Tag Archives: life balance

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

pexels-photo-260907

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.

Are You Handling Your Complicated Life, Or is It Handling You?

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

person standing on slope glacier mountain
Photo by Simon Migaj on Pexels.com

Most of us want to be the type of person others can count on. We hope we are a good friend, spouse, parent, and worker.  

Life’s dramas and stressors sometimes overshadow these most important parts of living.  Are you the person you want to be? 

Think about your challenges with life balance, and with making positive and meaningful connections. Then ask if your way is working.  If it is not, perhaps you would like to join me in trying a different way, one proven successful.

How Jesus handled his complicated life

One of the reasons Jesus could serve as he did is because of his boundaries. Jesus loved well and practiced self-care. Unless we embrace his how-to, we cannot expect to experience the effectiveness, freedom, and wisdom he did.

1. He knew his mission; do you know yours?

One morning, while it was still dark, Jesus left where he was staying and went off alone to pray.  Later, several men went to look for him. When they found him, they said, “Everyone is looking for you!”

Jesus said, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages— so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” (Paraphrased from Mark 1:35-38)

Notice Jesus did not serve everyone when it would detain him from his priorities. He knew when to say yes or no regardless of pressure from others.

2. His getaways versus your getaways

In the Bible book of Matthew, we read an account of one of Jesus’ very busy days. As it was growing dusk,  he decided to feed the crowd gathered to hear him preach. They had been together for three days and were hungry.

After he miraculously stretched a few fish and loaves of bread into enough meals to satisfy about 8000 people, he dismissed everyone and went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.  It is recorded that shortly before dawn he came back down and joined his disciples. (Paraphrase of Matthew 14: 15 -25 )

Israel, where this took place, generally experiences dusk at 7pm and dawn at 6am. Allowing time for his disciples to pass out the food and to clean-up, it appears Jesus was in prayer for about 8 hours.  This is how he re-energized, by spending time with His Heavenly Father. 

3. Joy was his source of strength.

It was the prophet Nehemiah who encouraged his people to choose joy because it would give them strength to do God’s will. He said, “…the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8: 8-10)

Jesus came right out and said, “When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.  I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy.  Yes, your joy will overflow!  This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.” (John 15:10-12

His joy was complete due to obedience to God his Father, and by giving and receiving love. Is this where you find joy?

4. Jesus’ choices versus your choices

John the Baptist was a great preacher in Jesus’ time. He was a relative of Jesus and a friend.  He was murdered when they both were about 31 years old. When Jesus heard what happened, he withdrew to a private place, no doubt to grieve and pray. 

Crowds followed anyway. When Jesus saw them, he “had compassion on them and healed their sick.” (Paraphrase of Matthew 14:12-14)

Jesus made room for service when it was inconvenient, setting aside his personal grief momentarily.  However, this was not his only response.

5. Jesus held to boundaries. Do you?

Jesus was a celebrity, with clamoring fans from all over his country and beyond. Huge crowds wanted to hear him and have him heal their sick bodies, and ill sons, daughters, friends, servants, and other loved ones.  Some wanted him to raise their dead. 

Look at what Jesus did. He “often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Paraphrase of Luke 5:15-16 Sometimes he simply withdrew from the needs and demands of a hurting world, and made room for self-care.

You can see it is not selfish to balance your life. Not everyone needs you all the time.  It is wise to weigh your priorities and pro-actively seek joy. 

Today’s Helpful Word  

 Amos 4:13
“He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind … the Lord God Almighty is his name.”

 

 

***** 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.

I Can’t, You Can

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

Gravelly and broken. The parking lot’s many potholes threaten to open wider in the next big storm. Miniscule pebbles sprinkle a patchwork of old and newer asphalt. 

Walking toward my car, my mind races with everything on my to-do list.  A familiar sense of helplessness and fear creep into the thought process. “I can’t!” I said to myself. “I can’t do it all!”

Staring down, I notice my feet are not touching all the patches. Little stones lay everywhere and I am not considering which ones to walk on.  Going over all the rough spots in the lot would take hours – a frantic attempt at a task that is not mine or necessary. Millions of pebbles prove that trying to touch them all is a wasteful and ridiculous idea. My job is simply to keep walking.

Sometimes there are too many obligations. I and many of us lock ourselves into more than is necessary, more than we can reasonably do.

This time, I quit. 

It’s a familiar feeling, being  overwhelmed.  My reaction has to change.  Plopping in a chair in near defeat, I focus on God and ask for wisdom. The prayer, I can’t but You can enters my thoughts.

