Growing Up in Dysfunction is Not the End of Your Story

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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On the negative end, my home of origin was characterized by lies, open hostility and violence. Of course most dysfunctional and abusive homes are not 100% angry.  There is the quietness of calm before an eruption, the safety of being in public, and perhaps good hearts who try to make the best of a terrible situation. 

Inconsistency was normal to me. Since there was little exposure to anything else, the emotional weather fluctuations were simply matters of adjustment. That does not mean they were not harmful. They were.

Motives do not determine the rightness or wrongness of hurtful behavior. Harming  people is wrong. Abuse is abuse. In my opinion, many families would benefit from counseling and parenting classes. Often, people do not understand how to react in healthy ways to life’s and family stress.

However, no one in my childhood family received any such help. In relationships where most everyone is in survival mode, there is little connection on higher planes. Parents are caught up in adult drama, and children’s issues are often set aside.  

I learned a sense of home and family could exist only in the dreamy make-believe world of denial. This is where I devoted my energies for the better part of 53 years. 

It took dropping into the lowest pit before I could conceive the truth.  Therapists, doctors, and friends spoke a different perspective until firm belief faded into doubt, then the shadow of a doubt disappeared, and now I live in joy. 

No, I do not think homes are perfect. Ever. Families struggle at different levels of intensity. The solid truth I finally grasped is three-part:

  1. It is never too late to start fresh. Life changed dramatically for me in my fifties.
  2. Nothing in this world is permanent. Something may feel great for a time, nonetheless it is temporary.
  3. There is only one home that is permanent, perfect, and promised. That home is described in an old song by Keith Green. He said in his Prodigal Son Suite, “I’ve learned home is where you are.” He was referring to Jesus.  

Only God, His Word, and His only begotten Son Jesus never change. God’s love welcomes and embraces the most tired and broken of hearts. He holds those who live in denial and dysfunction. 

Our job is to accept Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Your story, my story, are not over!

Today’s Helpful Word  

Romans 8:38-39

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

**** 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.

 

 

It Is Worth It In the End

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

XYMONAUrgb4It would be ridiculous for me to say I’d be willing to repeat my life. Right? I mean who needs abuse and major depression?

Or would it be ridiculous? What if all that has happened that is sad and broken serves a purpose today that I wouldn’t want to give up for the world?

The latter is true. This weekend was another privilege to share my story, including mental illness, and  the hope I live in each day. There was a time- a long time- when I couldn’t have done that and understood the depth and reality of this true hope.

I talked and taught about Jesus and his salvation and love for over 30 years. However I was blind to the fact that I didn’t fully grasp what I was talking about.

Much of what I knew to be love, was not. Much of my self- image was built on sand castles that washed out with each major storm.  False, negative core beliefs, out of sight and hidden under denial, guided life decisions and filtered happy truth.

All that is in the past. No longer do I doubt my value. Love is something I feel and know and trust regardless my emotions. Those lies that penetrated my mind are gone and replaced with facts.

  • I am fully and deeply loved by God who delights in showing unfailing love.*
  • I am valuable because he made me for a purpose. **
  • Lies do not hold me prisoner anymore. Both messages and messengers were exposed as less than worthy of my attention. ***

If repeating this life would land me in the joy and love I now know, then yes, I would do it. It is not ridiculous to want to share this love and joy with you.

This post is short but loaded with powerful healing truth. Jesus loves you and wants you for his own. He created you with a purpose that will both fulfill and free you. The Holy Spirit will teach you as you read the Bible and it will make sense. He will also guide you to people who can help.

Please contact me if you have questions.

Today’s Helpful Word  

*Micah 7:!8b-19 You 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!

**Ephesians 2:8-10  God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

***John 8:44b [The devil] has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies

**** 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.

 

 

 

Realists, Be Realistic!

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

people doing marathon
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Positive thinking and denial relate to our mental health in much the same way. 

Before a big race, a positive thinker says, “I’ve already won the trophy because I believe I have.”  A denier says, “I don’t have to run. I will win.”

Who of these two earns the trophy?  Of course, neither receive anything because they do not put in the work.  In this way, both positive thinking and denial share the same result. They thrive in delusion. 

Denial has never served me well. It holds me in stuck mode, neither moving forward or back. Positive thinking keeps me stagnant as I wait for good things to fall in my lap. 

Meanwhile, a realist runs the race and to his surprise, crosses the finish line first!  He says, “Odds are I will not win again.” So the next year he does not run.

