Tag Archives: behavioral health

For One of the Least of These: Visiting Those Who are Sick

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

Please imagine the following scenario:

Your fifth day in the hospital begins. It is yet another day of little sunshine, with many more to come. The brick wall of the laundry blocks your view. Cheer is missing too. Nurses and an occasional doctor come and go. Some are compassionate, others all business. 

You hurt. Moving, even shifting in bed is difficult. Lunch is served, but you are not hungry. Soon it is time for therapy where others expect you to try harder to advance toward wholeness.  

Few people know about this hospitalization because you find your reason for being here somewhat shameful. You are certain that most of your loved ones and friends will assume you brought it on yourself. They will say, “Why don’t you get it together? Make better choices!” You’re not in the mood to hear it.   ♦♦♦

How do you react to this story? Do you sense why shame might be part of hospital admission? What do you assume is the health issue?  It may surprise you that I am describing a motorcycle accident recovery and not a psychological problem.

Not everyone who is sick has a physical illness we can see. Some of us struggle or have struggled with brain injury, brain tumor or aneurism, mental illness, or even learning disabilities. None of these are visible, yet each deserves compassion.

Visiting the sick, specifically those with mental and behavioral disorders, is as simple as entering the hospital and walking to a person’s room. Yes, there may be locked doors and bars on the windows, but you are safe. Your loved one with depression (or any other mental health challenge) needs your encouragement and to know he or she is loved.  

Know someone who could use a visit? Take with you tender loving care, a listening ear, patience, a smile, and prayer. That is all you need. 

The For One of The Least of These series:

Feeding Those Who Hunger for Love       Offering Living Water to Those Who Thirst

Welcoming the Stranger      Covering the Emotionally Naked and Vulnerable

Visiting Those In the Prison of Addiction

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Today’s Helpful Word

Matthew 25: 37-40 

Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you … sick… and visit you?’  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.’”

**** 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!

Self-esteem. A Christian’s Obligation?

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness    (c)2015 Nancy Virden

photo-24719064-architects-at-work-site.We always watch ____(fill in the blank).”  My kids would say this in public sometimes when they had only seen a show’s trailer. Whether or not it was a program approved by me, the message was sent that I gave permission to view it all the time. This was embarrassing, especially if I had stated just the opposite to the same people.

“Whoooooooaaaaaaa!” Jon would fly across the grocery store aisle and land on his rear end. If he was, as all little children do, walking backward or oblivious to his surroundings, he would feel a touch on the shoulder to get his attention, sparing carts and displays all over Cleveland. In response, he would sometimes dramatically fall back as if he’d been hit. He stopped after I sat him down one day and warned him what could happen if observers believed he was actually being thrown.

In both cases, I was photo-24803643-young-student-looking-to-his-phonenphoto-26058297ot being suitably represented. 

We humans are God’s image-bearers. Simply put, that means it is our job to represent him well. Since he made us, how can we prove our esteem for him if we are carrying none for ourselves?

Here is the hard truth. Contempt for oneself is not the opposite of a swelled head. It is actually false humility. Basically, when we say we have so little value no one can like us, we have lifted ourselves to the heights. Not only are we valueless, we are mega-valueless. So valueless in fact, not even God could love these heaps of mess.

With one fell swoop, God has been tossed off his throne and we have become the center of the universe. A healthy self-esteem show s reverence for the Creator as we accept that he never makes mistakes.

photo-24889631-arent-i-cuteThe term “esteem” gets a bad rap. Some people seem to interpret it as too high a regard, a favoritism of sorts. Preface this idea with “self” and it becomes a ten-letter bad word.

Fact is, esteem has gradations. From considering God with reverence to prizing a favorite work of art, esteeming someone or something is a form of valuation. How much esteem is involved is another concept altogether. 

Too much self-regard is obnoxious. Too much self-hatred is, well, sad.  Both are destructive.

Our value is what God says it is. The Bible says he loves the world, of which we are parts, so much he sent Jesus to pay the penalty for sins (John 3:16-17). Reflecting on those words, one can see Jesus did not die to raise anyone’s self-esteem.

Christ’s death and resurrection was for the purpose of making a way for me and everyone else to avoid paying the ultimate price for selfishness and pride, and to restore human-to-God relationships. God’s love as displayed through Christ is what raises us to walk with and learn from him.  