Life and mind for each of us seems gravelly and broken sometimes. Just as we finish one repair, another pothole appears. We chase flaws instead of dreams. That pace will last for only so long.  

My to-do list is up for reassessment, for sure!  First, a break is top priority. I will sit back and wait on the Lord, and allow Him to heal my spirit. He will teach me what steps to take, and give me the strength to take them. 

Maybe someone else wants to hit every patch of cement and pebble in the parking lot. Not me. Endeavors succeed when we are free to focus. Mental health can flourish in a balanced life.  

I can’t means God can, and I’ll let him.  

Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 27:14 

Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the 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 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.

*potholes by TACLUDA; woman by MOKRA, both of rgbstock.com

4 Possible Motives for Taking On Too Much (and how to restore balance)

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Last night, a friend said he feels like a heel because sometimes the injustice of this world is too much to process and he makes himself not care. He blames his lack of feeling on an apathy he is convinced must reside at his core.

My friend is not apathetic; he is overwhelmed. He feels powerless. He beats himself up for not experiencing what he has judged to be the correct reaction.

We are going to feel powerless when we are powerless. A key component to developing healthy, compassionate boundaries is to recognize what we can and cannot control. Hint:  we cannot control other people or external events. We can only hope to manage our reactions.

Motives are choices

If we find we are frustrated, burned-out, or emotionally or physically dysfunctional because we have said yes to solving an overwhelming number of dilemmas, we need change.

Today you can learn to recognize some unhelpful motives that keep us stuck in patterns of saying yes. Also you will read practical tools for adjusting your life’s balance.  Let’s use the following scenario to guide us.

You have left your job one afternoon  extra tired because you have much to accomplish in the few days left before you leave on vacation.

There are errands. Pick-up gifts for the nieces and nephews; drive Bobby to his play practice, and then go home – to wrap presents, grab a snack to share, and head out the door to the neighborhood holiday party. Don’t forget to pick up Bobby!

Then Tina calls. She wants to talk some more about her divorce, the unfairness of her husband’s lawyer, and maybe she will ask you for gasoline money. It’s always “gasoline” money, although you never really know. 

4 possible motives for taking on too much (and how to restore balance)

1. Taking on responsibility for someone else’s difficulty can lead to false guilt. Empathy is important. However, there’s a difference between feeling with and feeling as if.  If you carry someone’s pain as if it were yours, you will likely feel more trapped into trying to relieve or solve it. Healthy compassion feels with, but does not own.

It helps to name the owner of the problem and say it aloud. “That’s Liam’s job loss”, “It’s Sally’s depression.” In this case, “It’s Tina’s divorce, not mine.”

2. Have you ever said or heard someone say, “no one else is doing it so I have to?”  As a director of children’s ministries years ago, I used to carefully upkeep church bulletin boards. Later, after that position ended, the bulletin boards stayed stagnant.   Children’s ministries continued fine without anyone spending hours on bulletin boards.

Not everything we think must be done is our responsibility or even necessary. Consider before committing, “What is the worst possible result if I do not do this?” In Tina’s case, she may have to find someone new to lean on. She will when you are gone on vacation anyway. Let guilt go.

3. The term ‘people-pleasing’ is a misnomer. Fear of displeasing people is the actual motive behind this self-protective behavior. It is only by saying yes to everything that we feel safe.

For example, We fear displeasing Tina, so we give her $20 for the third time. We fear the neighbor’s unhappiness so we  offer to host the next party. We fear our nephews and nieces disappointment in us so we buy more gifts than is necessary. 

Seeking validation and a sense of worth by helping others is not wrong, just backwards. We all need appreciation and acceptance. Nevertheless, as a motive, it pushes us to too many yesses when that validation doesn’t come fast or often enough.

Look at and test the evidence. Are there people who say no and remain appreciated and loved? Yes. Name them. You see it is possible, so why not you? Say no to something small. Did you survive? Keep practicing until what you are saying yes to matches with your highest priorities.

4. Sadly, past trauma may have taught us  that we have no innate boundary rights. An unresolved history may leave us with internal condemnation.  Talking deeper issues out with a therapist is a reasonable investment for a lifetime of freedom.

Truth is, compassion leads us to want to help. It can seem odd that sometimes the most compassionate choices involve saying no, drawing boundaries, practicing self-care, or not trying to fix anything.

Not much in this world is going to change dramatically because we took the time to pray, think, and discuss before saying yes and committing. 

Today’s Helpful Word