Category Archives: emotions

Shame Prevents Your Independence Day

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness or Abuse  (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

photo of fireworks during nighttime
Photo by Miguel Acosta on Pexels.com

Negative self-talk destroys and paralyzes dreams.  Period. That is all it accomplishes.

Have you ever credited daily guilt and shame with pushing you to success? Not likely! Most of us can probably remember a time when those negative thoughts held us back. I fueled self-doubt and fear for decades by using words born out of shame. 

Shame can keep us from creating or achieving. Dreams die on the altar of negative self-focus.  I’ve heard the theory “fear of success” used to describe why a person with skills may not pursue higher goals.  How many of us fear moving forward due to shame?

It seems a type of dependence on people’s approval was actually a perceived need for permission to accomplish anything despite the shame I felt.  Anger was the superficial emotion, fear lay under that, and shame was apparently the real culprit.  It whispered each night, “You do not deserve anything good.”

I met a plumber who noticed a symbol of Jesus in my house. He asked about it, and when I explained Jesus’ loving plan for humankind he said, “I was a sniper in the Army. And good at it. There’s no forgiveness for me.”  Guessing by his age, he may have been in Vietnam. 

Self-inflicted wounds were bleeding this veteran dry of hope. I said, “The ground is even at the foot of the cross.” I meant that not one of us deserves forgiveness from Jesus and he does not ask us to become worthy of it.  His grace is a free gift. God looks beyond our false guilt and true guilt to embrace the person who comes in faith to him in the present. 

The plumber said with a sigh, “Yeah, that’s what my son keeps trying to tell me.” Then he left. 

Did you catch that? 

Read his last statement again. The only reason his son had to try to convince his dad of the best news of his life is that the truth disagreed with the man’s negative self-talk. Years earlier he had bought the lie that his actions made him unworthy.  

What we believe and whisper to ourselves is a strong chain when negative. As long as we are bound we are not free to enjoy relationships or pursue dreams.  We will not get over the past.  Today’s troubles will only add to painful memories and disappointments.

Is that what you want?  If not, do you need an independence day of your own?     

Independence Day is here for America. I want freedom too!  Fear of success, aka shame, has been holding me back again. It’s time to challenge negative self-talk and march forward.  

Today’s Helpful Word  

Jeremiah 29:13,14

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.”

**** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional, and speak only from personal experiences and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!

 

 

 

 

 

Moods are Moody

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness or Abuse  (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

man arranging his black necktie
Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

How many mood shifts do you observe in the following story?

You wake sensing all is well. With a stretch you begin singing the theme song of Snow White’s seven friends. “Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work we go…”

Today the new boss will arrive.  Assured you left early enough to make a good first impression, you calmly turn to the freeway’s entrance ramp only to suddenly slam the brakes! Traffic is at a standstill. With no escape, your mood sinks into frustration.

Your co-workers are exiting the morning meeting when you arrive. The new executive thanks each by name and gives you a quizzical look. Grateful at the chance to introduce yourself and explain your lateness, you step towards her, extending your hand.

Someone calls her name and she walks away. You begin to question your choice to get out of bed.

Hours later, your best suit is too hot. You felt successful this morning,  but by midday your mood is as soggy as your clothes. You have not yet met the new boss, and there is a paper jam.

Having maintained a professional demeanor and accomplished a significant amount of work despite the all-day battle against increasingly strong emotions, cleaning out the printer tips the scale. With a deep sigh, you mutter, “I hate this job!”

From behind a voice says, “You do not have to stay.”

Turning to see the same quizzical look on the boss’s face as this morning, your apologies begin.

So, how many mood changes do you see?

From content, eager, and happy feelings to frustration, disappointment, and anger, fear and hope end the workday. Keep in mind all the “little” emotions in-between such as the pride of a job well done, hurt over a co-worker’s comment, relief when the catered lunch is your favorite, and much more.

Moods had a moody day!

Good news is that moods are fluid. They change all the time. That means even the most difficult emotions will pass.

