Mental instability is sobering. It affects the young and the old, the rich and the poor, and males and females all over the world. Without a doubt the increase in the reported numbers of heinous crimes, hospitalizations and people I have encountered surely has more to do with oppressed social and economic times than with genetics. I say this because many of us have had a “crazy” in the family, whether certified or not. We know that this person couldn’t be counted on to hold an entire sensible conversation because he has “always been that way.” But now it seems people have more than just the crazy uncle or friend, at least that’s what I see.
Maybe people are more vocal about their instabilities, whereas in years past speaking about them was taboo. Or maybe I notice more people because there are few asylums where they can go and others who want or need short-term care don’t get it because they can’t afford it. Whatever the reason for the instability, God has called us to be level-headed; discreet and sober are the words given to women in Titus 2. This is a great call and equally difficult.
At first glance, the definitions for discreet and sober seem to be the same, with both suggesting having self control. But a deeper look shows the distinction: Discreet has more to do with discipline in terms of completing a task that you have committed to and sober would “involve the cultivation of sound judgment and prudence.” So God is calling us to do what we have committed ourselves to and to develop our minds so that we make good decisions, free from emotions. There is a definite connection between these words beyond their definition: If your mind isn’t developed to make good decisions, then you’re unlikely to complete tasks that you have committed to. A sound mind leads to consistent completed tasks.
Though being sober and discreet is difficult, this is what we are called to be so we don’t permanently end up in an institution or making and breaking commitments. God never commands something from us without equipping us (Philippians 2:13). So rest assured that stability in body and mind is something that you can achieve if you believe and trust God.
Copyright 2009 by Rhonda J. Smith