In this ongoing season of Easter, it’s time for me to unearth my website once again and actually post something on my blog page.
You probably didn’t know, but I’ve been buried in work so far in 2021 here at home. My office has become a therapy room. I have been swamped with counseling clients on the Better Help and Sondermind platforms. Tele-health services are perhaps here to stay, a direct and rather positive consequence of Covid-19. I’m licensed only in Ohio, but demand for counseling has gone through the roof. I could not stand on the sidelines and watch, even in my retirement years, as people suffered from suicide level depression and panic level anxiety in their lives.
I’m seeing a large number of military veterans still suffering from multiple deployments in Iraq (one of the more irrational things our nation has ever done) and just a boatload of post traumatic anxiety and depression in general. The pandemic has impacted young people far more than I could have ever imagined. I see bright college and professional folks in their 20’s with symptoms of insomnia from fearing they might go to sleep and never wake up. Death itself is on the minds of those who once felt themselves to be invincible.
How our body, mind, and soul work together in producing good mental health is still, for me, a sign of God’s amazing grace. By God’s grace, I believe we are created in God’s same Triune image of body (Jesus the Son), mind (Heavenly Father) and soul (Holy Spirit). The soul can do nothing without the mind and the mind can do nothing without the body. But putting all three together in synchrony creates absolute miracles, if done in this precise order: soul to mind to body. Even healing miracles.
Sadly, much of our illness of body and mind comes about because the body acts to command the mind that then commands the soul. This poses the opposite of how God designs us to function. To me it explains both sin and sickness. Salvation and healing requires, then, a kind of repentance and reversal of course, a transforming renewal of the mind from one that takes orders from the body and denies the soul’s superior wisdom to one that instead obeys the soul in the work of restoring the body.
As noted in my book, “Love’s Resurrection: its power to roll away fear’s heaviest stone,” I view fear as our body’s default setting in matters that inform our minds. The body’s first touchstone in our mind is our brain’s Amygdala, our more emotional brain, which senses danger and demands that our mind decide a means of taking control over any feared object ….or person….in our path. This portion of our brain is already developed at birth and contributes to our survival by ordering forth stress hormones in our bodies to control our survival by means of fight or flight. However, opposite our body’s fear (stress) reaction is our soul’s love response. I believe the soul’s first touchstone in our mind is the brain’s Frontal Lobe, our more rational brain, which develops in late adolescence and early adulthood to capably differentiate between danger and difficulty, possibility and probability, the absolute and relative, and most notably between control and influence. My body drives my mind to take control over the “other” in my path while my soul draws my mind to give influence with the “other.” My mind is conflicted, caught in the middle, and having to choose whether to obey my soul or my body, or as Jesus put it, to serve God or mammon.
My general aim here on this page will be to write fairly concise posts bi-monthly, if time permits, on the general subject of how we can follow our spiritual selves in ways that de-stress our bodies. The primary learning objective will be upon loving more and fearing less. I will try and make my entries as interesting and relatable as possible. I will hope to offer a fresh perspective with each post; one that exists outside the box. Given that “the box” and “our comfort zone” are typically one in the same, I can almost promise that my role here will at times serve as antagonist.
If you’d care to follow along or share with others, I’d be pleased and certainly motivated to continue the work of writing. Meanwhile, my new book, “Redeeming Gethsemane: when our age of loneliness meets a woke church,” is one I’d be happy to mail you upon request (only $15 and free postage if paid by check) if you would consider then joining me for a Zoom book discussion I would lead for six weeks this summer. Here are two reviews you might consider:
“Redeeming Gethsemane relates real life experiences to scripture to overcome loneliness and challenges us to wake up and live out the Gospel. Dan Held skillfully weaves these experiences to make the scripture come alive in new ways. A great study book!”
-- Donald L.Hayashi, past Associate General Secretary, General Council on Ministries of the United Methodist Church
"Dan Held offers an antidote to loneliness: hope. Using Gethsemane, the stories of Scripture, and the words of Jesus, Held paints a portrait of renewal desperately needed today. As a bonus, discussion questions make the book ideal for group study. Gethsemane gives hope!"
-- Thomas Jay Oord, author of The Uncontrolling Love of God and numerous other books