Whether you’ve held them in or worn them on your sleeve, moods are not constant. Give them time (and perhaps a good night’s sleep) before making decisions based on moody moods. Use your wise mind and accept that feelings come and go.

Today’s Helpful Word  

Proverbs 5:6,7

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will direct your paths

**** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!

 

 

 

 

Is it Safe to Tell God You Are Angry… at Him?

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness or Abuse  (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

person in gray sweater cover face
Photo by Jhonis Martins on Pexels.com

What do you think? Is it ever okay to tell God you are angry at him?

If we are angry at God, does he not already know?

The Psalmist asked,  “Before a word is on my tongue, you Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Is there anything hidden from you?” (Psalm 139:4-5)

Hiding emotions from this all-knowing God is as foolish as Adam and Eve hiding in the bushes after they sinned in the Garden of Eden. 

Perhaps you wonder,  I must not talk to God just any ol’ way, right?  He is God, after all! 

Like everything else in God’s kingdom, reverence is a matter of the heart.

In Isaiah 29:13, The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”

In the opposite way, we can have strong emotions and still honor God. Openness and honesty with God is not about telling him off without any fear. Reverence is not about following religious order, either.

In Christ we are safe to be vulnerable, and glaringly human with him.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 12: 28-29).

Someday you may cry for help in a loud voice, full of confusion. You may rage in fear or frustration. You may withdraw from God out of anger or shame. Perhaps you already have and wonder if you can be forgiven.

Jesus puts no limits on what we can tell him. If we do not come to him with our strong emotions such as anger, doubt, lack of faith, guilt and shame – how can he comfort and teach us or close the gap?

God knows what made my heart often fragile. He allowed those experiences that helped to create ruins in my mind. I could choose to blame him for not giving me a happy family, but He wasn’t passive.

He used injustice to shape in me a fighting spirit.
He used pain to teach me compassion.
He used loneliness to tune my ears to his voice.

Psalm 94:18-19 reads, “When I said, ‘my foot is slipping,’ your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”

What good will come of hiding? We will only lock ourselves away from knowing his love.

Today’s Helpful Word  

Hebrews 4:16 

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

**** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!

 

Perfect Father, Imperfect Dad: The Nature of Love

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness or Abuse  (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

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Difficult visits to see my dad increased from a few times per year to once a week after my return move to Ohio in September 2015.  He continued with put-downs I had heard all my life. Other than those, he basically ignored me. Soon, an unexpected call from the nursing home where 84-year-old Dad had spent the past six years, informed me he was refusing food and water and would pass away in two to three days.

Dropping everything, I went there immediately to spend those days with him. It was Christmas week.

He was unresponsive but could hear. Dad’s attitude taught me young I  was not good enough as a person, let alone as a daughter. In a whisper, I asked my other Father, the Holy God of heaven, to help me know what to say and when to say it. Concerned for Dad’s eternal salvation, my prayer continued, requesting that God would have a conversation with him before he died.

Sunday afternoon, the third day of vigil, a chaplain asked about dad’s spiritual story.  When I told him my father had long ago been removed from ministry, the chaplain responded with an idea I had never considered.

He said, “Your dad may have trouble believing he can be forgiven. Since he was a pastor who fell into sin, he may think he is not good enough.”

That evening I took a walk. Carols wafted out of the dining hall. Pausing to listen, tears rose for the first time. I would not let them go. There was no doubt that once they started, it would be hours before they would stop. 

Upon returning to dad’s room, I was met by such a force that I froze.  Recognizing the presence of the Heavenly Father,  I entered humbly and quietly. It was clear my prayers were being answered; God was having a conversation with dad. After several minutes, God’s tangible presence lifted. Dad breathed strangely and died within the hour.

I knew my Perfect Father had met with my imperfect one. Still,  I asked God if he would be willing to give me a sign to remove all doubt that dad had accepted his invitation.

Putting my fingers in the Bible, it fell open to Micah. My eyes landed on chapter 7, verses  18 and 19. “You [God] will not stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing unfailing love. Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean!”

