Tag Archives: Christ

Jesus Offers Safety in the World of Emotions and Vulnerability

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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When emotions are stifled as a child, you never learn how to use or regulate them.

Adult friends have said over the years, “You are open to a point, and then no one can cross that line;” or “You seem unapproachable. Above all the rest of us.”

What friends did not know is the guilt I carried and the continuous reel of tongue lashings I gave myself every day for feeling, let alone sharing any of those feelings whether happy or not-so happy. Vulnerability was downright threatening because of what I would do to myself.

I wasn’t honest about that. God knows I needed help, lots of it, but it seemed too much to ask.

I didn’t want to burden anyone with it and didn’t know what to say anyway. Yet that led to crashes that did burden people in big ways. Rarely reaching out or reaching out in ways that would not actually lead to help, kept me stuck.

Oh believe me, I kept begging – for someone, anyone – to meet my needs. Desperately screaming all my life- does anyone care? I hurt, I’m sad, I’m lost! Angrily demanding, why aren’t you rescuing me?

No one heard because I didn’t scream out loud.

Vulnerability for Wellness

When we come out of unloving or abusive families, it is common to feel different from everyone else, like we are on the outside of a huge secret. We may not know how or where to find emotional safety – or even believe it exists.

In Christ, we are amazingly safe to be vulnerable with people. He led me to wise counselors and then helped me to lower my shield. Learning openness and honesty has not only been freeing, but it helps other people to come out from the shadows.

Vulnerability is hard. We fear jumping off that proverbial cliff of trust – what if no one is there to respond in meaningful or healthy ways? We are afraid that rejection or apathy or even betrayal will leave us in a crumpled heap at the bottom.

It could happen – from the human standpoint.

In Christ though, we have safety. He is our enduring Catcher. Vulnerability with others is important for mental health and well-being. Landing in the tender clutch of Jesus makes jumping worth the risk.

Today’s Helpful Word  

1 Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on [Jesus] because he cares for you.

 

**** 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.

Compassionate Love’s Happy Valentine’s Day!

Compassionate Love:Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness  (c)2014 Nancy Virden

portrait of a mid adult female with heart shape balloonValentinus, a priest in ancient Rome, may have been a romantic. Emperor Claudius II decreed that soldiers must remain bachelors, his rationalization being that men are easily distracted when they are married. Valentinus secretly performed marriage ceremonies in defiance, making himself worthy of execution in the eyes of the Emperor. He was put to death on February 14, 270 AD.

Or not.

The history of Saint Valentine is blurry. General agreement of his existence, although some believe he was actually two persons, helps him retain sainthood. In fact, he was bumped from Catholic liturgical veneration in 1969. At least one dozen St.Valentines are recognized by the Roman Catholic Church.

Because there are so many, we could celebrate St. Valentine’s Day several times per year. It is the medieval poet Geoffrey Chaucer, who may have invented our modern Valentine’s Day. In a popular fictional work, he linked romance with February 14, a St. Valentine feast day.

So how did Cupid end up on our sweetheart letters? The Roman mythological Cupid married a mortal named Psyche. Drama ensued of course, and eventually Cupid had to bring her back to life. She was thus granted immortality, and Cupid remains a representative of the blending of heart and soul.

There is one other active participant in the making of a day all about love. He is not a myth, fabrication, combination of identities, or even the hero of a nice story. He called himself “I Am” in front of some religious bullies and they killed him for it.

We still have our turn at struggling with the heart and psyche.  This is our opportunity to answer the call of Christ. If we do, eventually we will have our day of love when we see him face-to-face. No romance can match-up to what we will experience at his side. Now that’s the day worth celebrating for eternity.

Happy Valentine’s Day,

Nancy

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NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences 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.

*picture from Kozzi.com

Is it Time Yet to Die?

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2013 Nancy Virden

It’s a fair question. Many people, if not most, have asked it. How does one come up with the answer?

Terminally ill patients have a chance to come to terms with death, then there are those for whom the end of life comes as a surprise, such as in Boston and Texas this week. Can we ever actually be prepared? It helps to think we have some control, and we question, is it time yet?