A defense for negativity is often, “I’m not a pessimist, I’m a realist.” However if joy exists,  why can’t realists say, “Tomorrow could be better than today”?

Some of us struggle with mental conditions that help to make life challenging. Significant others may disappoint.  Emotional scars from past injury weigh us down.  A win seems afar off, impossible, or not worth chasing. 

It is in these times that paying close attention to whatever beauty is around us trains our mind to refocus on the possibilities of hope.

You have heard people who are emotionally revived speak. I am one of them. Words I choose tell of newfound peace, gratitude, and strength for the fight.  

How do people in chronic struggle with pain or illness go about living?  I am one of them too.  The key is doing what I love. The joy of participation in life overcomes defeat.  

These stories are every bit as real as troubles we face. 

Let’s not wish pain away. Let’s not deny pain exists. Instead, let’s be genuine realists who understand the power of change.  

Today’s Helpful Word  

2 Corinthians 5:17-18  (AMP)

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life].  But all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ …”

**** 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.

 

 

 

Staying Alive is So Much More Than Breathing

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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For a long time after my suicide attempt in 2011, life seemed to hold little worthwhile substance. Never mind I wrote a book, learned how to collage, began a writing and speaking career, and created newsletters for two classes at my church. Some days felt like fresh air and possibility. Most seemed stale and defeated.

My feet kept moving. On days with little to do, I gazed at walls or the computer screen, attempting life with little focus. Therapy homework added helpful busyness; going to therapy did as well.

However, I am a decision-maker. Once I make a commitment, 98% of the time I will stick to it no matter the cost. I’d made the decision to die by suicide. As strange as it may sound, it was difficult for me to change my mind.

Pivoting in indecision kept me stuck.  My moral center- that of wanting to please and honor Jesus – kept me from acting on the pursuit of death again no matter how I felt. It also gave me patches of solid ground on which to painstakingly climb out of the quicksand that is major depression.

Still, it was living for living’s sake. Breathing for breathing’s sake. Someone said, “You are doing phenomenally” (referring to all the projects I had taken on despite depression).  That encouraged me until the moment was over and the sense of lifelessness returned.

For a few years, occasional kudos were like sunshine and a bit of cheer leading pushed me to function. I doubted I could continue the fight without them. That theory was tested when I moved back home, eight hours away, leaving those supports behind.

Not once since I made the decision to move have I for even a nano-second regretted that choice. This is where I belong. It is where I fit. People here speak my language.

Life on my own was hard for two years. It didn’t seem I had the stamina to make healthy and wise decisions without input or an “atta girl”. Yet here is where it gets interesting.

At the end of those two years I took what I had learned from therapy and made some major decisions to remove what wasn’t helping and to grasp what would. I joined a church where my giftings are wanted. Relationships with next door neighbors are deliberate and improved. Weekly dinners with my grown sons added to a sense of belonging. Good friendships formed. Old friendships reignited. Now I know I am needed, wanted, and loved by many people.

It seems almost overnight life felt meaningful. Sure, nearly seven years is hardly overnight. Hard work after the suicide attempt, moving despite deep pain,  getting up the next day after a lousy one – those decisions paid off.  Staying alive was so much more than breathing.

I am committed to pursuing what is in my heart to do. It is still vital to honor and please Jesus. In a healthier mindset, I know he loves me too.

Today’s Helpful Word  

John 10: 10b-11a

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd.”       -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.

 

 

Thinking About Suicide? Hope is Here, at Just the Right Time

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

In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care. If you are suicidal, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  or go to your nearest emergency room.  (international emergency numbers, go here )
man s hand in shallow focus and grayscale photography
Photo by lalesh aldarwish on Pexels.com

When it seems too late, it is not.

That statement may sound unbelievable to a person on the edge of  living or dying by suicide.  However, it is not just another load of baloney. I’ve been there, and I know  it is never too late.

Despite night and day streaming in and out and sometimes blurring into each other,  relief exists. Though discouragement is seen, what is unseen is wonderful and promised. When ending it all seems the only choice, the answer is on its way.

A reason to stay alive is to wait… wait for the beauty.

If you are suicidal, immediately call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. ( outside the US, go here )

Just like trying to make out small print without my reading glasses, I cannot see the hope that is around the corner when lost in the depths of despair. It is there. It is not just the preacher’s hope, or the therapist’s hope.  It is mine to have and to keep.