In the end, grace met dad where he was and reminded him no one has to be good enough to earn God’s forgiveness. God delights, actually has fun, showing unfailing love to his own who repent. 

We are all mixtures of honesty and deceit, kindness and severity, faith and doubt. We do not have the power to love without fault, and that is okay because it is not in the “doing” that we experience grace.

At one point I said to my dying father, “Dad, all you ever had to do for me to love you is be my dad. All you ever had to do for God to love you is exist.”

It is nice to think of the irony- that God chose this oft-rejected daughter to show a stubborn and broken love to a dad who never had to be good enough to earn it.

Today’s Helpful Word  

Luke 11: 11-13

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?  Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?  If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”  -Jesus

 

**** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!

What is Covert Sexual Abuse and Why Does It Matter?

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2017  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry

baby children cute dress
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Children deserve respect. 

Children deserve respect for who they are at each developmental stage.

As adults our responsibility is to protect children from what they are not emotionally or physically able to handle. 

Covert sexual abuse is the sexualizing of children through a variety of means outside of actual molestation. Covert sexual abuse is harmful and can deeply and negatively affect a child’s psyche and worldview. 

This type of abuse can include dressing children to look sexy, exposing them to sex via television or movies, and discussing bodies in a disrespectful way. Covert sexual abuse is not limited to these three. 

I saw a father teaching his son who couldn’t have been more than 9 years old, how to check out a full-grown woman’s body and telling the boy what was good and not so good. This was done where the woman could hear. The boy learned that disrespect toward women is alright.

At the same time, the emotions of a nine year old are focused on pleasing dad. He likely quickly picked up on these lessons. Of course I do not know the end result for this particular boy. However, by sexualizing his son, the dad stole the boy’s chance to learn to like girls in his own time, and to set his own standards. 

I know of a teen girl whose father taught her to check out women’s bodies, and like the boy’s dad, pointed out what pleased him and what did not. Girls learn from their dads how to be with boys and men. This girl was taught that her value depended on men’s approval and of course, that approval had to be sexual. 

Covert sexual abuse can take many forms. It is always damaging. Sometimes it is traumatic. 

Jesus set the tone for respect of children when he said we adults must become more like them to enter the kingdom of heaven.  It is only when we take on the innocence of children, and the trusting hearts of children that we can experience the strongest relationship with our Heavenly Father.

Today’s Helpful Word

Matthew 18:2-4

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

**** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!

For One of the Least of These: Offering Living Water to Those Who Thirst

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse  (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries

A few days ago, my doctor’s instructions were to avoid food and water for twelve hours before a procedure. The food was no problem, but please – water!

If you and I go without emotional, spiritual, or relational sustenance, we will thirst.  People like us are thirsty for truth, hope, or a sense of worth.

Offering a cup of real water is one way to show a person he or she has value.  Kind acts carry a lot of influence. On a deeper level, taking the time to gain insight into a desperate person’s  experiences and thoughts will grant us an opportunity to speak life to their need.

Embrace someone who hurts. Show compassion to the confused. Speak gently to those lashing out in pain. This is like water in desert ground to them. I know because at one point I too was dying of emotional and relational thirst.  I am grateful for kindness.

Wise counsel pointed me to the real difference-maker, Jesus Christ. He does not use simple water or band-aids on the spiritually thirsty and wounded. No, he intended to die for our sins and resurrect to give eternal life to anyone who will believe. He had a serious mission. 

In your thirst, I recommend you allow God to begin the deep work of  change, hope, and joy in you by surrendering to Jesus.  Then your tank will eventually, like mine, be so full you will be able to pass on the living water to others who thirst.                                

Today’s Helpful Words

For [Jesus]  at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”       

Matthew 25: 37 

Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you … thirsty and give you drink?’  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers (and sisters), you did it to me.’

The For One of The Least of These series:

Feeding Those Who Hunger for Love      

Welcoming the Stranger      Covering the Emotionally Naked and Vulnerable

Visiting Those Who Are Sick         Visiting Those In the Prison of Addiction

                                                                                                                 

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

*Water pic by ROBBY_M of rgbstock.com