Life is short, or so we hear repeatedly. Who decides that? We cannot see the full length of a bridge when we are crossing it. Maybe life is long. Compared to most animals human life is extended multiple years. We need a frame of reference, something to compare in order to determine if life is short, or if that is a false perception.

Life certainly seems short when our children are suddenly grown and independent. If we look back at our accomplishments or regrets we may feel as if time stalled out. Our youth appears dim in memory, yet at the passing of our parents we wonder how they became so old.

Hometowns develop, familiar neighborhoods are reconstructed, high school reunions accommodate more gray heads. Tragic events feel almost immediately ten years ago and last week at the same time. To what can we hold up our eighty or so expected years and measure the truth of this matter?

Eternity.

When life hurts, and pain is so intense it holds us to our beds, it can seem as if time has stopped. As one step in any direction rams us against a wall, each day can feel like a dragged out fight. Boxed in with undesirable companions like suicidal thoughts, it can feel like we are held captive while life goes on for everyone else.

This is what has brought me to ask the question, “Is it time yet to die?” Even a minimal sense of eternity eventually brought time into focus. Life is short. Extremely short. Despite days, weeks, and years when it seems like forever,  it is not even close.

What we experience here, we are promised in scripture, is nothing compared to the wonderful someday. It must be similar to watching children mature. To us, they will soon be adults. Looking at a boy or girl each year we exclaim, “How did you get so big?” To each other we nod knowingly, “They grow up so fast.”

To the children it looks to be a long stretch before they can be six, or sixteen, or twenty-one. In the same way, God sees we will soon be with him, while we struggle for each hour to be better than the last.

For the surrendered to Christ, there is promise. It is for eternity with him that I keep living, trying to submit to his timeline. This promise is offered to everyone. Accepting it makes this short life worthwhile, and the long years, courageous.

Psalm 103:15-18

The days of man are like grass. He grows like a flower of the field.  When the wind blows over it, it is gone. Its place will remember it no more.  But the loving-kindness of the Lord is forever and forever on those who fear Him.

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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.

Being Real Sets Us All Free: A Phone Call Brings It Home

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c) 2012  Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Last week, an unexpected phone call came. “Hi, Nancy?” It was an unfamiliar southern voice.

“Yes?”

“This is Janet from Tennessee.” That name was not familiar  to me.

“I just read your article about depression online. I’ve read it over and over again. I am wondering if you can help me,” she said with a drawl.

“Oh!” Surprised is not a strong enough term for what I felt.  “I can try.”

“I am sure God has left me. I just know I have sinned too much and he has decided he is through with me.”

Uncertain what I could do for her, I just prayed. She continued to explain her battle with  depression  and  how recently she had spoken some words she believed were offensive to God. Her pastor and church friends did not understand, and she felt she had nowhere else  to turn.

One fact was certain; her depression was severe. In the course of her struggle with this condition, she had lost her usual sense of spirituality. No longer could  she feel God’s presence, or understand his promises as they applied to her. Depression can do that—make a believer falsely feel spiritually dead.

Clarifying to her my lack of professional expertise, I assured her of what I know to be true – God does not walk away when we  hurt.

The article to which she referred is titled, Never Alone in the Dark: A Christian’s Experience with Depression. In it, I describe my struggle with spiritual life during one major depressive episode endured a few years ago. It mentions that although a sense of God’s comfort was missing during the ordeal, and all vestiges of religion were gone, he had not stood back and waited for my confused mind to become reasonable. The last words read, “It is a rather simple bottom line—when all else was lost, Christ was there. And he never let me go.”

Hopefully, Janet was encouraged by our phone conversation. We were on dangerous ground because she was asking for a diagnosis in some ways. All I could safely offer was my personal experience and a few scriptures. After she agreed to find both a psychiatrist and therapist, we said goodbye…

Two things have to change.  People like me must be open to feelings and humbly express them, and the Church has to learn that emotionally struggling people are in the pews and this is normal. Christians like Janet and I need spared condemning remarks and judgmental attitudes. Otherwise, how can any of  us get well?

The challenge for both the church-at-large and me is the same. Be real.

Today’s Helpful Word

Romans 14:13
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.

 

 **********COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.

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 are yours.

Teen girls by MELODI2 on rgbstock.com; phone pic by LUSI on rgbstock.com