I believe I landed in a new city at just the right time to meet those professionals who ‘knew how to reach me. After one suicide attempt, I tried again. A sense of hopelessness stayed around for a while. Yet I chose to believe for hope, and that was enough to keep me here. 

When Jesus came to earth the first time,  he came “at just the right time.” *

He promised to return and will do so at “just the right time.” **

He meets me where I am at just the right moments. When I stumble or grow anxious, or depression knocks on my door, he stays with me. When I cannot see forward, he shows me a way where there seems to be none.

Believe me when I say I know what it means to be on the edge of living or dying by suicide. I know that waiting for the beauty of living can take a long time and a lot of hard work. 

I also know that  rushing my trip out of here was not the answer.  Mental illness is not too much for Jesus to handle.  The right time to believe in the hope he offers is now. 

Today’s Helpful Word  

1 Peter 1: 3-4

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. 

**** 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.

 

*Romans 5:6  **1 Timothy 6:15

The Day Our Battles Were Won

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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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Resurrection Sunday, is the day on which Christianity hinges. Well, not actually the day, but rather the Lord, who rose from the dead on that day 2000 years ago.

Jesus had been betrayed, arrested, beaten, crucified, and buried on Friday.  Early on Sunday morning, some women disciples went to the tomb only to discover he was no longer there!

One in particular, Mary of Magdala, met the resurrected Jesus. At first she mistook the Savior of the world for a gardener. When Jesus called her by name, she knew.

He sent her to tell the 12 main disciples. Mary of Magdala was the first evangelist in history.

Think on that for a moment. What we know of Mary the Magdalene is that Jesus cast seven demons out of her. She was not someone our modern churches might first think of when choosing a representative. However, Jesus did.

To be clear, despite some famous secularized books, movies, and nonsense guesses, Jesus had no girlfriend.  Mary the Magdalene was one of thousands of people Jesus healed in his ministry. Many believed in him. Many walked with him on his travels. Many more did not.

Jesus lived a sinless life. How? He was God’s only birth-son. He was filled with the Holy Spirit from the moment he became an embryo. In a mystery we cannot understand, Jesus was fully God and fully man.

When sinless Jesus died on the cross, he took on his body, mind, and spirit the sins of everyone who would ever live who would trust him as their Savior and spiritual king. He carried the cumulative guilt with which we pummel ourselves and others. He felt the deep darkness of our shame By that, he defeated the father of lies, the accuser. 

Once we sincerely ask Jesus to be our Savior and ask forgiveness for our sin, the devil (yes, Satan is real),  tries to heap all that back on us. As the chief of liars and a skilled accuser,  if he can bury us under guilt and shame we will never reach the potential Jesus created in us.

When Jesus rose to life again, he wiped out our powerlessness against the devil’s strategies. He defeated death itself, and set us free to place our hope in eternal life.

No wonder Mary of Magdala wept when she saw him alive again. We can, if we will, drop the guilt and shame of our past and move forward as children of the King.  This is not to say that a believer’s life will be easy. 

The 12 disciples reacted to Mary’s report with doubt. They had to look for themselves to see if what she claimed was real. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who believe and yet do not see.”

You do not have to run and search for proof of anything.  Faith is not sight.  Jesus will reveal himself to you if you choose to take him at his word.

Today is the day Jesus won all our battles.

Today’s Helpful Word  

Hebrews 2:14-18

Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.  Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.

 We also know that the Son did not come to help angels; he came to help the descendants of Abraham.  Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters,  so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.

 

**** 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.

 

 

Maundy Thursday: Say No to Ritualistic Religious Acts – Jesus Showed Us the Better Way

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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Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

The first time I heard of Maundy Thursday I thought someone was confused about the day of the week! Today commemorates the Last Supper and Jesus washing the feet of 12 disciples.

Eww. Washing other people’s feet?  2000 years ago, people walked everywhere. Jesus walked hundreds if not thousands of miles on foot, traveling from town to town in Israel, preaching and healing the sick.

You can imagine then how sandals would become filthy and the wearer’s feet as well. It was custom, polite, good manners, and classy to wash a guest’s feet when they entered your home. Generally, it was a servant who would do the actual washing.

On this evening, Jesus and his disciples were in the upper room of a home that did not belong to any of them. Perhaps this is why no one had taken the responsibility to wash anyone’s feet, I do not know. Jesus knew he was about to be betrayed to death, he knew he would not be with these men much longer.

