Tag Archives: guilt

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

sky sunset person silhouette
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Easter Sunday, some call it 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.

Easter 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.

 

 

In Over Your Head and Want to Get Out?

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

man performing handstand
Photo by Yogendra Singh on Pexels.com

Over and over. It seems never to stop. Just when life slows down, we repeat what has never quite worked for us. We say yes to too much.

It can help to know why we keep spinning in this cycle. Like a child playing Hide and Seek, if we do not know what to find, we cannot play the game.

9 possible motives to consider

If one or more fit, you will know what to change to find life balance. 

1. ImpulsivityWhen in doubt, don’t. If you are like me and most opportunities seem to be the right one, then pause. Not much in this world is going to change dramatically if we take the time to pray, think, and discuss before committing time, emotional energy, or money. 

2. Past trauma Physical or sexual abuse can teach us we have no boundaries over our bodies. Emotional abuse gets too little press. Its damage teaches us we have no worth and therefore it is appropriate to ignore our needs. Covert sexual abuse (sexualizing a child), and verbal abuse train us to believe that a flawed human’s opinions are the measure of who we are or will become.

One of my favorite promises was shown to me almost fifty years ago at children’s camp. A sympathetic counselor read Psalm 27:10. “Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.” God the perfect Father heals our pasts by healing our tender inner child.

3. Place-holding We humans are generally easily transfixed by power or the spotlight. Check with yourself; is your goal for saying yes that people see you?  Trying to become everything for everyone for fear of losing status will wear us out in no time. 

4. Personalization– Take responsibility for what is not yours to carry or is out of your control, and you have found the fast-track to false guilt and anxiety. Perhaps we want to involve ourselves in a situation to a degree, yet must draw the line at owning external problems. It helps to remember “It’s Liam’s family,” “It’s Sally’s job,” “Not mine.”

5. People-pleasing Fear of rejection brings many of us to say yes beyond what is helpful. What is the worst that could happen if we draw a boundary and say no? Someone will be mad? That is more their problem than ours. They will either find other help and respect our right to choose, or maybe we are better off without them.

6. Guilt –  Misinterpreting reasonable personal boundaries as unkindness is more false guilt. Maybe this idea is spilling over from some unresolved past. Is there an internal condemnation perhaps from a legalistic view of one’s spiritual duties?  Guilt can lead to over-compensation regardless of its source.  

7. Projection A woman on Shark Tank started a business selling comfortable dresses to busy moms. The soft dresses are good for playing with children without requiring a wardrobe change for work. During the show, she explained her reason for the dresses is that her mom did not play with her as a child.

Applying what we have learned through hardship to encourage others is a great motivation. That is what I try to do every day. 

It is not so healthy to assume others suffer and feel as we do, thus projecting personal disappointments into situations. We try to resolve our struggle through “fixing” the happiness of others. This can push us toward over-involvement.

8. Building a legacy – Experiencing internal validation and value through helping others is not wrong. It is a natural, God-given result of good works. Yet are we satisfied? Committing to too much will repeat itself if our desire for validation from people does not come fast or often enough. Be careful. If you are hoping for a statue in your honor, you may end up covered in pigeon dung.  

9. Mistaken responsibility – Someone says, “You owe me.” Maybe it is true and the better part of valor is to repay a kindness. However, if you cannot you cannot. For example, maybe your child needs an operation, and the other person is asking for money. You may have to say no and reserve your cash for your child. 

Have you ever thought or heard someone say, “no one else is doing it so I guess I have to?” Whew! This is a familiar road to too many yeses and resentment. God has the whole world in his hands and does not need us to fill every possible empty position in our workplace, the church, or anywhere else. Burn-out comes from doing it all by yourself.

Do any of these motives fit you? Congratulations on your discovery! If you need assistance changing deeply held tendencies, consider a CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) professional’s input. 

Today’s Helpful Word  

Luke 10 40-42

 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

 

***** 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.

This Hope I Share:  It Is Real

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

When I speak of hope, my intention is to reach those who have trouble believing in it.  Lately, absence of old thinking patterns draws me to gratitude.  The daily barrage of self-doubt and nearly constant guilt are gone. I’m 57 years old! To think this freedom escaped me until recent years  could be sad.  However, I spend zero time in the past.  How precious is the gift of joy now!

A dream

“Who, me?” Turning to see whom Jesus was inviting to come closer, I realized he was beckoning to me. Surrounded by a mass of people spreading over green hills and mountains, he sat on table rock, holding children on his lap.

In reality, I was twenty-four years old. In this dream I was five. It was nearly impossible to comprehend he would choose me out of this crowd. Hesitantly I walked toward him, uncertain he would not change his mind.

His eyes were welcoming, piercing straight into my hurting heart. Crawling up on his lap, suddenly I was able to understand that he was holding every individual assembled there simultaneously, loving each equally with all his being.

What a peaceful wonder on which to focus.

God’s love in action

Once,  I tried to describe to a pastor the daily dread and hopelessness I felt. “I feel like I  am  standing  in  the  middle  of the road, a semi-truck barreling down on me, and my only escape is to jump aside. Lining  the  side  of  the road  are  snarling  dogs,  hungrily  watching my every move. God is above, waiting to see what choice I will make.”