Our problem is not lack of value, it is that we do not represent him well.  In other words, God values each one enormously, but unless we accept our primary purpose is to enjoy and glorify him, we are choosing to step out of appropriate, balanced self-esteem.

Does God love people with whom he is not presently pleased? His love is so profound that he sent Jesus Christ to die for us before we cared. His love never fails. He always hopes, always perseveres, and even disciplines us so we can become children who reflect his character.

Self-esteem is appropriate; we have to learn to regard ourselves with the value God places on us. We bear his image, and need to think and act like it.

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~~This post is an excerpt from Always the Fight 2nd edition to be released October 27, 2015. Available on the Books page of this website. ~~

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

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

*pictures from QualityStockPhotos.com

 

A Mutual Cause for the New Year

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness  (c)2012 Nancy Virden

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe love of two people is unconstrained by social norms. One is a king’s son, heir to the throne, and the other has been chosen to replace him. 

These friends, whose deep, rich love causes them to weep at parting,  are soldiers. They are warriors of renown, tough-guys who stand at each other’s side and watch each other’s back.

Their connection is spiritual and noble, forged over years of subterfuge, great victory, and escape. They are brothers in arms, a tightly knit union. They are Jonathan and David, of about 1020 BC. One is the assumed next in line for kingship over Israel, and the other a musician in King Saul’s palace.

Ultimately, only David survives the onslaught against the two of them. King Saul kills himself. As the new King, David pledges to take care of Jonathan’s descendants. These short soundbites make the story simpler than it actually was; David’s and Jonathan’s lives were complex, their situation, dire. 

When my son was born in an emergency situation, a paramedic gave him a teddy bear. I sat it on display as a remembrance. Years later, Tim had not played with the teddy bear.  Every now and then I would pull it out and tell him why it was special, then put it away again. Now, it is carefully preserved, untouched by a child’s imagination, unsoiled by love. Tim does not care about that bear as he has no memories of it other than as a showpiece.

Truth is, we tend to not care about people with whom we have no connection. Unless, like David and Jonathan, our relationships include time spent together, a mutual cause, and trust, we will remain distant. Tim and his teddy bear essentially remained strangers while other stuffed animals were cherished by my son. 

This is why our communities fragment, why our nation polarizes. In our church groups, at work, in our homes, people are looking at each other as if staring at display pieces with no sentimental value.  Connection is missing. How can we love a person we do not know? Chances are, we will not.

The answer to this plight is simple: talk, ask questions, listen. Gain knowledge. What emerges out of the stranger you didn’t care to know will be a surprise. You will uncover commonalities you never suspected.

Your mutual cause?  Might I suggest connecting with lonely people? Discover joy, hope, stability, and love together.

Compassionate Love reaches out in a new year. God bless.

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

Compassionate Boundaries: Refer to the Experts (Eighth of Series)

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse (c)2013  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry 

24896256 young woman in a conversation with a consultant or psyc

Most of us are not mental or behavoral health specialists in a qualified position to diagnose. We may however, suggest to a hurting loved one or friend that they reach out to somebody who can help them more than we.

Earlier in this series, I said to avoid taking on a role that is not yours to fill. This boundary protects both the one you want to help, and you. 

Imagine walking into a small creek in search of a stone. It is an easy and fun challenge.  Let us upgrade the small creek to a small river.  This time you are to retrieve a certain type of stone. Ah, now it’s tougher. 

Finally, the river is a vast whirlpool. Water spins you up to your neck, and you must find a specific stone.  How long before you admit you are in too deep? 

Responding to hurting people by trying to meet their every need is dangerous.  For one thing,  we are not experts. Trained specialists know how to find what we cannot see. They have a better grasp on the human psyche, and the tools to try and meet specific needs. 

One simple statement has the potential to change a life.  “I’ll help you find good professional care.”  It is kind to say, “Others can help you better than I.”

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Other posts in this series: Friendship (1) ; God’s Example (2)Values and Family (3) ; Self-Care (4) ;  How to Say No (5) ; Motives Beware! (6)Refuse Blame (7) ;  How to Say Yes (9)

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***** 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.