To set a lasting example of how he wanted believers to love each other, he knelt and washed everyone’s feet. As the leader, the teacher and Lord of this small cluster of ordinary humans, no one expected him to do the dirty work.

That was his point exactly.

Jesus left a legacy of humility and servant-leadership for us to copy. When he was done, he said to the group, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.”

He meant those specific men to take on the humble role of foot-washers, and to maintain a servant attitude as their fame and ministries grew. This was not a command for believers of all time to wash each other’s feet in a ritual that bears little practical meaning.

woman staring through window
Photo by David Cassolato on Pexels.com

Jesus was saying if we see that another of his followers needs something, we are to step off our high-horse, so to speak, and meet that need if we can. He commanded we show no favoritism, whether to the rich or the poor.  Throughout his ministry he equalized the value of women and men, Jew and Roman, children and adults,  and the marginalized with those society loved.

He went on to give his life. How much more can we do easy things like offering rides, or sitting with a lonely person, applying our skills to free services, or giving food or money to those in need?

In honor of Jesus, on this Maundy Thursday we can do better than wash each other’s feet.

Today’s Helpful Word  

John 13: 3-5 

 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God;  so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.  After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

**** 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.

 

 

Betrayal, and Moving Past It

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

green palm tree leaf
Photo by Jonas Von Werne on Pexels.com

Of course today begins Easter week 2019. This particular Sunday is called Palm Sunday. It commemorates a day 2000 years ago when a man entered Jerusalem surrounded by cheers and applause, only to be betrayed to death 4 days later.

When Jesus, who had proven to be a miracle worker, showed up in Jerusalem this particular Sunday, he was already famous. He had healed people, cast out demons, and even raised a few persons back to life after they had been dead for a while.  Naturally then, he was big news.

A Messiah, or “anointed one” had been promised by prophets for thousands of years. The nation of Israel in Jesus’ day was occupied by the Roman Empire. Jewish citizens expected the Messiah to free them from this oppressive rule.

Many people believed Jesus was the promised Messiah (which he was). Problem is, most   had no clue what he was talking about when he preached about an eternal kingdom. They thought he was their new political and military king.

This is why they cheered and threw palm branches on the ground when he entered Jerusalem.

A few days later, he was arrested when one of his own disciples betrayed him. The happy crowd turned on him too. He wasn’t meeting their short-sighted expectations.

Isn’t it awful when a person holds unreasonable expectations of you and then turns on you because you do not meet them? This happens in many a divorce, I am sure.

My first reaction in such situations is hurt, swiftly followed by anger. Unfortunately, the anger tends to stick around. Anger keeps me justified. I can continue to blame the other person for being a jerk while exonerating myself of all wrong.  This does not help!

There is a better way.

The healthier and more beneficial way is to talk it out with someone in the know. Honestly considering my role in any fallout is actually healing. I can forgive myself for real instead of imaginary mistakes, and make amends if it is appropriate. Either way, life moves along.*

Jesus’ response to betrayal was not angry.  He gave up his own life – no one took it. His reason for doing so was anything but suicide by Roman Soldier. He died, literally, so we may find life. More on this on Maundy Thursday and Easter Sunday, this week.

Today’s Helpful Word  

John 12:12-14 

The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,

“Hosanna!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Blessed is the king of Israel!”

*Domestic abuse and child abuse are products of unrealistic expectations. If you have been so betrayed, I want to encourage you to not remain a victim. Speak up. explain what you can and cannot do. IF THIS IS A DANGEROUS IDEA, DON’T.  Instead, tell someone else who is in a position to help. I offer many options on my resources page, The Truth About Abuse.

**** 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.

 

 

Life balance: If you need wisdom, ask…

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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A Frenchman,  looking for directions, pulls up at a bus stop where two Americans are waiting. “Excusez-moi, parlez vous Francais?” he tries. The Americans stare at him.

“Parlare Italiano?” No response. “Hablan ustedes Espanol?” Still nothing. The Frenchman drives away.

The first American turns to the second and says, “Y’know, maybe we should learn a foreign language.”

“Why?” says the other. “That guy knew three languages, and it didn’t do him any good!”

I guess it is okay for me to make dumb-American jokes since I am one. American, I mean. Uh hmm.

Big decisions, even if they seem small to other people, are stressful. To know the better and best way to go, asking the one with the answers makes sense!