“Nancy, where you are wrong is that God has jumped in front of that truck with you and is going to carry you to safety,” he said.

Considering my suicide attempt six years later, it may appear that God forgot to rescue me from the truck. However,  sometimes it is in the deepest pits we learn our most meaningful lessons.

Today I know joy. Today I know peace.  The love of Jesus’ embrace gives me rest.    

This hope is what I want to share with those who struggle to believe it exists.  It is real.

Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 33:20-22

We wait in hope for the Lordhe is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lordeven as we put our hope in 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 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.

*blue sky by TACLUDA ;  yellow sky by mzacha on rgbstock.com

Prisoner of Your Thoughts? Here’s How to Capture Them and Be Free

Anyone with mental illness can probably relate to the challenge of racing thoughts, persistent painful memories, and torturous self-loathing. I’m guessing this is true based on hearing stories from so many who struggle. *

Whether driving, trying to sleep, sitting in school, or on the job, there are times thoughts seem to hold us captive. They could be anything from “Does he like me?” to “I do not deserve to live.” 

One woman said, “A thought is just a thought.” She is a survivor of monstrous physical abuse at the hands of her mother.  At the time of her statement, her inner prison included every negative that she could think about herself. Slowly, she was learning to challenge these false beliefs and put an end to impulsive self-destruction. It is a lifetime process for her; when we met she was in her mid-fifties.

Some of you do not have to try to imagine her plight because you know it intimately. People around you have complained as you play music loud enough to drown out repetitive memories or fears. You have tried to sleep your days away to escape. Unfortunately, self-medication may have made matters worse, and you feel less worthy than ever before. 

I know because I’ve been there, and unwelcome thoughts still threaten on bad days. However, there is a way out for all of us. We can take thoughts captive permanently, while we go free.  

It is about renewing our mind. Most of us cannot do this on our own. If we could, it would be done already. Some of us don’t understand this option at all.  Here are 9 tactics:

  1. Be willing to give up familiar beliefs about yourself, other people, experiences, and the world.  Simply ask, “What do I want?” Do you want change even if it makes you afraid?
  2. Find someone who gets it who is able to listen and guide without judgment. Personally, I suggest a professional and licensed therapist. Not even those relationships are always a good fit, so do not be afraid to search until you find someone knowledgable who works well with your personality. Expect to be challenged. That is why you are there!
  3. Question messages and messengers. Who sent you the message you are worthless or incapable? What evidence exists to the contrary? For example, I had to ask why I believed women have less value than men. Did I know women I could admire? Yes. Did I know men deserving of little respect? Yes. This real evidence proves the message wrong.  The messenger of the lie had a flawed history of chauvinism and abuse of women. Once I questioned his values, he was easier to dismiss as a reliable source. That started to change everything.
  4. Forgive yourself for all the self-harm, harm to others, and perceived missteps you have done. Please allow yourself to be a deeply flawed, perfectly imperfect human being who was never meant to be mistake-proof. None of us are more than human or less than animals. Acknowledge wrongdoing by telling God and another human the exact nature of your wrongs. Some of the guilt you bear was never yours to own. Let it all go. 
  5. In the immediate moment of persistent uncomfortable thoughts, focus on something else. For me, this can be anything from serving others to word searches. Distractions help so much! If trying to sleep, do something that demands concentration yet makes you sleepy. Many people have success with DBT** training.
  6. Interrupting the thoughts can help. I say, “Stop!” up to many times per day. It gives me a moment to regroup and change my focus. One therapist suggested putting a bag of frozen vegetables under my arm! Yikes, it probably works! (You try it first and let me know.) 
  7. Allow time and effort room to make a difference. Some of our false, negative, core beliefs are deeply buried under tangled messes of fear, anger, innocence, familiarity, trauma, pain, and more. As time and hard work chip away at these, give yourself credit for even the tiniest movements forward. Slow progress is still amazing progress!
  8. Old beliefs have to be replaced with something. Make sure those new beliefs are positive and true. Here are some very practical, doable, and successful exercises to defeat self-loathing and other powerful negative thoughts – see How to Gain and Maintain a Mindset of Hope.
  9. Turn your hope to the one source of unconditional love that never fails. Believe me, I’ve tried so hard to depend on people for this, and each time someone cares and loves me, it falls short of “unconditional”.  This dependency on humans has left me hurt, devastated, and despairing.  You too? I’ve learned to place a limited amount of trust in even the best people, and to trust God with everything. We need to allow therapists, loved ones, and friends to care for us the best they can. Ultimately, when we have God’s love to lean on, we are never alone even when others let us down. 

You deserve to feel better. You can be free!   

Today’s Helpful Word

Philippians 4:8  

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  

-Saint Paul

********
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 is yours.

*I am not a doctor or therapist and cannot speak to the many nuances of serious mental illness such as major depression, bipolar disorder, psychosis, or schizophrenia. Please see a psychiatrist for diagnosis and a suitable treatment plan.  

**DBT stands for Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. It is a fun and profound training about controlling your thoughts and behaviors. You can find DBT training around the country and online.