myself that those conversations would not change anything. So I tuned off and got to work. A colleague of mine told me that one of her children in a public school was sent back home. But that did not stop her from coming to work. She found a way.

I realised that some people would fearfully stay back at home because of the Strike while others would go out and look for opportunities that would present themselves at a time like this.

Then a scripture came to my mind and I found it in Ecclesiastes 11:4. “He who watches the wind [waiting for all conditions to be perfect] will not sow [seed], and he who looks at the clouds will not reap [a harvest]. Ecclesiastes 11:4 Amplified 

There is no perfect situation anywhere. If we were all to sit around moping and lamenting our predicament as citizens of our nation, a lot of good things will pass us by. We must be careful and mindful about focusing on things that have the potential to distract us. Our mental health is to be taken seriously. Each time we are fixated on a problem, it does us no good at all.

Jesus knew that things like this would happen in the world and He warned us ahead of time. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV Jesus is saying there will be trouble in the world. So it is nothing new. Jesus told us to take heart! To take heart means to be courageous, hopeful and determined. We must not be dejected or be in low spirits because of current situations that are subject to change.We need to be at peace and all the peace we need is in Jesus.

In the book of Proverbs, we have been told to “Guard our hearts above all else because out of it are the issues of life”. So I came by this great translation that I did not notice before. Here it is: “Be careful how you think, your life is shaped by your thoughts.” Proverbs 4:23 Good News Translation

It is truly up to us to keep our thoughts or our hearts free from worry and anxiety. Let us stop standing guard over negative situations. But rather let us look to God being hopeful that whatever it is will also come to pass. If our lives are shaped by our thoughts then we better be thinking beautiful thoughts.

On one of the WhatsApp platforms I am on, there is someone that I observe keenly. Whenever members start analysing a current trending situation, that person just sneaks in with an advert of something they want people to buy. It always makes me smile. This is someone who has decided not to focus on problems. Can we all be like that too? It’s the best way if you ask me. And for believers, let us just determine to spend more time studying the word of God. Now that is absolutely the very best thing to do.

Let us not leave our hearts and our thoughts over to every negative opinion out there. Stand Guard over your heart being mindful of the kind of thoughts you allow to creep into it. By all means, protect your heart, your thoughts and by extension, your mental health.

A wise man once said : “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”