James 1:5-8 “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.”

When I’ve asked God for direction, resulting confusion means I do not like his answer. Waiting for the other eeny to make moe leaves me perplexed.  Lack of inner peace, tells me I’m not following his guidance.

Obedience to God simply means trusting him to have the best answers, and taking his word for it. If a choice to become involved or not in a person’s life or in a cause or service project has you worrying about the cost of time, energy, emotions, etc., pause to answer the following questions.

Grounding questions

  1. What is your goal? Positive, meaningful connections need validation, love that acts, and sincere, non-critical acceptance. Are you providing these things in relationships? Are you too busy to connect meaningfully with people in your sphere?
  2. How will accepting another role affect your family? Self-sacrifice without considering others who will be affected may be ego-centric.  Do we have the right to force sacrifice on unwilling family members?
  3. Ephesians 6:7 “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people…” People may be assuming, begging, or sweetly inviting you to participate in their vision. Some have a great plan for your life! Do you know what is God’s will?
  4. Ask, is this act of service in YOUR wheelhouse?
  5. What role do you play in this person’s life, or in this service project?
  6. Are you balancing self-care and rest with self-sacrifice? Rest without self-care may be a symptom of depression. Self-care without any self-sacrifice could be selfishness.  Self-sacrifice without rest or self-care is possibly martyrdom.
  7. Are you setting “boundaries” out of apathy or avoidance?  Do you consider Proverbs 3:27, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act”?
  8. Are you over-committed now?

Here are a few options for over-commitment

→ add a time limit to your commitment      → gather a team to finish faster     → change the duty to suit your yeses (different time/day, etc)      → delegate a replacement person    → pay for it to be done by someone else     → Say, “This is more than I thought I was signing up for”     → Say, “This is interfering with other obligations (or health)”     → bite the bullet, take responsibility for over-promising, and walk away     →count your financial and time investment as loss and move on

Today’s Helpful Word  

Acts 6:2,3 – delegating

In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, [some Jews who were active in Greek culture] among them complained against the [traditional] Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them.

 

***** 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.

If Someone is Hurting You, Does He or She Love You?

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness or Abuse  (c)2013 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

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In Christine’s search for love,  trouble never had difficulty finding her. She fell for the lie of love from strangers and family. Finally she married a man who said his love was for forever, yet even then was knowingly deceitful.

Is it any wonder Christine does not know what real love is?

Love is not, Love is

Love is not a claim of love. Love is not warm fuzzy feelings.

Love is a choice to care about another person.  Love is an action, it is truth, it never fails.

That is not to say we do not let loved ones down. We will because we are human. Love is a continuous desire to not fail, and does not disappear when times are rough. Love stops doing what is wrong and learns to do what is right.

Fuzzy warm feelings may disintegrate; love will remain. It may look different, but is active and true. For example,  a broken marriage does not have to end in bitterness.

Love is not martyrdom or playing the doormat. It is not giving someone everything they want. Love stands up for what is best.

3 test cases

(1) Her husband calls. Audrey hesitates to answer the phone because she knows what will come of it. Her unemployed status has disappointed him. He will assume the position of her boss by informing her exactly how she is failing.   

Does he love her?

(2) Andrew  ducks every time he walks through that door.  His mother used to hide behind it and swat him when he returned from school.  She passed away last year, and the duty of cleaning up her estate fell to him. Even after several months he continues to  tense for a sprint at the sight of that door.  

Did she ever love him?

(3) Anna  enjoys her adult children and rejoices in their independence. She made mistakes as a parent,  yet was willing to listen to her children’s points of view.   No one had been swatted from behind doors, or insulted for mistakes. She grins as she recalls all the spilled milk.  No one had been made to feel a fool.

Did she, does she love them?

My opinion: According to a professional source, the first two stories are examples of people loving the best they know how. I disagree. Story three matches that description better.

I am not willing to call abuse love at all. While no one loves perfectly, love is not selfish. Damaging behavior committed in a reckless and thoughtless manner is selfish. Not considering another person’s pain (or joys) is selfish.

Warm fuzzy feelings may come and go, yet ignoring a person’s plea to stop treating them a certain way because it hurts them,  is definitely selfish.

What do you think? 

Today’s Helpful Word  

Romans 13: 8-10

 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor…

Biblical definition of love           In Christ we are loved forever

God’s love in our dark times 

 

***** 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.

*all names have been changed